Is HostPapa Worth the Money? Beware of HUGE Hidden Fees

hostpapa logoIf you’re looking to launch a new website, maybe for the very first time, the cloud can sound like a scary place. When you talk to technical people, they make it seem like the entire internet has undergone a massive revolution with cloud computing. That’s true, but only to a certain degree.

Since the internet was first invented, you’ve always had servers and clients talking back and forth to one another and exchanging data. In the old days, a lot of your personal data remained on the client side, meaning your physical laptop or desktop computer. With the cloud movement over the past decade, more data is now kept on the server side.

So what’s the big deal? Do you have to climb to the top of the Candadian Rockies in order to see the internet cloud? The answer is no! There are plenty of online hosting providers who offer services to get your websites running on cloud infrastructure.

Picking the right one is a challenge, and that’s where these reviews come in handy. Today we’ll be looking at the HostPapa service and analyzing how it stacks up to the other competitors in the industry.

Earnings disclosure: Some of the products listed on Hosting Canada contain affiliate links. We use this revenue to pay for the upkeep of this website and our research. Thanks again for your support.

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.

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 method, here’s a detailed summary of how this review of HostPapa will work:

  • To start, we’ll throw a bunch of numbers at you, explaining how HostPapa performs when it comes to key metrics like speed and reliability.
  • Secondly, 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 HostingCanada comes in handy.

We’ve evaluated HostPapa and a number of other cloud 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 HostingCanada.org 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.

  • Montreal
    • Uptime – 97.6%
    • Average Loadtime – 2,312 ms
  • Toronto
    • Uptime – 97.9%
    • Average Loadtime – 2,412 ms
  • Vancouver
    • Uptime – 97.5%
    • Average Loadtime – 2,985 ms
  • Winnipeg
    • 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.

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 HostingCanada.org 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.

Money Matters


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.

We at HostingCanada 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.

Extra Goodies


As mentioned before, HostPapa uses a lot of strange terminology in their sales pitch to new customers. We’ve 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.

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? We here at HostingCanada are suspicious.

HostPapa claim to have award-winning support that is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week over email, chat, or phone calls. They also include training sessions with each subscription package and guarantee 99.9% availability from their servers. But based on the testing we did and the results we posted above, you may not be able to trust everything that HostPapa claims.

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.
  • siteground-logoVisit SiteGround.com

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 weak competitor when it comes to cloud hosting providers in the Canadian market. When looking for strong speed and reliable performance metrics, you are better off sticking with SiteGround.

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