Web Hosting Review: HostPapa 2018
I have been using HostPapa for a couple of months. Very few web hosting review sites are actually giving a big thumb-up to HostPapa. It took me a while to decide to go for it. But I am pleasantly surprised by the flexibility and usability of it. Not the best, cheapest, nor the turbo-fastest on earth, but I actually don't think it's too bad.
On the face of it, $3.95 per month seems very reasonable - but not the cheapest - comparing to other popular web hosting companies such as HostGator and Bluehost. But like so many others, the lowest price offer is based on 36 months contract.
Starter Plan May Be Sufficient
HostPapa offers 'introductory' discounts; 51% off on Starter Plan and 70% off on Business Plan, making both plans the same pricing structures. So there's no reason why you shouldn't chose Business Plan. Having said that, the main difference between Starter Plan and Business Plan is;
- Starter Plan - up to 2 websites / Business Plan - unlimited number of websites
- Starter Plan - 100Gb disk space / Business Plan - unlimited disk space
So if you don't intend to own more than 2 websites, the Starter plan will be good enough. Unless you have an existing site with a really huge amount of data to transfer to HostPapa - 100 Gigabyte disk space is more than sufficient for a normal blog site.
Starter Plan + Business Plan
$5.95 x 12 =
$4.95 x 24 =
$3.95 x 36 =
SiteLock security seal = $19.95 per year
Automated website backup = $19.95 per year
The both plans include free SSL certificate (https). Considering https is becoming the standard, I think it's very fair (while I still see many other hosting companies charge extra for it!)
Higher Renewal Rate
Bad news is, the renewal price will be higher because the discount only applies to new customers. It's best to shop around before the renewal date and go elsewhere, or try negotiating the price with the sales support and see what they say!
Business Pro Plan
Business Pro plan offers a server with fewer accounts, i.e. your site will be sharing a server with less number of other websites, so it's faster, so it says. I haven't tried it myself therefore cannot comment how much faster, but here's the 'Pro' price plan.
Business Pro Plan
$17.95 x 12 =
$15.95 x 24 =
$12.95 x 36 =
SiteLock security seal
Automated website backup
'Wildcard' SSL certificate
HostPapa offers a 30-day money back guarantee but does not offer a partial refund after 30 days of usage. If you've paid for any of the plan and changed your mind after 30 days, you won't get any of your money back. I don't know any other web hosting companies who offer refunds on pro rata basis, perhaps it's fair enough as a standard policy.
Domain - Don't Buy It
You can either transfer your existing domain or buy a domain via HostPapa. If you're starting a brand new site, I'd recommend you to buy a domain from elsewhere like Namecheap or GoDaddy, who offer WhoIs protection (domain privacy) for free. HostPapa charges $10 for it, that's too much.
Once you've paid HostPapa for the hosting service, you'll receive 2 x separate login ID's and passwords. One for your account (incl. profile, cPanel, billing info and support), the other one for your WordPress admin. So you'll have an instant access to WordPress and be able to start building your site immediately. Some plugins are already installed, which you might find useful;
- Akismet (anti spam comment - essential)
- Elementor (visual editor - useful, though I prefer Thrive Architect)
- Hello Dolly (nothing useful - delete it!)
- WP Super Cache (essential to maintain the site speed)
- WPForms Lite (useful if you want a contact form in your site)
It's a standard web hosting cPanel, but really easy to navigate. If you are a Joomla user or Drupal user, you can install it from here and overwrite WordPress. There are also e-commerce apps; AbanteCart, PrestaShop and OpenCart (never heard of any of them - sorry)
Other main features in the cPanel include:
- Files: View directly and transfer files in and out of webspace, FTP accounts, take a full backup.
- Databases: php admin, MySQL databases.
- Domains: Addon domains, subdomains, aliases, redirects.
- Email: Forwarder, router, filters and spam filters, autoresponder (as in sending response while you're away), calendars and contacts.
- Metrics: analysis such as bandwidth, visitors, CPU and concurrent connection usage, check errors.
- Security: IP blocker, SSL/TLS, hotlink protection that prevents other websites from directly linking to files in your site.
HostPapa promises 99.9% uptime, so do many other web hosting providers, but it means your website can be down for 43 minutes every month on average, that doesn't seem good enough. But anyway here's what I found from Uptime Robot.
I have actually never encountered a downtime moment myself in the past 2 months, so HostPapa seems to provide a pretty stable service as far as my experience is concerned.
I was happy with Bluehost for many years (and I am still confident that it provides great service for the price it offers - take a look.) HostPapa was recommended to me by someone I know, who thinks his site speed has improved since he switched from Bluehost to HostPapa. He thinks the service is a little more reliable.
My thoughts? Hard to say. I haven't seen a dramatic difference since I switched to HostPapa. In fact I can't see any difference. It's fast enough.
Pingdom and GTmetrix obviously show different results at different times, from different locations. A loading speed varies from page to page, and how well it's optimised is a major factor anyway. GTmetrix shows that the server elements ('Leverage Browser Caching', 'Specify A Cache Validator', 'Enable Gzip Compression', 'Enable Keep-Alive', 'Specify a Vary: Accept-Encoding header') show score A's, so perhaps it's good enough.
I've also tested TTFB (Time To First Byte) every now and again but like any other shared server hosting services, the result varies. Do these two results below mean anything to me? Not, really!
Upsells ("Website Essentials")
There are two optional features, SiteLock Security and Automated Website Backup, sold for $19.95 each per year.
I'm not a fan of SiteLock services. Website security issues cannot be underestimated but firstly, paying a little extra will defeat the purpose of going for a cheap web hosting.
Many hosting companies generally charge an optional fee "to protect from malware, hacking" etc, but they actually do very little work. All they do is to run a quick daily scan over your site, but it does not guarantee to detect malware. If your site was infected or hacked, it would be your own responsibility to fix it, which would cost you like $200 or more.
HostPapa support has also confirmed to me that all they do is to scan up to 25 pages daily. They won't scan your 26th page and beyond. So don't waste your money while your website is small to medium sized. Take a backup of your site periodically in case something goes terribly wrong. If the worst comes to the worst, then you can restore the entire website or get a professional help.
Automated Website Backup
This is a handy option and it's up to you to decide whether to pay $19.95 per year to have your website automatically backed up daily by HostPapa. Personally I wouldn't. It will only save your website at a set time of day and if restored, any changes you've made during the rest of the day will be lost. Taking a backup again is your responsibility - you want to make sure you have the latest version in your hands.
You can easily take a backup from your cPanel - fully or partially - including MySQL database and email forwarders. Do this periodically, daily if you can, and you won't have to pay extra to have it done.
Help and Support
The knowledge Base contains over 2,700+ articles with a search box, but I find somewhat hard to find what I'm looking for. There's also a live chat and email support available 24/7. If you have a question that can't find the answer in the knowledge base, I'd suggest that you go on live chat. A support agent is always available and I've never had to wait for more than a minute.
Sending a support ticket (email support) I'd say should be the last solution because depending on the time of day, it takes 1-6 hours for them to respond. When I had a problem with my login, we exchanged our messages several times to clarify a few things and it took 24 hours for them to solve the issue.