HostPapa started business in 2006 and is one of the earliest that goes green in its hosting operations. At time of writing, Hostpapa operates business from both Niagara Falls, United States and Oakville, Canada.
FYI, I no longer hold a HostPapa hosting account at time of review. This review is based on my past usage experience with the web host.
What HostPapa Has to Offer?
At price of $3.95/mo, HostPapa users get unlimited disk storage, bandwidth, databases,and email accounts as well as one-click installation supports, latest PHP and MySQL versions, basic SSL supports, and so on. In short, HostPapa what most other budget shared hosting providers are offering.
You can find details about Hostpapa hosting features in the table on your right; or simply visit HostPapa online at http://www.hostpapa.com.
Instead of telling you the same thing like what many other hosting review sites are doing, I am going to tell you something different based on my two-year experience with HostPapa. Here’s what to like, and what to dislike about the Canadian host.
What I like about HostPapa?
99.9% Uptime Guarantee
Hosting reliability is what makes HostPapa stand out from the rest – the company has an “A-” in BBB Business Review. During my two years stay with HostPapa, I barely noticed any site down time. I did not track my site uptime back then but in my memory, my HostPapa account was never down.
At time of wirting, Hostpapa offers a written SLA of 99.9% uptime guarantee to all of their shared hosting users. This is a real sign of confidence! Sum this up with my previous experience, I am convinced that if you host your sites at HostPapa, server down time will never be an issue.
Green Hosting from Hostpapa
Hostpapa is one of the cheapest green hosting services available in marketis. To compare, GreenGeeks costs $4.95/mo and Hostgator costs $7.95/mo for similar package. The web host has taken the initiative of going green since year 2006 by buying renewable energy to power their servers and office.
How green hosting works at Hostpapa?
Of course Hostpapa does not have a wind turbine or a solar panel farm on top of the data center.
After an energy audit by a third-party provider (Green-e.org, for example) to calculate Hostpapa electrical energy consumption from traditional sources, HostPapa purchased “green energy tags” from a certified clean energy supplier. That supplier calculates the total energy consumption of Hostpapa operation (from hosting websites to office admin works) and uses their suppliers of green energy to pump in 100% equivalent energy back into the power grid.
This effectively cuts down on the carbon dioxide-producing (CO2) energy that we normally would have required from non-green energy sources.
Problems With HostPapa
Important: Expensive cancellation fees during refund period
Here’s what I found in Hostpapa’s TOSe: Should you become dissatisfied with our services within the first 30 days of your account activation, HostPapa will refund your hosting fees, subject to the money back guarantee terms listed in this agreement.
Further investigations shows that Hostpapa is charging quite a lot on customers who are trying to cancel their account. First, there’s a $19.95 one-time setup fees, next the free domain that you go upon signup will cost you another $24.95.
In other words, you’ll lose about $40+ (in a $118 deal if you sign up for 2 years, which is absurd!) when you ask for your refund within the 30 days.
Telephone and live chat goes off during non-office hours in weekends
I am surprised that HostPapa is not offering 24/7 live chat support during weekends. For weekdays, Hostpapa live chat support is 24/7; however when it comes to weekends, the live chat will only be available from 6:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. (EST).
Inconsistent Management Styles
HostPapa has been changing its promotion styles frequently for the past few years. First it was the monthly coupon code system – each month HostPapa will send out an updated coupon code to all its affiliates. Soon, it switched to promotion link style – you will need to click-thru and order via special promotion link to enjoy a special discount; and nowadays the company simply abandon the entire coupon/promo code thingy.
I had worked with three different affiliate managers from Hostpapa within the past three years. All three managers come with a different story how things work in Hostpapa.
HostPapa Customer Reviews
HostPapa is recommended! “HostPapa offers many features.It is great.The bandwidth and cost is affordable.The way it uses natural resources to obtain necessary power is just great.By using HostPapa we can literally help the environment a little.Normal customers might want to test all the stuff it offers.So,it’s better to give them some experience without taking the necessary credit card details.That might make a lot of difference to the customer.Customers might need simple answers rather than technical answers.It offers great tools though which saves us so much of our time.I would recommend HostPapa.” – Sneha Pasala @ Jun 17, 2013.
Stay away from HostPapa if you expect your web site to grow “If you have a simple static site or a site with a very few users and database usage, HostPapa may be an option for you. What we’ve hit is 1) maximum 15 MySQL simultaneous database connection limitation – users get mysql error once they hit 16th connection; and 2) maximum 50 emails that can be sent from your web site which is a very serious limitation for any more or less low-medium size business. Hosp Papa admin couldn’t get approved our 9000 emails per month max request (only 300 emails a day!) saying this is too much for a shared hosting. And, since HostPapa is not offering any VPS or dedicated hosting either, once you hit the limit you will have to start looking for a different provider having all this site migration headache, not mentioning the downtime and possible migration issues. Stay away from HostPapa if you expect your web site to grow.” – Yuriy S. @ Jan 13, 2013.
Terrible Company! “DECEPTIVE COMPANY: Avoid doing business with this company. First their “30 day risk free” trial is a LIE. I signed up with them on December 27 2012 and after 3 days of many wasted hours I gave up and filed for a refund. After paying $110.29 they refunded only half of my payment. I disputed the transaction (thank you PayPal) and resolved it when they offered another $14.99. NOW THEY JUST SENT ME ANOTHER BILL FOR $24.99 for the Domain registration which is one of the non-refundable fees that they already kept. The product is horrible. I went to another site and within 10 minutes managed to have my website up and running. Their service is terrible. They do not transact business by phone. And their representations are deceptive and fraudulent. AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE.” – Lisap @ Dec 29, 2012.
Verdict: Should You Go with HostPapa Hosting?
As mentioned, I used to run a charity website on Hostpapa and I was happy with the server reliability I got at Papa.
Do I recommend HostPapa? Yes. But in the same time, I need to remind you that, for the more or less the same price you pay with this company, there are plenty of other website hosting services with better customer support and better reputation – WebHostingHub and A2 Hosting are two excellent choices.