HostPapa: Notable Green Hosting for Bloggers & WordPress
HostPapa is an established Canadian host known for its ease of use, helpful tutorials, and environmentally-friendly web hosting.
But is it the best option for you as a blogger (or WordPress user)?
There are many hosting options out there, varying in cost, features, and simplicity.
In this review, you’ll discover the services and features that HostPapa has to offer bloggers and WordPress users, explained in simple terms. And you’ll learn some important factors to consider when choosing a host.
If you don’t have time for that, the most important takeaway from this review is that HostPapa is a great option if you want to create or run a personal WordPress blog and don’t have much technical knowledge.
- Easy to use
- Reasonably priced
- Comes with lots of freebies
- Comes with 24/7 multilingual support through email, phone, and live chat.
- About HostPapa
- Four Types of Hosting
- Features and Ease of Use
- Billing and Pricing
- Pros and Cons of HostPapa
- What Are Some Good Alternatives to HostPapa?
HostPapa is one of the few hosts based in Canada. While they do have customers around the world, most of their customers are from Canada and the United States.
HostPapa was launched in 2006 by Jamie Opalchuk. Jamie wanted to create a simple hosting service for web designers and small businesses. There are many hosting companies with that goal today, but it wasn’t so common when HostPapa began.
Since then, HostPapa has become an industry leader, hosting over 200,000 websites.
A Pioneer in Green Web Hosting
HostPapa was also one of the first companies to start purchasing renewable energy certificates to offset the energy they use. Hosting companies have huge datacenters with racks of servers that consume large amounts of energy.
If you host your site with HostPapa, you’ll know that you’re not having as much of a negative impact on the environment as you would with some other hosts.
Four Types of Hosting
HostPapa offers 4 main kinds of hosting:
- Shared web hosting
- WordPress shared web hosting
- VPS hosting
- Reseller hosting.
Don’t be overwhelmed by all the options. You’re almost always only going to be interested in the 2 shared web hosting plans.
I’ll break down the 4 plans in a bit more detail so you can decide which one is best for you.
Shared Web Hosting Plans for Bloggers
Bloggers should focus on the shared hosting or WordPress hosting plans.
On the HostPapa website, “web hosting” refers to shared web hosting.
“Shared hosting” means that you’re sharing a server with other customers. Small sites don’t need a full server to themselves, so you share the resources and the cost.
HostPapa offers 3 different shared web hosting plans, depending on the size and needs of your site(s).
Comparison of Shared Hosting Plans
There’s a laundry list of features for all of them, but here are the main highlights that differentiate them from each other.
|Disk space:||100 GB||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Extra CPU resources:||—||2x more||Faster servers|
|Backups included:||—||—||Yes (automated)|
What Bloggers Need to Know
- Starter: If you’re starting a brand new blog, the Starter plan will work for you (100 GB disk space is way more than you’ll need).
- Business: If you’re starting a new business on top of your blog, you can start with the Business plan and upgrade once you start getting customers.
What does “Unlimited” Mean?
When you see “unlimited” in any hosting plan, what it really means is that you’ll get as much of that resource as a typical site should need.
As long as you’re not intentionally trying to abuse limits by storing giant video files, your blog will operate fine on any of these plans.
What’s Included in All the Plans?
You’ll get a 30-minute one-on-one training session.
All 3 of those plans come with the same “essential features,” which include:
- Free domain name: You get a free domain for the first year when you sign up.
- Free 30-minute training session: This is a one-on-one session, great if you’re new to hosting.
- Free SSL certificate: For site security purposes. This is a must-have if you plan on selling anything, and many other hosts charge for it.
- Cloudflare content delivery network (CDN): A CDN will help your site load faster, which means fewer impatient visitors will leave.
- cPanel control panel: A simple control panel offered by many hosts. It’s provided free of extra cost.
Greater speed and advanced security are available with WordPress plans.
You can install any popular content management system (CMS) on the shared hosting plans through cPanel. A CMS like WordPress or Joomla provides a user-friendly base for your site so that you can just write and publish posts with no coding involved.
WordPress is the most popular CMS by far, which is why HostPapa offers specific WordPress shared hosting services.
These are almost identical to the shared plans we just looked at, but a tiny bit more expensive.
Speed and Security Optimized for WordPress
The difference is that the servers are optimized for WordPress, resulting in a more stable and faster website.
You also get a few extra freebies:
- WordPress is auto installed for you.
- WPForms plugin included: A drag-and-drop form builder useful for collecting reader information, for say, a newsletter.
- WordPress caching plugin (on top plan): A caching plugin pre-installed for you that speeds up your site and helps your SEO (gets you more traffic from Google).
- Free WordPress backups (on top plan)
Do I Need This Special WordPress Hosting?
Is all this worth the extra few dollars a year? That’s up to you.
You can install and configure all these plugins (or similar ones) for free yourself, it’ll just take some time and effort.
If you’re looking to cut costs, stick with the basic shared hosting packages and install WordPress yourself. HostPapa offers clear step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
Video: HostPapa has a 6-part series on YouTube that walks new users through setting up WordPress. This video is about installing WordPress via your HostPapa account. The instructions are clear and easy to follow.
VPS Hosting (Managed): For Blogs With High Traffic
Shared hosting only works to a certain point. As sites grow bigger and get more traffic, they need more resources. They use more disk space, more bandwidth, and so on. If they remain on a shared server, their load time would become sluggish.
HostPapa offers managed VPS plans as the solution for larger sites. While you can’t get more than “unlimited” disk space, you do get more power, and these plans are scalable as your site grows.
Your data is also stored on SSD (solid-state drives), which will further speed up your site.
What Does “Managed” Hosting Mean?
The “managed” aspect means that HostPapa will take care of basic security tasks like virus checking and keeping your software up to date.
Most blogs and small websites will never need VPS hosting. If you are creating a new one, or have an existing low traffic blog, stick with the shared plans.
Features and Ease of Use
If you’re new to hosting, everything above might seem complicated.
Let’s look at the features that allow you to start or run your blog as easily as possible.
cPanel Control Panel
Setting up and maintaining a server (where websites live) is time consuming, complicated, and can be frustrating.
The good news is you’ll never have to touch a server directly because of the control panel that HostPapa provides with all their plans.
It’s called cPanel and is a popular control panel that other hosts use as well. If you’re coming from another host, you may already know how to use it.
You’ll only need to access your cPanel once in a while, mainly when:
- Creating a new site
- Backing up an existing one
- Or accessing your site files through the cPanel file manager
Once in cPanel, you’ll notice that the Softaculous tool is included (again, free).
This tool lets you install hundreds of open source software packages with one click.
These software packages can change the look or functionality of your blog.
For example, you can add an online store, a discussion forum, or an event calendar. There are hundreds of options.
Softaculous offers easy one-click installation of software apps, including WordPress, Joomla, and other popular CMSs for blogging.
HostPapa’s Website Builder
I’ve mentioned WordPress so much because it’s an awesome blogging tool for anyone, regardless of technical skills.
But there is another option to create a website if the WordPress platform seems like overkill for your site: HostPapa’s custom website builder.
The website builder provides over 100 design templates (pre-designed websites) to choose from. After selecting a template you simply customize the colors and layout to suit your tastes.
To customize it you’ll use what’s known as a drag-and-drop interface. This makes editing your site easy: you simply “grab” an item you want to add to your template (say, a social media button) and “drag” it from the dashboard and “drop” it into place on your site.
The interface is fairly intuitive so you can customize your pages without knowing how to code at all.
Additionally, you can integrate your site with HostPapa’s online store builder.
How Does it Compare to WordPress?
But there are a few downsides:
- Less support: While you will still get HostPapa’s support, a CMS like WordPress has a community that is thousands of times larger.
- Fewer plugins: HostPapa offers some ways to add advanced functionality, but WordPress has thousands of plugins (over 55,000 actually) for just about everything.
- Extra cost: You have to buy hosting, and then buy a website builder plan on top.
Finally, while some themes look pretty good, others look dated in my opinion.
Here’s a screenshot of an example site (a real business) that uses HostPapa’s website builder:
I’m not trying to be mean, but that isn’t well designed.
If you’re really interested in a website builder, see this detailed comparison of HostPapa’s website builder to Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.
Get a Custom Website Designed
Pro tip: Check out examples of websites designed by HostPapa before purchasing this service.
HostPapa also offers custom website design services for a fraction of the cost compared to what marketing and design agencies charge.
If you’re launching a business, you may want to explore this option.
Typically, design services from hosts don’t offer all the bells and whistles you’d get from an agency, but if you don’t have advanced needs, that may not matter to you.
If you’d like a unique design and want everything set up for you, then you may want to take advantage of their free consultation call.
Migrating to HostPapa
Have an existing site already? HostPapa offers free website migrations, meaning that they’ll take care of backing up your existing site and moving it to your HostPapa account.
Any of these 3 main options to get started are fairly simple, even if you’ve never hosted a website before.
Security and Reliability
HostPapa follows basic security practices well; I see no cause for concern here.
All plans include a firewall to keep out attackers, and higher tier plans offer malware detection and removal.
In addition, HostPapa isolates each individual customer account so that there’s no way someone else getting hacked would affect you. This is a preferred feature if you use shared hosting & security is important.
HostPapa is not the only host that offers this isolation approach: SiteGround contends they were the first to come up with an efficient approach to isolating accounts on shared servers.
Video: This video provides a helpful overview of HostPapa’s security measures.
Is There an Uptime Guarantee?
The next major question is will your site always be up and running?
HostPapa offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, which is fairly standard, but more than enough for most bloggers. Your site might be down for up to 43 minutes a month, but that’s worst case scenario.
Will Your Site be Backed Up?
Finally, what about backups? If you somehow break your site, can you recover it?
Automated backups are free on certain plans, but on the cheaper ones, you will have to do them yourself through cPanel. It’s time-consuming but possible and free.
Billing and Pricing
The minimum term for HostPapa hosting is one year, billed annually.
There’s some good (mostly good) and some bad about HostPapa’s billing and pricing practices.
Here’s the good:
- 30-day money-back guarantee on all plans.
- The base plans are all quite cheap.
- They accept all major credit cards and Paypal.
However, there are 2 potential issues to keep in mind.
First, the minimum sign-up duration is 1 year. The prices on their website are all “per month” which is a bit misleading when you have to pay for at least a year upfront.
Secondly, the base plans are only enough if you’re just getting started and creating a blog for fun.
If your blog grows, or you have a business site, you’ll likely need to upgrade to get the additional features the higher tier plans offer. While the plans are still affordable, they aren’t “cheap” when compared with similar plans on other hosts.
HostPapa’s customer support is impressive.
One aspect of HostPapa that I can’t praise enough is their support. This can be so important if you’re new to running a website, as you will run into problems and need help.
Here are all your options for support on HostPapa:
- 24/7 live chat
- 24/7 telephone support
- 24/7 email support
- How-to videos on the HostPapa YouTube channel
- HostPapa’s knowledgebase
Very few hosts, especially low-cost hosts offer 24/7 support.
To top it off, there’s multilingual support (English, French, Spanish, and German) that may come in handy.
I’m also impressed with their knowledgebase. They have hundreds of well-written articles in it covering most problems you may run into, like:
- How to install WordPress
- How to add and delete categories in WordPress
- How to create and publish a post in WordPress
- How to add images, audio, and video to a WordPress post
- How to add ads to WordPress
- How to add a testimonial carousel to WordPress
- How to fix common image issues in WordPress
- Understanding WordPress terminology
- How to create good navigation links in WordPress
- How to use WordPress Multisite
- How to install and set up the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress
- And many more
The searchable knowledgebase provides simple step-by-step instructions and helpful images.
Even if you’re not particularly “techy” you should be able to follow these instructions with no problem.
Pros and Cons of HostPapa
We’ve looked at a lot so far.
Let me sum up the biggest strengths and weakness of HostPapa compared to other possible hosting options.
- Free domain name
- Great 24/7 support (including one-on-one training)
- Easy to install WordPress on
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Free SSL and CDN.
- Not ideal for large, high volume blogs
- Some speed features, but some hosts offer more.
- Must purchase hosting for at least a year.
What Are Some Good Alternatives to HostPapa?
If you’re not sold on HostPapa, or want other options, consider these similar hosts:
- SiteGround: Has a highly-skilled 24/7 support team, and shared servers are high performance and low cost. They have more speed features and better plans for large sites. You can see our full SiteGround review here.
- A2 Hosting: A low-cost host with a big emphasis on speed. Even their free plans use SSD storage to improve site load times. Here’s a detailed A2 Hosting review if you’d like to learn more.
- GreenGeeks: Also offers affordable shared hosting plans, and they have a focus on green hosting. You can learn more about them in our GreenGeeks review.
I wouldn’t recommend HostPapa for large blogs that get tens of thousands of visitors a month. There are better options.
However, HostPapa is one of the best hosts for new and small blogs.
Their support is always available, which is key for bloggers who may not have much experience with hosting and troubleshooting issues. HostPapa provides affordable and reliable web hosting services that are good enough for small blogs.
Here are some common questions about HostPapa. Have a different question? Share it in the comment space below this article.
Can you integrate WordPress with Google Apps?
Google Apps (or G Suite) is a collection of Google tools, most notably used to manage business emails.
G Suite is fully compatible with all of HostPapa’s plans, but there is an additional fee. If you’re a solo blogger, the basic email services that HostPapa provides will likely fit your needs better and be cheaper.
Can I sell products through HostPapa?
If you want to sell products through your site in addition to your blog, that’s possible.
HostPapa has its own online store extensions for their custom site builder.
Or, if you go with WordPress, you can install the WooCommerce plugin. It’s a simple way to manage inventory, accept payment, and list products on your site.
Does HostPapa have an affiliate program?
Yes, they do, and their top affiliates make more than $10,000 a year, according to the web host. If you plan on aggressively growing your blog audience you may want to keep this in mind. Be sure to check out our free guide How to Make Money With Your Blog.
Is there a mobile app for editing the HostPapa website builder? If so, does it come in Android and iOS?
No, if you use the HostPapa website builder, you must use it on a desktop.
Don’t get this confused with mobile responsiveness. All templates that you’ll find in the website builder are mobile responsive, meaning that your visitors can still view your site on their phones no problem.
Does HostPapa offer reseller hosting?
Yes, and as the name implies, these plans let you “resell” HostPapa’s services and make a profit. You can add your own brand name, while not having to take care of any servers yourself.
Reseller hosting is something you’re unlikely to ever touch as a blogger. This type of hosting is typically only used by designers, web developers, and marketing agencies. Check out HostPapa hosting »
Contributing editor: Sherrie Gossett