Web hosting is a very competitive field. It's easy for quality services to get lost in the shuffle. HostPapa is that type of company. It offers a strong balance of site-creation and hosting features but isn't as heavily advertised as the major hosting players.
This web hosting company offers three plans, which vary by the amount of disk space and storage options offered. The lower plans also charge extra for some of their more advanced features. Nonetheless, even the most basic plan offers an expansive range of features for building an excellent site for personal or business use.
Even with its lowest plan, HostPapa offers a wealth of security features. It backs up your website at least once a day so that if your website is lost or damaged because of hacking, a virus or old-fashioned human error, you can revert back to the most recently saved edition. The web host allows for full site restoration as part of its plans. With raw access logs, you can see who's accessed the site.
It also has anti-spam features to help protect your email. It offers email aliases, virus scanning and SpamAssassin spam protection.
If you have an eCommerce website, you can benefit from the shared secure sockets layer (SSL), which is available at an additional cost. This encrypts transmissions to and from your website so your customers can securely pay with a credit card or provide personal information. It offers separate SSL security with up to 256-bit encryption if you want to purchase a certificate for your own website.
Another advantage for this web host is that it employs solid-state drives (SSD). Data stored on an SSD is easier to access, meaning your visitors experience less lag time when clicking through your webpages, watching videos or downloading information.
Its shared hosting plans allow for some flexibility. There's a Starter plan and two premium business packages. We evaluated the Starter plan, which allows you to run two websites under one account. You can also "park" one domain, which means that if you have a third domain name, you can use it to direct people to the active site. It provides 100GB of disk space, but it's far more than we needed to create and run two sites. It does offer unlimited bandwidth, which allows for a decent amount of site traffic.
Everything else in HostPapa's Starter plan seems to have a limit, like 25 subdomains and MySQL databases. The lowest plan only offers 100 email accounts, with most of its competitors offering unlimited. HostPapa also limits its money-back guarantee to 30 days.
The control panel similarly offers many benefits. HostPapa uses the standard cPanel for its hosting dashboard. This interface allows you to download apps in one click, check statistics and create email accounts quickly. In terms of its offerings, HostPapa is aligned with the best shared hosting services by offering a year of free domain ownership and the ability to transfer sites to HostPapa for free.
While this web hosting service was reasonably easy to use, we experienced problems while initially setting up the account. HostPapa might be better suited for people who have some experience working with website creation.
It's compatible with WordPress (if you prefer that platform), and it works with Joomla and PHP platforms. HostPapa has its own website design tools with 120 design templates and CSS and HTML programming. The website builder includes an image gallery and runs on menus and tabs as you'd expect from most similar programs.
It offers eCommerce solutions, including integration with PayPal. Also an advantage for eCommerce is the $200 advertising credit it gives with new accounts. Finally, you can create your own 404 page-not-found messages. This helps preserve your branding and makes it more likely visitors will try again rather than clicking to another website altogether.
We found that the support features of this web hosting service stumble in places, particularly when it came to contacting the right person to help. At times, we experienced as much as a 15-minute wait before getting help, even on the live chat.
However, it offers a searchable database, video tutorials and support tickets. Like many website hosting companies, it does not offer user forums. These are generally more useful when you are looking for specific information and ideas from peers; hence, for more advanced website designers.
At times, HostPapa makes you work to be a client. We ran into a few snags creating our account. However, it uses the familiar cPanel, which allowed us to customize the site and how it's managed, and it offers an array of website-building features, including some useful for eCommerce. While HostPapa may not be one of the best web hosting companies, it still manages to be competitive in a sea of hosting competitors.
Contributing Reviewer: Karina Fabian
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