HostPapa Review: Is It Worth the Money?
When I first heard of HostPapa, I actually got a little bit hungry…
I don’t eat as much pizza as I did when I was a freshman at McGill, cramming for finals. Nevertheless, the name HostPapa conjured up images of a warm, cheesy pepperoni deep dish, fresh out fo the oven. Mmm…
As it would it happen, HostPapa is a hosting company – not a pizza chain. But like the best pizza companies of my day, they truly deliver. 😉
In this HostPapa review, I’m going to break down why this fairly new company has become such a major player in the web hosting space.
(Hint: it has to do with their stellar customer service, among other factors.)
HostPapa started back in 2006, and they have grown quite fast since then. Today, they host more than 500.000 websites across the world. Let’s see how they measure up to other hosting companies, looking at their prices, support, speed and uptime (the latter which are arguably the most important things to look at when picking a hosting service.)
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Our Analytical Approach
At HostingCanada.org, our priority is giving our readers the most accurate analysis of different cloud providers.
How do we do that?
We base our findings on a set of metrics and tests to help determine how well each provider performs at key activities. Head here to see our full, four-step review process. You can see the live tracking here.
In the case of HostPapa, we’ve tested their services from all over Canada, even the provinces which are hard to pronounce. (I’m looking at you, Saskatchewan!) Our results are trustworthy and provide an unbiased look at where HostPapa falls short in comparison to our top recommendation, SiteGround.
(Please note that we have not deducted any points from HostPapa on account of their branding and name, which make it look like you are signing up for a pizza delivery service, not a professional web hosting service.)
Now that we’ve introduced you to our overall review method, here’s a summary what we’ll cover in this review of HostPapa:
- First, we’ll look at the hard data, explaining how HostPapa performs when it comes to key metrics like speed and reliability.
- Second, our focus will shift to cost as we analyze the value in HostPapa’s different plans and add-on features.
- To finish, we’ll draw comparisons between HostPapa and some of the other cloud providers we’ve reviewed, including SiteGround, so that you can make the best decision for your website.
Why Our Opinion Matters
The technology industry is flooded with cloud computing companies, all claiming to offer you the top speeds, performance, and customer service. But of course each provider has its strengths and weaknesses. That’s where Hosting Canada comes in handy.
Every member of our team has more than a half a decade of experience reviewing hosting services. These hardcore professionals have dedicated hours of their time to testing and rating all of the most popular hosting websites available.
We’ve reviewed HostPapa alongside the other top web hosting providers against the same set of criteria in order to set the true contenders apart from the rest. With our reviews, you’ll get a holistic understanding of what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for a new website host. And we aim to keep it simple and stick to the facts.
You can depend on Hosting Canada to deliver the information you need, because we’ve been a part of the industry for so long. Our unique, data-driven approach allows us to study key metrics about web hosting companies. Our goal is simple: to give your website a home that’s fast and reliable, all without breaking your bank account.
The Hard Science
Here we go, stat nerds. It’s time to dig into the mathematics of web hosting with HostPapa.
All of our tests were run within Canada to help get an accurate mix of results across the country. To get started, check out the results below from our four testing locations.
- Uptime – 97.6%
- Average Loadtime – 2,312 ms
- Uptime – 97.9%
- Average Loadtime – 2,412 ms
- Uptime – 97.5%
- Average Loadtime – 2,985 ms
- Uptime – 98.09%
- Average Loadtime – 2,658 ms
So, what do these numbers actually mean?
Well, first it’s important to understand the terminology. When we talk about update on HostingCanada.org, it refers to a measure of how consistent the hosting provider’s services are. The statistic is presented as a percentage to indicate the overall time that the hosting provider is online and functioning normally.
For example, HostPapa has performed with 97.6% uptime from Montreal testing locations. This means that in all of the data we’ve collected in our testing, HostPapa’s services were unable for only 2.4% percent of time for Montreal users. The math equates to around 210 hours of downtime over the course of a year – a heckuva lot.
When gauging uptime performance, even a fraction of a percentage point can make a significant difference to your website’s availability. We consider uptime metrics of over 98% to be strong, with anything below that classified as poor. The very best hosting companies guarantee 99% uptime or else will refund you some of your payments if that expectation is not met.
Now in switching gears to loadtimes, our focus shifts from overall availability to actual speed measurements. The numbers compiled by Hosting Canada are an average over months of testing with HostPapa’s platform with various browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Times provided above are measured in milliseconds and cover the length of a full request and response to a cloud web server.
Keep in mind that your website’s end users may seem some variation in response times due to a variety of factors, including local network speed, browser behavior, and server traffic. Overall, HostPapa’s loadtime speeds performed rather poorly when compared to other common providers available in Canada.
Load times that average at 2,000 milliseconds or less are considered to be high performance, as it means the end user will face very little delay when loading the webpage. Hosting providers with slower response times are risky to use, because your readers and customer may get annoyed with the delays and choose to browse other sites instead.
Overall, cloud computing costs have dropped in recent years. This is a result of a saturation of the market, with so many different hosting providers offering similar services.
Still, when launching a new website, it’s very important to take financial matters into account. You need to take the details of what a provider is going to charge you and analyze it alongside the record of how that company performs in terms of speed and reliability.
HostPapa is aimed at small business customers, but they break their offerings into three plans depending on the level of resources you plan to use. Their cheapest option is the Starter plan, which should primarily be used for simple personal websites or blogs.
Then there’s the Business plan for small companies which may need to operate multiple websites or domains on a single account. Customers can also upgrade to a Business Pro package for an additional monthly fee. HostPapa’s costs are outlined below.
At a glance, HostPapa’s plans look relatively similar, other than the Basic plan offering a hard limit of 100 GB of disk storage space. So what explains the varying cost levels between the options?
To understand HostPapa’s pricing structure better, you need to dive into the details and fine print. HostPapa refers to terms like Essential Features, Advanced Features, and Enhancements within their branding material. It’s a clever way for them to disguise what they are really providing when new customers sign up for their services.
To keep it simple, you need to subscribe to HostPapa’s Business Pro plan if you expect to see high levels of reliability and fast speeds. The Business Pro option connects your website to HostPapa’s fastest servers, which they call premium. Otherwise, with the Starter or Business plans, HostPapa is taking your monthly fees and delivering slow performance by design.
At Hosting Canada, we do not view HostPapa as offering good value for your money. The rates they list on their own website look compelling, but there are added costs which will raise your monthly bill by a noticable amount. In addition, HostPapa has a practice of automatically renewing your service subscriptions even when costs increase or rates change.
As mentioned before, HostPapa uses a lot of strange terminology in their sales pitch to new customers. We dug into their Essential Features, Advanced Features, and Enhancements to help you understand what you’re actually paying for and what extra add-ons are included with HostPapa’s packages.
The Starter, Business, and Business Pro plans from HostPapa all include basic SSL support using a Let’s Encrypt certificate. This can hardly be considered an exciting feature, since Let’s Encrypt is a completely free service anyways and can be installed on any basic web server.
HostPapa also says that all three of their plans include free domain registration, which is a bit of a deceiving statement. You can search for a new domain name through HostPapa, like a .com or .net address, but these domains cost money and need to be renewed on a yearly basis. Their free registration service simply helps you connect an existing domain name with your new HostPapa account.
If you are completely new to designing websites, it is nice to know that HostPapa offers a building tool that lets you drag and drop elements to put together a dynamic web page. With the Starter and Business plans, you get limited access to their website building, while the Business Pro option will provide more features and functionality.
It’s important to note, that HostPapa’s website building software tool falls well short of the best website builders like Wix and Squarespace. After all, they are a host, first and foremost. If you want to use drag-and-drop software to build a new website, we recommend Wix – not HostPapa (or SiteGround or Bluehost or any host for that matter…)
Customer Service, Please Help!
When you first browse to HostPapa’s main homepage, a little chat window opens asking what you need help with. Is there a real human being behind that window?
Although the rep that is helping you is being represented by a stock photo, we made sure that there was a real person chatting with us. Concise and helpful answers, that were always in relation to the question we had asked, were more than enough to convince us.
Of course, that’s just entry level support – let’s see what else HostPapa has to offer:
First off, they offer a HUGE library of support videos and articles that are bound to teach you how to fix any issue you might encounter.
If you are too busy, or you simply don’t want to trouble yourself with such problems, you can always use the 24/7 live support that HostPapa offers. This is available not only through the live chat function but also:
- Regular Mail
That’s right folks, they even offer fax support.
Finally, customers have access to a bonus support feature – “Papa Squad Experts”.
Now that’s a cool name.
Using this, you will be able to connect with a squad member to a video or phone conference. That way, you can fix all of your issues right away with professional guidance, completely free of charge.
All this included, we can safely say that HostPapa, even though lacking in some other areas, has one of the best customer support services out of all the web hosting companies.
What are the Alternatives?
For Canadian customers looking to launch their first website or just migrate existing webpages over to a new host, we do not recommend HostPapa as a good solution.
Their pricing structure does not provide enough value to make up for the fact that their reliability and speed metrics are lower than their competitors.
SiteGround is our top recommendation for people looking to launch a new website on the cloud. As you can see from the metrics below, SiteGround has proven to offer better reliability and faster connection speeds than any of our tests with HostPapa.
- SiteGround also offers affordable pricing with their different tiers of plans, which exceed everything that HostPapa claims to offer. Importantly, SiteGround also includes a free basic SSL certificate for all customers, regardless of their plan.
- Read Our SiteGround Review
Contracts with web hosting providers can often be locked in for a period of many months or even years. If your website is currently hosted elsewhere, you should find out what kind of commitment you have signed up for and what transition options are available.
With SiteGround, you can migrate an existing web project onto their platform with minimal interruptions. Then you can go ahead and enjoy the best hosting experience on the cloud.
Summing It Up
HostPapa is a rather unimpressive web host when compared to other hosting providers in the Canadian market. If site speed and pricing are important for your business, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
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