Monday 20th August 2018

Host Papa Review

Overview

Overall rating:

6.0/10

Price:

$3.95

Uptime (Jan 18):

99.62%

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Overview

Overall rating:

6.0/10

Price:

$3.95

Setup:

12 hours

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Overall

  • HostPapa offer a money back guarantee. It’s 30 days for annual plans and 48 hours for plans spanning terms less than 1 year. Domain name registrations won’t be refunded. See more below.
  • HostPapa doesn’t offer SSH to shared hosting account customers.
  • They don’t support HTTP/2 however they do provide free SSL certificates.
  • Response time is slower than average and uptime is average; other hosts at this price range perform better (but there are downsides to these hosts too eg Bluehost’s response time is faster but they charge for website migrations)
  • HostPapa offers free website migrations and they can typically transfer an entire cPanel installation.
  • There are restrictions on ‘entry points’. This term is quite ambiguous however the ‘starter’ package (their cheapest package) permits 10 concurrent entry points. See more below.
  • Their inode restriction (simple explanation: an inode is a file) is 150,000 and a lot lower – ie worse – than other web hosts.
  • They restrict MySQL database size to 500MB (again, significantly lower – ie worse – than other web hosts)
  • There’s no specific mention on CPU restrictions however the ‘starter’ package is limited to 1 CPU core.
  • They offer ‘unlimited bandwidth’ however they state in their terms of service that this only applies until it has a relative impact on server performance.
  • HostPapa offers a free domain name with every shared hosting package.
  • HostPapa accounts are set to renew automatically (and they don’t renew at the introductory rates but the higher rates). See more below.
  • HostPapa offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee but doesn’t offer compensation if they fail to honour the guarantee.

Features

6.5/10

service

7/10

Performance

4/10

Cost

6.5/10

Host overview

Performance: January 2018 (to date)

Response Time:

2915ms

Uptime:

99.62%

Average uptime for all hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 99.80% while average response time for all web hosts in January 2018 (to date) is 1,254ms.

Cost, setup and website migrations

HostPapa’s entry-level ‘starter’ package costs $3.95 per month; except it doesn’t. If you want to qualify for that introductory rate then you’ll need to pay 36 months in advance. If you want to pay annually (the cheapest available option) the cost for the starter package is $5.95 per month (total cost $71.40).

They don’t actually allow you to pay monthly (despite advertising their costs on a per month basis). The starter package automatically renews and the total renewal cost is $95.88 per year (the package will automatically renew for another year).

Alternatively, you can choose to opt for their ‘business’ package for the same rate (however it will renew at a higher rate when your term expires). The ‘business’ package includes ‘unlimited’ storage and ‘unlimited’ websites (more on these below – there are restrictions!) while the entry-level ‘starter’ package includes 100GB of storage for 2 websites.

The renewal cost for your free .com domain is currently $10.99 (this is quite a lot cheaper than some other hosts in this price range eg Just Host, which renews at $15.99).

HostPapa also offer free website migrations provided they are requested within 30 days of creating your account (some web hosts don’t offer this service while others, eg Bluehost, Just Host and Dreamhost, charge a premium). They should be able to migrate your entire cPanel installation but it depends on your configuration.

Setup was relatively simple; HostPapa’s nameservers were easy to find (it sounds like a small thing but some hosts make it rather difficult!) and they propagated within 12 hours. We also took advantage of the 1-click WordPress installation in their admin panel.

Restrictions

HostPapa’s restrictions are fairly hard to come by. Unlike a lot of hosts they don’t mention anything specific in their terms of service or their “unlimited” usage policy.

The starter package is restricted in the following ways:

  • You’re limited to 10 ‘entry points’. According to HostPapa support, an entry point is defined as a script execution, so if 10 visitors executed index.php – primary template in WordPress installations – simultaneously then you’d have exceeded your ‘entry point’ allowance. It’s also worth noting such requests are unlikely to take longer than a few seconds and an ‘entry point’ will free up the moment the request has been fulfilled (in other words, it would likely take quite a lot more than 10 concurrent visits to exceed your entry point allowance).
  • The ‘starter’ package is limited to 1 CPU core while the business package is limited to 2 CPU cores.
  • We also noticed I/O (hard disk read/write speed) is limited to 1MB/s (they don’t advertised this publicly or mention it on their website). This is lower than some other hosts at this price point eg GreenGeeks (4 MB/s).
  • You’re limited to 1GB RAM
  • You’re limited to 150,000 inodes. An inode is just ‘meta data’ for files; files can share inodes, however 1 inode is broadly equivalent to 1 file (eg every email will have its own inode). This is substantially less than most hosts (the average is about 250,000 however Namecheap offers 600,000 on far less expensive packages), however it should still be more than enough for the average user.
  • There’s a cron job interval of 30 minutes (this is standard for hosts)
  • You’re limited to 25 databases and you can only host a maximum of 2 websites
  • Maximum database size is 500MB on the ‘starter’ package. This is half the maximum total size afforded by a number of other web hosts.
  • The maximum table size (databases contain individual tables) is 250MB.
  • Unlike a lot of hosts, Secure Shell (SSH) is only available to VPS users.

As per most hosts, ‘unlimited’ or ‘unmetered’ bandwidth means you aren’t technically restricted but you will be if your usage becomes ‘excessive’ (except they’ll limit you in a multitude of ways not just bandwidth).

They state the following their terms of service: “In the vast majority of cases, if you use the web hosting service appropriately, visitors to your website will be able to view, download, and add as much content from your site as they wish. However, in certain circumstances, our server processing power, server memory, or anti-abuse controls could limit downloads or access from your site.”

So there are restrictions but they aren’t specific.

The main point of concern in these restrictions is the quota assigned to ‘entry points’; we understand this is for concurrent script executions and while it’s unlikely the average user would need more than the allotted restriction, it’s worth knowing about before purchasing.

It’s also worth comparing and contrasting with Siteground which also sets restrictions on script executions (they set a maximum of 1,000 per hour).

Backups, guarantees and security

Host Papa offers a 30 day money back guarantee for annual packages and a 48 hour guarantee for packages with terms less than 1 year. If you’ve taken advantage of the ‘free domain’ promotion then the retail price of the domain will be deducted from your refund before it’s credited to your account.

HostPapa states in their refund policy that your refund will be processed within 90 days. The guarantee only applies to new customers, ie it doesn’t apply to customer who’ve signed-up for the second hosting account or have previously been a customer of HostPapa.

You can cancel your package from HostPapa’s admin panel.

HostPapa offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee. They refer you to their terms of service for more information about this however their terms of service don’t go into any detail on what happens if they fail to honour the guarantee (most hosts provide compensation, either 5-10% of the monthly fee or 100% of the monthly fee – the latter applies to Hostgator).

On this basis, the guarantee seems worthless ie there’s no incentive for them to fulfil it.

HostPapa’s shared hosting accounts are set to renew automatically and the only way to prevent them renewing automatically is to write to HostPapa 30 days before the end of the term to signify you wish to cancel.

When the hosting account renews it will be renewed at HostPapa’s current rates for hosting (ie not your introductory rates). To cancel your account you need to fill in a form in the ‘my services’ section of their admin panel.

The admin panel

We really don’t like their admin panel. It’s a cPanel installation however they’ve inexplicably decided to host it in an iframe. It makes it awkward to use; the panel is centred on the screen and the panel feels congested and difficult to navigate. What’s more, when you click on some options eg ‘HostPapa backup’, you’re redirected to a different page tries to re-authenticate your session.

All in all, we don’t like it.

Aside from this, their cPanel installation offers many of the features you’d come to expect from a cPanel installation:

  • Access to CloudFlare to set-up their free ‘basic’ CDN
  • DNS management
  • Email management (create mailboxes, set-up autoresponders, spam protection etc)
  • Hotlink protection and IP blocking protection (without having to configure .htaccess)
  • FTP connection details, a file manager and the ability to create and update databases
  • The ability to set-up subdomains and monitor resource usage (you’ve got quick access to all of the most important resource usage metrics at the bottom of the panel)
  • An endless number of 1-click installation options (including WordPress)
  • The only glaring omission is SSH (Secure Shell).

Host Papa Customer Service

  • Live chat support: yes
  • Ticket support: yes
  • Phone support: no

HostPapa’s ticketing support is fairly responsive. We got in touch with them to change the primary domain name on our account and they responded to us within 50 minutes. Subsequent responses took anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour (which is in stark contrast to ticketing support offered by other web hosts, some of which make you wait 24-48 hours).

Their live chat performance was acceptable. We’ve tested it twice, however it can take a bit of time to get them to respond to technical questions.

The longest wait between responses was 4-5 minutes, however the chat representatives we spoke to were fairly knowledgeable about their entire service offering (our concerns were addressed and they went the extra mile to explain the technical detail when prompted).

Price

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