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HostPapa doesn’t offer anything spectacular or groundbreaking compared to other hosting providers, and its performance is fairly average. However, HostPapa’s relatively affordable plans often get even more wallet-friendly thanks to regular promotions – so if the timing’s right, it could work for you.
A Middle-of-the-Road Host: Is It Worth It for Your Website?
A few years ago, we would have struggled to recommend HostPapa in good conscience. More recently, we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find some improvements have been made. Not enough to move HostPapa out of the middle of the pack, though. There’s still plenty of so-so stuff and a few unpleasant discoveries surrounding this host to put it too high on our list.
HostPapa is an affordable hosting provider that gears its marketing toward small business owners, although it offers a pretty standard range of plans that can suit small and large projects alike. It offers shared, managed and unmanaged WordPress, VPS, and reseller hosting plans.
With its cutesy mustached logo and branding with names like the PapaSquad and PapaCare, you get the impression that HostPapa wants you to feel like a part of the family. It’s a cute hook, but when it comes to performance, there’s not much difference between its “family” and any other middle-of-the-road host.
That said, HostPapa’s relatively wallet-friendly hosting plans have a few nice features that could be right for you, especially if there’s a good promotion on offer. We set up a test website with WP Start – HostPapa’s entry-level WordPress hosting plan – to see how well its most affordable option can perform. Here are the results.
With HostPapa, There’s Always a Catch
HostPapa has some nice features, but let’s be upfront and honest about two things. First, a lot of the best features aren’t available on the more affordable plans, and you’ll need to go for the top-tier plan if you want things like malware protection and automatic backups.
Second, many of the features aren’t quite what they seem. There are a few hidden catches that diminish HostPapa’s claims of being affordable and beginner-friendly.
Some Nice Freebies
HostPapa doesn’t make you pay the big bucks for everything. All of HostPapa’s shared hosting plans come with cPanel and Softaculous, which means you can install your choice of CMS in just one click, and you’ll have hundreds of useful web apps to choose from, too. The entry-level plan comes with 10 free email addresses, while pricier plans offer unlimited email addresses.
Entry-level plans include a free Let’s Encrypt SSL, while the higher-priced plans include a Wildcard SSL certificate in its place. All plans include free site migration if you’re transferring an existing site, and free domain registration if you’re starting from scratch. There’s a catch, however, with the domain name. If you cancel before your plan’s term expires, you’ll have to pay the registration fee – but then again, this is pretty standard practice among hosting providers.
If, like us, you’re using HostPapa for a WordPress site, you’ll also get the free Jetpack plugin preinstalled. It’s easy to use and packs a lot of good stuff like SEO and site optimization tools, a CDN for images, social sharing tools, downtime monitoring, and more.
It’s a nice feature, but to be honest, it doesn’t add any real value. HostPapa relies on it for a lot of its WordPress plan “features,” but it’s a free plugin so you could have it anyway. That said, if you go for the higher-priced Ultra plan, you’ll get the Jetpack Premium package which adds some useful extras like a CDN for video, automated malware scanning, automatic backups, and the ability to accept PayPal payments.
Plenty of Storage for a Small Business Site
The entry-level Start plan includes 100GB of SSD storage, which is plenty for a small to medium-sized site getting 10 to 20K visitors a month. The top-tier plans offer unlimited storage, so there’s room to upgrade if your site suddenly takes off.
If you’re planning to launch a site that will need to store a growing volume of visual media content, such as a photography portfolio or a retail e-commerce operation, you should keep HostPapa’s generous storage allocations in mind.
For an extra monthly fee, you can access the PapaCare+ program. It’s a VIP-type support program that shared hosting customers are eligible for. It includes:
Help with email setup
cPanel assistance for things like redirects and spam filters
Installation of CMS like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla
Exploit protection for apps like WordPress
Overall domain management issues
Front-of-the-line priority for all your support and security issues
And for once, there’s no catch or hidden anything. You pay for it alongside your monthly hosting fees and it’s yours as long as you want it.
HostPapa Features at a Glance
Free domain name?
Managed hosting features?
US (California), Canada (Burlington, ON), and the Netherlands
Ease of use
Like Everything Else With HostPapa, There Are Ups and Downs
Let’s begin by saying that cPanel is cPanel and WordPress is WordPress. If you have any experience whatsoever with either cPanel or WordPress, you won’t have too much trouble setting up your site with HostPapa. If you’re a beginner, however, you may find yourself visiting the knowledge base more than you’d care to.
Creating a New Account With HostPapa
Creating a new account with HostPapa wasn’t difficult in any way. It did, however, have one issue worth noting. As part of the signup and checkout process, two upsells are auto-selected. We had to uncheck them or be charged a good deal extra for things we didn’t want.
HostPapa also asked if it could share our personal data with a company called “Promo People Inc.” – we politely declined.
Signing up and paying for the account was otherwise straightforward and didn’t take much time. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll be prompted to choose your free domain name before completing your payment. Once you get to the checkout screen, you have the option to pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Alipay, or PayPal.
Connecting a Domain and Installing WordPress
Here’s where things got a little weird. The first link in the intro email led us straight to HostPapa’s dashboard. From the dashboard, it’s easy to find the MyWordPress link, which leads you to cPanel. From there, we used Softaculous to install WordPress. Ummmm, wait a minute…
All HostPapa WordPress plans are supposed to come with pre-installed WordPress, yet we had to DIY our own installation.
According to support, we were supposed to receive WordPress login details in the welcome message confirming our account setup. We reviewed the welcome message again and the link to the HostPapa dashboard was front and center, while the link to the WordPress admin account came further down. We had clicked on the first link, as most would, eager to get started.
This wasn’t much of a problem for us, but could be a significant problem for a newbie. I’d like to see HostPapa merge the links to the dashboard and to the pre-installed instance of WordPress in the same sentence so that new customers don’t miss it.
We questioned support about this once we thought preinstalled WordPress wasn’t included, and were told about the preinstalled account that we hadn’t used. Oh well. End of the story is we got our little 1 MB test page up and running, without ever knowing we had a pre-installed WordPress account waiting for us.
A Proprietary Website Builder, But Not For Everyone
HostPapa includes Site Publisher (its custom website builder) with every plan, which should in theory make setting up your site easier. The downside here is that it’s not compatible with WordPress. Site Publisher might be easy to use and have all kinds of features, but it won’t be of any use to WordPress hosting customers.
Even though the MyWordPress link leads you to cPanel, and you’ll find the Site Publisher right there on the cPanel dashboard, it’s not a WordPress-based builder. This might not seem confusing, but it may be more than a tech newbie could manage.
It might, however, help you get started if you don’t want to use WordPress. But be warned that you can only use it to build two pages if you’re on one of HostPapa’s lower-tier plans.
Domain Setup Was Easy Enough
Every account comes with a domain name that is free for the first year, and HostPapa takes care of the setup on that one for you. So there was little to do there. If you’re installing WordPress manually (as we ended up doing), you’d simply enter your domain name during the Softaculous installation process, and it is automatically connected to your webspace.
The Ups and Downs Continue
HostPapa’s data centers are located in California, the Netherlands, and Burlington, Ontario, Canada, the location of the company’s head office. This gives it a nice range for North American and Western European site owners. We hosted our site on the Canadian server, and our results were based on that server’s performance. If you, like us, like to get deep into the nerdy details, you can check out our explanation of how we test our sites.
In a week of testing, our results recorded a typical loading speed of 1.8s and an uptime of 99.98%. In terms of loading speed, this wasn’t great, but in terms of uptime, this is an excellent score.
We used the GTmetrix server in Chicago, IL, for our tests, since we had chosen to host our site on servers in HostPapa’s Canadian data center. One rather unpleasant surprise was the Time to First Byte score of 1s. Given the proximity of the Chicago GTmetrix server and the Burlington, Ontario datacenter, we were expecting something better.
Another surprise was all of the ups and downs in a week of testing. As you can see, we recorded a range of Fully Loaded times from less than 1s to almost 3s. Granted, only a few results were above the expected norm of 2s. Overall, our typical daytime loading time was 1.8s, resulting in a B score.
HostPapa guarantees an uptime of 99.9%. Nothing new or different from most hosts there. What we found was a 30-day overall score of 99.98%. That was quite a pleasant surprise, given the middle-of-the-road experience we’d had so far.
These mixed results aren’t bad, but they’re not good enough to move HostPapa from the middle of the pack.
More Mixed Results
HostPapa offers a range of support channels, including chat, phone, email, and even snail mail. The service claims to have 24/7/365 support, and seems to live up to that in my experience. We like to test support during both typical “workday” hours and “off hours” like evenings and weekends.
You can already see how helpful chat support was in the whole “is WordPress pre-installed or not?” debacle. The chat support agent was online in seconds, and had satisfactorily resolved the issue within moments.
What’s impressive is that all of this happened during “off hours” – after 7pm on a weekend evening.
On the other hand, email support was much less impressive. It took a total of 5 messages back and forth to get our issue with WordPress Toolkit resolved. When we couldn’t get cPanel’s WP Toolkit to find and recognize the test site, we sent a support ticket with a simple question: “how do I get WP Toolkit to find and recognize my site?”
Email support responded 1 hour and 4 minutes later, on a Monday afternoon no less. Not bad, as sometimes you can be waiting days for a response, but it’s much slower than the “10 minutes” advertised. We wouldn’t mind if the answer was helpful, but it really wasn’t.
That’s how you install WordPress from Softaculous via cPanel. Nothing to do with WP Toolkit. It took five back-and-forth messages between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning for the agent to understand. In the end, the agent just connected WP Toolkit to the test site for us. We hadn’t asked for that, but it was nice to have it done, finally.
One place that didn’t disappoint was HostPapa’s online knowledge base and Customer Care Centre. There’s even a separate knowledge base for WordPress site owners, linked directly from the WordPress hosting plans page on the website. There are over 3000 articles in the knowledge base in general, and over 250 directly related to WordPress.
The Customer Care Centre provides access to a range of support options and helpful information. It’s awesome to have access to several video tutorials that are really useful and cover all the essential information you need when starting out.
Then there’s the PapaCare+ service, the premium support service you can pay a monthly fee for, which we’ve already mentioned. Plus, HostPapa has one last support feature that goes above and beyond what we’d expect from an otherwise middle-of-the-pack hosting service – one-on-one training. Granted, it’s one of those services you can only get with a higher-priced plan, but you can get a free 30-minute session with a support team member to walk you through any issue you may be having.
Overall, support may be the one place where HostPapa makes an overt attempt to be better than the rest of its middle-of-the-pack competitors.
A Budget-friendly Price for the Small Business Owner
HostPapa offers plans ranging from 30 days to 3 years. You pay the least expensive fees, of course, for the longest-term plan. Occasionally, HostPapa will offer one of its middle-tier plans for a price that matches that of the tier below. It’s worth waiting for if you can, given all the goodies that come with the higher-priced plans. Overall, HostPapa’s prices are fairly inexpensive, regardless of promotions.
In terms of a money-back guarantee, HostPapa is pretty standard. You can request a full refund within the first 30 days on any plan over one year. For plans of less than one year, you only get 48 hours from the time of payment. Money-back guarantees apply to all types of hosting. You can also receive a full refund on several of HostPapa’s non-hosting services, as well, such as PapaCare+ and the paid website builder.
All in all, HostPapa’s prices aren’t bad. I would’ve given a higher score if not for the middle-of-the-road value. But then, you sometimes get what you pay for.
HostPapa isn’t the best host out there for your blog or small business site. It’s not the worst, though, by a long shot. Everything about HostPapa from features to support seems inconsistent, hit or miss, up and down. If you like the price and think you can live with it, or somehow work around it, HostPapa could be the host for you.
If you’re looking for better performance without paying more, consider Hostinger. It’s a low-cost entry point for shared and VPS hosting that’s great for small businesses.
Is HostPapa good for beginners?
Like everything else with HostPapa, the answer is “sort of.” It does have an excellent knowledge base and video tutorial library. And you can also avail of a 30-minute one-on-one training session with a support agent to help you get started. But we got some basic issues during setup that may confuse a first-time site owner.
Does HostPapa have good performance?
Overall, HostPapa’s performance is fairly average. Although our tests showed that uptime is consistently good (99.8% average), the page load times were inconsistent over one week of testing. The typical daytime page load time for a 1 MB test site was 1.8s, which isn’t bad, but isn’t great either.
Is HostPapa good for WordPress?
HostPapa is a decent option for WordPress sites, offering low-cost shared hosting plans as well as managed WordPress hosting. All of its WordPress plans come with the option to have WordPress installed for you, and they come with a few helpful pre-installed features like the Jetpack plugin.
Is HostPapa worth it for small business owners?
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you can live with, or work around, HostPapa’s inconsistencies in performance, then yes, it’s a decent budget-priced host. If not, then you may want to check out our higher-scoring, better-for-your-business hosts.
Writer and reviewer Suzanne Stewart joined Website Planet in late 2022. She has been a freelance writer and editor for 31 years. She worked in radio and newspaper journalism before there was the internet and has written online content since 2008. She holds professional certifications in editing and SEO strategy. When she’s not testing and reviewing vendors, Suz is a professional artist as well as a volunteer therapy musician, playing the Celtic lap harp. She is a nature-lover who is often found walking the hiking trails near her home. She also enjoys time with her family, her grandchildren, and two cats.
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Don’t Even Bother
My current hosting service really jacked up my rate so I started looking for another provider. I settled on HP because of the reviews and Canadian servers. They can't seem to get the domain transferred. When I've transferred hosts in the past this happened within a day or so. I finally got them to transfer my site only to find out I have to do a lot of the work myself to get it to point to hostpapa -- still not sure it is. Then I was supposed to have 10 emails included in my plan. Come to find out, I have to pay extra for each individual email address. Their support department is really less than helpful. Zero stars not one.
After their purchase of one on one internet and migrating me to their service, they have consistently engaged in nickel and dime, strong arm hard sell techniques. I receive regular (almost as if it was on a sales quota schedule) about minor infractions of my account on perf once a month or so when running the word fence process on my domains to help compensate for their mediocre security. After trying all different techniques to mitigate the issue, I finally broke down and let them migrate me from the plan I had under 1:1 for 10 years to one of their 'business plan'.
Of course, like clockwork, and after the refund period had passed, now they are contacting me regarding any email box that gets anywhere close to exceeding their ridiculous 1000mb per box limit (regardless of if you only have 3 email accounts or the total size of storage of all email accounts). They of course want to now 'upsell' me to yet another plan the 'will solve all my issues' but not really give me any new features or storage that I would actually utilize.
IMHO, avoid the 'shake down' racket and look elsewhere first. I certainly am regretting not doing that before signing up for their first 3 year upsell that would 'solve all my problems'***
*** at least until the very short refund period expires and the next sales quota period is reached.
I rarely rarely leave reviews, but this time I will take the time. I hope it saves someone from a very bad mistake. For 20 years me and my clients were with LFC Hosting. Best customer service ever ... UNTIL they were bought out by HostPapa. The very DAY that all my sites moved to HostPapa servers, we have had nothing but problems. In fact, after all my sites were migrated to HostPapa, I received an email from HostPapa informing me that the new credentials to my new control panel(s) would be sent in a separate email. Never received it. Called support. They said they would resend. Nope. Never got it until at least a day later. Recently, just one of our sites was down 29 times in just 17 days. Customer service is NON existent ... and even when you end up talking to a real person (which is rare), they know next to nothing. Back on April 17, 2022, multiple HP servers were down for almost 5 hours. Last week at HostPapa's suggestion, we moved from Shared Hosting to a VPS, HOPING this would resolve the downtime. They promised a migration to happen at midnight on Friday April 8. Saturday morning (April 9) ... nothing. Tried to contact Migrations department. No response. Tried phone ... no one answering ... left voice mail. Tried online support chat .... finally someone replied and said it could take several hours. THREE DAYS later, we got a reply. That was April 12. FIVE DAYS later while they did finally migrate the site, they completely failed to follow their own procedures, and put our site live. The direction they had received (and by their own acknowledgment their own procedure) was that they would NOT switch DNS until 'after' we had a chance to review the site running on the VPS. The result? Due to subtle SQL Server differences from old server, and fact we were unable to do pre-launch testing, our site was still down.
It irritates me that I have to give even 1 star in order to submit this.
They will try to control us. they can let us go any time.
I'm sharing my experience with all of you who are going to get hosting from HostPapa.
First, I have a feeling: if you are just using this hosting as a CV so you are safe.
If you are building your business but you are still in the first step and this hosting is ok for the budget, so you are not safe. think 2 times before you get this cheap hosting and ok to pay extra but be safe and not with hostpapa.
My story :
Their price is cheap is good
The hosting is promoted as unlimited super good.
you will ask yourself what is the catch, nothing is advertised has a catch. And looks legit!.
Then after you buy the subscription, Emails will start from them to inform you, your website has faults that are against their resources policy.
you will think, is it only me whos getting this issue?! but then you will find the Facebook website has faults, or can you just mention one website that does not have faults?!
Moreover, Any new plugin you will install on the website will have a faulty effect when you activate it, or it might not match with the website/template. We can understand it's not a table you placed in the hosting with no changes or updates forever, it's a website that needs to be updated or add pages or new plugins the content might just be the text, font, or style. Faults will happen while you are doing that, but HostPapa they have a different way to think whether you used 1 % of the resource or 100%. but they want 0 faults in your hosting. which is non since only if you want to control the owner of the website. it is not possible for us to give 0 faults which are good upscale technic for them so get more upgrades and then more $$.
However this is the catch, you will pay 2.5$ +- to get unlimited hosting at a nice price and good for your pocket. but they will not let you survive with them if you did not pay more.
After so many Emails to push me to get an upgrade, sure I did not, I thought my account manager was supposed to let me see the errors that I should fix or guide me to fix it. he was talking to me like an AI system and I was thinking he is just an AI repeating his Emails over and over ( Ex:10 faults with screenshots please fix it). It's like this list of numbers 2. 3. 4. Like this and with a title Faults I'm sure some of you know how to get it or you know this list.
The funny part I was replying to these emails like I'm chatting to a bot, but it was a real employee, so after those pushes that did not work with me, he threatened me by doing an inspection. and gave me 4 days to fix the faults which I don't know from where it's coming from I have 3 websites, or how to get 0 faults!!! (He's saying: upgrade or 0 faults ). So I asked him, by any chance do you know which website is giving these faults? and the issue was he knew it and he knew other things too which he could help me by providing that information from the first email he sent. that's strange. he called him self account manager. only to push me to upgrade
I said, ok, inspection will allow me to see more things to fix. because my team was trying hard to find what is the issue. We knew the hosting is so slow, it is one of the limitations of cheap hosting but we don't need more. so after the inspection what happened? Nothing at all!! no one called me and no one update me what is the result of it.
They did the inspection which I'm not against, but I did not receive the result yet i thought its a good one! they did not even Email me to say anything or send the screenshot that my account manager used to send 10 times per week or might be just an AI mode this time?
suddenly all my 3 websites have been blocked, suspended. again no Emails to update me about this action! strange again.
They controlled my business they blocked my recourse of income as they owned me. I'm using 60% of my resources they created faults for asking me to go or upgrade
I was under their control for enough time. i moved to another hosting platform same plan with the same websites and no faults no emails to upgrade
I found that they have some rules on their website, saying: account managers should update the clients before taking the action but they did not update me they just shut down my business.
I don't have a lawyer to help me because my business is still small, and they knew that. However, I faced them and emailed them they returned my websites, again they don't want me anymore so they push me, my account manager again threatened me by telling me you have till 15th of Dec! for what? Then another email from the AI account manager said we will refund you the remaining amount if you will cancel your subscription! I was like (really!) other email from other person saying refund has been made you have till 28th Jan 2022. if it's a personal issue only with me (I'm assuming here)! If you don't want to give me your service so it's not the correct way, they have a big issue with money.
you don't need to waste your time and my time by creating faults and inspections to let me
First time the sequel was better than the original!
I was a Lunarpages customer for nearly 20 years when I caught wind that they were bought by HostPapa, a company I never heard of. I dreaded the idea at first. But when I thought it over, the quality and service I was getting with Lunarpages were waning over the years.
As time went on, I wasn't able to get tech support on the weekends, which is the only real-time I can work on websites. I couldn't get tech support at night. Things like 24-hour service when I first signed up for Lunarpages had disappeared or fell into a price range I couldn't afford.
So I gave HostPapa a chance. And guess what? They have been a pleasure to work with! Tech support is a chat window away, and there is always someone there that is ready to answer any questions I might have.
If their front lines can't solve the problem, they are prompt to escalate the issue to their 2nd tier support. Starlin over in tier 2 has been an invaluable contact! All of their tech support has. I never get the feeling I will be blown off, or that my issue is MY issue. They are there to help, and I am paying a rock bottom price.
I've been with Hostpapa for a couple of years now and their service is outstanding. My sites are always up and running. I get questions answered. 5/5 stars!
Happy to user HostPapa services for more than 10 years
I have several sites hosted through HostPapa for more than 10 years, never had trouble, and their customer support is excellent; I never had to wait for a response, just click on the chat and anytime is someone there to help you.
The cost is ok, really don't want to risk the quality I am receiving for a few bucks per year.
I strongly recommend HostPapa
I am no expert when it comes to the technical aspects of websites but I do know about people and I have to say that HOSTPAPA Customer Service people are quite simply superb. Helpful and courteous and accessible. Their response times to my inquiries have been truly impressive. I heartily recommend HOSTPAPA .
I have used Hostpapa for some years now and have strayed to the opposition stupidly twice on a couple of projects only to learn that it is good to stick with consistent support and services. I find their pricing fair, response to support well.