While doing our research for the list of the fastest web hosting providers, we came across this unassuming yet underrated web hosting provider from Canada.
Since we’ve already in the process of reviewing so many brands, we decided to go the extra mile and check out HostPapa, or as we like to call them, the Honcho of Toronto.
Table of Contents
Pros of HostPapa
- Speedy servers for quick response times everywhere!
- Uptime is guaranteed to never drop below 99.9%!
- HostPapa has FAST features!
- Exceptional value with HostPapa!
- Very user friendly, especially for newcomers!
- Data centers cover strategic locations!
- Excellent support by the PapaSquad
Cons of HostPapa
- No speed enhancing software
- Limited data center coverage
- No free automatic backup
- Shady checkout practices
- Uptime guarantee clause is a little suspect
HostPapa’s Plan & Pricing
HostPapa VS the Competition
But before we get to the good stuff, I think a wee bit of an introduction is in order.
HostPapa had their humble beginnings as a dedicated and hosted applications provider, all the way back when most of us were still in diapers, the golden age of 2002.
The company quickly found dizzying heights of success, winning award after award, even appearing in Profit 500 Magazine as one of Canada’s fastest-growing companies!
Today, they play host to over 500,000 websites, and offer their services not just in their home ground, but in countries all over the world! They’ve also got plans to broaden their coverage by building data centers in more strategic global regions.
We went on ahead and purchased an account with them and built a test site, just to see how well they actually perform.
So what exactly is our verdict? Stick around to find out!
7 reasons why we gave HostPapa the thumbs up!
1. Speedy servers for quick response times everywhere!
A good web hosting provider will make sure that their servers or data centers are fast enough for their client’s audiences, and we’re happy to find that HostPapa’s servers are seriously swift!
We created a test site on their US data center and put it through our Server Speed Checker to see how it performs on a global level. Turns out, we were more than happy with the results!
|US (W)||US (E)||London||Singapore||Sao Paulo|
|11 ms||62 ms||129 ms||167 ms||172 ms|
|241 ms||206 ms||105 ms||67 ms||144 ms|
The provider from the Great White North performed so much better than expected, with the fastest pings coming in from the USA at 11ms!
They did quite well in locations further away like Singapore (167 ms) as well as Germany (144 ms). The slowest ping came back at 241 ms from Bangalore, which is still plenty fast considering it’s more than a few stone’s throw away!
We were so impressed with the performance from HostPapa so we decided to go the extra mile and get another 2 accounts on their Canadian and Amsterdam data centers. As always, we tested them for speed as well, and here are the results:
|US (W)||US (E)||London||Singapore||Sao Paulo|
|67 ms||28 ms||80 ms||231 ms||132 ms|
|200 ms||203 ms||173 ms||8 ms||95 ms|
Results from their Canadian data center are even better than their US one, with a global average of 121.7 ms! It performed really well in Germany, London, US East and US West too, at under 100 ms. Even locations as far away as Bangalore came back at just 200 ms!
|US (W)||US (E)||London||Singapore||Sao Paulo|
|159 ms||119 ms||8 ms||160 ms||213 ms|
|115 ms||275 ms||238 ms||129 ms||14 ms|
The server speed test results proves that their Amsterdam server is no slouch either, rocking it up at 143 ms global average! It performed the fastest in London at only 8 ms, and also did very well in Germany at 14 ms. It only showed signs of sluggishness in Sydney and Japan, at 275 ms and 238 ms respectively.
We’re obviously very happy with the server speed test, which confirms that HostPapa is fast pretty much all around the world!
2. Uptime is guaranteed to never drop below 99.9%!
For those not in the know, “uptime” is web hosting jargon for the amount of time your website stays up.
It’s impossible to have 100% uptime because server maintenance needs to happen, but a good web hosting provider will strive to guarantee at least 99% uptime for their customers.
This might seem unimportant, but we assure you, it’s highly crucial to have your site stay up as much as possible. A website that only has a 95% uptime means that no one will be able to buy from your online store for almost 3 entire weeks out of the year!
That’s 18 days of lost revenue while you’re still forking out cash for overheads and running costs. That’s not acceptable at all, is it?
Good thing HostPapa is generous enough to offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee for all sites hosted with them! Note that we have a bit of a problem with their uptime clause, but we’ll cover that later on.
Here’s the uptime data for our current test site. If it dips below the uptime guarantee, do remind us to bring it up with HostPapa.
Uptime since 01 September 2023
Uptime since 01 September 2023
Uptime since 01 September 2023
3. HostPapa has FAST features!
We love HostPapa for their speed! But before we get into the details, you might want to quickly read this to learn why speed is so important to us.
We already did a server speed test as seen in point no. 1 up there, but we also took the initiative to perform a website speed test on webpagetest.org just to see how fast their hosted site loads.
The results for the Largest Contentful Paint came back at 1.98 seconds which proves that HostPapa’s site load speeds are fast enough to meet Web Vital requirements! It’s too bad that webpagetest doesn’t check for FID or TBT just yet, but we’re working on a solution for that so stay tuned.
We don’t exactly know what speed-enhancing features HostPapa has been hiding from us because their side load speeds are exceptionally fast, but we suspect it’s probably due to their excellent SSD storage.
To prove that this isn’t a fluke, we performed the same tests on the test sites hosted on their Amsterdam and Canadian data centers as well:
From these results, we can see that HostPapa servers pack some serious firepower. Their site load speeds are consistently fast across all their data centers, which makes them comparable to the web hosting giants in the industry.
We also suspect that their speeds could be due to their integrated Cloudflare CDN. With it enabled, HostPapa ensures that sites hosted with them will have seconds shaved off their loading speed, providing visitors with a pleasing, ultra-fast user experience!
4. Exceptional value with HostPapa!
Small business owners and freelancers are always on the lookout for ways to maximise their value. Business can be inconsistent at times, and nobody likes having to fork out more for essentials they don’t realise they need yet.
With HostPapa, you’ll find plenty of value with their unlimited goodies, available on their Pro and Ultra accounts. We’re talking about stuff like:
- Unlimited SSD
- Unlimited websites
- Unlimited email accounts
With these, you’ll never have to worry about having to cough up more to pay for additional storage space, create additional sites, or to add on email accounts for new hires!
This already creates plenty of value for business owners, but HostPapa just felt like throwing in a couple of free perks just to sweeten the deal.
With all of their plans, users will get to enjoy a free domain name for a year, and also a boost in security with free SSL by Let’s Encrypt! They’ll also transfer your domain over for a price of exactly nothing, and if you’ve got an existing website hosted with another provider, HostPapa will be more than happy to migrate it for you, all for free.
5. Very User Friendly, especially for newcomers!
A lot of people are intimidated by the prospect of building a website, and really, I don’t blame them. If I knew nothing about the basics of site-building and came face-to-face with the wall of icons that is cPanel, I’ll just sit there feeling like a deflated balloon.
It’s a good thing that the good folks over at HostPapa understand how important it is to make site building accessible to newcomers, and designed their UI to be as user friendly as possible.
You’ll easily be able to manage billing, domains, support, and addon services all in one interface.
If you need to add on any services, you can easily do so by heading to My Services, then Add Services.
You should be led to a page where you can pick and choose whichever services you want to add to your site.
The simple dashboard isn’t gonna win any awards, but it is very effective and highly intuitive, which is what new users are looking for.
To make things easier for those with less experience, HostPapa offers easy 1-click set up for WordPress, Joomla and Drupal through Softaculous,
If you’re looking to build an online store, 1-click set up is available for Prestashop, Open Cart and OS Commerce Cart!
There’s also the easy to use website builder, which comes complimentary with the shared hosting accounts.
It’s no Hostinger Website Builder, but it’s free, makes for very polished looking sites and is very newbie-friendly (with plenty of pretty templates!), so no complaints there. We’re not gonna bore you with a tutorial on how easy it is to use, but if you’re looking for one, they’ve got a page right here for you.
If you still find it difficult to start with all these tools, feel free to consult their award-winning customer service, named the PapaSquad. They’ll provide you with a free 30-minute 1 on 1 consultation on anything web hosting related.
Pretty neat huh?
In case you haven’t noticed...
HostPapa is one of the few web hosting providers who still use cPanel!
6. Data Centers cover strategic locations!
Data centers are super important in making sure your website loads up fast for your audience. All your website data are stored in the servers which are housed in the data centers. The closer the data center is to your audience, the less time is needed for your site to show up on their screens!
While most subpar web hosting providers only have data centers in the USA, The King of Canada gets a leg up with their 3 top-of-the-line data centers, located in:
- Canada, Toronto
- USA, Los Angeles
- Europe, Amsterdam
This ensures that their data centers cover the entirety of the United States, Europe and the people’s republic of Canada, ensuring fast site load speeds for audiences residing in those regions.
We would have loved it if they had a data center in Asia catering to businesses targeting audiences in that region. Plenty of companies have started building data centers in Singapore for that very reason.
However, if you want to stick with HostPapa and still target Asia, their pings from Singapore came back in a mere 160 ms. Considering the distance, that’s plenty fast, good enough to satisfy web vital requirements!
7. Excellent Support by the PapaSquad
Earlier on, we mentioned that the PapaSquad rocks for providing us with a complimentary 30-minute mano-a-mano lesson in web hosting. Turns out, multiple award-winning support team is amazing in more ways than one!
They are trained to be highly efficient, and they don’t like to keep customers waiting. A lot of support teams out there would claim that they reply to tickets in under 30 mins, but in our experience, most of them lie and therefore, have their pants on fire.
The PapaSquad is one of the few that claims to reply tickets in under 10 minutes, and so far, they’ve delivered. They’re also very consistent on their live chat – we’ve reached out to them several times for information in the course of writing this piece, and they reply almost immediately every single time.
We haven’t tried their phone support yet, but they claim to reply instantly too and thanks to our experience with their other support platforms, we believe them!
Aside from just being fast, the PapaSquad is trained to be as helpful as possible in four different languages, namely: English, German, Spanish, and French, making sure that nothing gets lost in translation.
If you’re the type to shy away from all forms of human contact, HostPapa has built themselves an extensive knowledge base, meticulously covering a list of everything anyone’s got a possible question for, from hosting to account management!
5 reasons why HostPapa gets the thumbs down!
So far, HostPapa seems the part of the creme-de-la-creme of web hosting, but every rose has its thorn and the Canadian provider seems to be quite thorny. Here are a few of the things that don’t quite sit well with us.
1. No Speed Enhancing Software
Premium web hosting providers provide all sorts of ways to increase speed. The good ones come up with speed-enhancing software, or caching technology to boost site load speed. SiteGround’s SuperCacher comes to mind.
Unfortunately, HostPapa seems to be lacking in this department, with no caching tech available whatsoever.
Having said that, it’s important to note that even without any speed enhancing software, HostPapa is still pretty swift, as proven in the webpage speed test up there in point #3.
2. Limited Data Center Coverage
We really like HostPapa’s data centers. They’re really fast and plenty reliable!
It’s just that we feel that they could do better with more data centers in more strategic regions. After all, nothing is better for site load speed than actually having the servers close to the audience.
3. No Free Automatic Backup
This came close to being a dealbreaker for me. Automatic backups are crucial for those running online businesses. If something goes wrong with the site, one can always revert to a backup file from a day or two ago.
Unfortunately, HostPapa only offers this feature on their top-tier plans. Users of the Plus plan and below will have to manually back up their files, which we find to be a little unreasonable seeing as many other providers offer this service for free.
If you really want to, you can pay for this service as an add-on…but we would feel really sore about it.
4. Shady checkout practices
Remember what we said about HostPapa charging for automatic backups? Well, upon checkout, you’re automatically opted in for services like these, which would cost you a lot more than expected.
If you don’t opt-out of it, you’ll have to pay an additional $19.95 a year for their Protection Power Website Security, and $29.95 more for automated website backup.
Seems like a real scummy way to upsell products to people that aren’t paying attention. Not cool at all HostPapa, not cool.
5. Uptime Guarantee clause is a little suspect
It’s great that HostPapa offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee, but we did our due diligence and discovered that the uptime guarantee clause doesn’t specify how the provider will compensate us if the uptime happens to dip below their SLA.
We dug a little further and consulted the PapaSquad about this, and found out that compensation is only provided upon further review. Well… this means that they can opt to not compensate the user at all.
Although we trust HostPapa to be fair to their customers, not having a clear compensation clause is a little bit of a letdown.
HostPapa’s Plan & Pricing
HostPapa had a super-inclusive team of people when they were discussing their web hosting plans. They have accounts to cater to all sorts of users!
1. Web Hosting
Their web hosting plan would be the ones we would recommend, as they offer just the right amount of features without being overly pricey.
2. Managed Web Hosting
Just like their web hosting plan, but managed.
HostPapa only offers just 1 Managed Web Hosting plan, and it’s pretty awesome. With it, you can sit back and relax while leaving the heavy lifting to them.
They’ll sort everything out for you! The only thing you have to worry about is the damage done to your bank account. Priced at $19.95 a month, it isn’t exactly cheap.
3. WordPress Hosting
HostPapa’s WordPress Hosting plans are pretty similar to their shared web hosting plans, with the addition of WordPress optimization. It’s a great hassle-free choice for small businesses looking to build small WordPress sites, as WordPress and JetPack free comes pre-installed!
Prices start from $2.36 – $10.36 a month.
4. VPS & Reseller Hosting
If you’re in the market for VPS hosting or looking to resell hosting services, you’ll be glad to know that HostPapa offers both!
These enterprise-based web hosting solutions don’t come cheap, but they do offer features that aren’t available with regular shared hosting services.
They offer a range of prices for these plans, catering to customers requiring different needs.
As good as these plans are, we feel that they’re overkill for most people, and regular shared hosting plans are good enough for most small business owners!
HostPapa vs the Competition
We can’t call ourselves professional reviewers if we don’t at least pit the company we’re reviewing against the competition. Here’s how HostPapa performed when compared side by side with some of the leaders in the market!
HostPapa Optimized WP Pro VS Hostinger Premium Shared
Hostinger has been one of our top ranking web hosting providers, thanks to their low entry prices and fast hosting. We pit HostPapa against Hostinger, to see how well their servers perform against one another.
From the results of the server response time, it seems that both web hosts are equally matched, with HostPapa leading US (West), Singapore, Sydney and Japan, while Hostinger did better in US (East), London, Bangalore, Sao Paulo, Canada and Germany.
Next, we pitted HostPapa’s Amsterdam server against Hostinger’s Netherlands server, since they’re both located in Europe.
Here, the 2 providers are also neck and neck, with Hostinger producing slightly faster speeds in Sydney, Germany, Canada, Sao Paulo, US East & US West, while HostPapa is faster in the other locations.
However, Hostinger seems to pull ahead just a tiny bit with their global average of 141.3 ms, vs HostPapa’s 143 ms!
Last but not least, we’ll look at HostPapa’s Canadian data center vs Hostinger’s Singapore server.
This is where HostPapa really shines. Their Canadian data center is an absolute monster, scoring an incredibly fast 121.7 ms global average, leaving Hostinger’s Singapore data center in the dust at 168.9 ms!
Although Hostinger’s Singapore server is still pretty damn speedy, it’s only faster than HostPapa in Singapore, Bangalore, Sydney and Japan – locations where HostPapa has no data center presence.
To sum it up, both the providers have servers that are extremely fast with speeds below 180 ms, which makes them both A+ ranked web hosts!
HostPapa’s Canadian server is just simply amazing, one of the fastest we’ve seen in our careers. However, Hostinger might have the advantage of having more data centers.
With a wider coverage area, customers are able to select servers closer to their audiences, which makes their sites load faster for their intended markets.
HostPapa VS SiteGround as Managed WordPress Hosting
To make it a fair comparison, we’ll be comparing HostPapa’s WP Pro plan against SiteGround’s GrowBig plan, as they’re both mid-tier Managed WordPress accounts for their respective companies
However, SiteGround is a WordPress recommended host and HostPapa isn’t.
- Resources & Features
HostPapa offers an impressive amount of features in their unmetered websites, SSD storage and bandwidth. While SiteGround offers unlimited website installs and unmetered bandwidth, they lose out to HostPapa in terms of storage at only 20GB SSD.
In terms of CDN, they’re both using Cloudflare which might not be the best, but still good to have.
Where SiteGround really pulls ahead of Hostinger is with their performance boosters like the SuperCacher, customised server setups and http/2 enabled servers (Check out how the 5 SiteGround’s test sites perform on our in-depth SiteGround’s review). HostPapa has none of these, which is honestly quite a bit of a let down.
SiteGround also provides free daily backups, and they’re on the Google Cloud architecture, which makes them a whole lot more appealing to us compared to the big bag of nothing provided by HostPapa.
- Data Centers
SiteGround boasts an impressive lineup of 11 data centers spread across four continents, with locations in the US, London, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, France, Australia, and Singapore.
HostPapa only has 3: US, Amsterdam, and Canada.
Even though HostPapa’s servers are incredibly fast, it’s clear that SiteGround has the advantage not just in quantity, but in server quality as well.
- Support Availability
Both providers claim to have excellent award-winning support teams, so we reached out to them to see if their awards are justified. Turns out, they’re both equally as responsive, knowledgeable and helpful.
They also provide multiple support platforms – live chat, email and phone support (which is getting increasingly rare these days).
From what we’ve experienced, they’re both equally awesome in terms of support.
- Free Email Accounts
HostPapa generously offers their customers unlimited email accounts on their Pro hosting plan and above.
SiteGround, as the all-in-one provider they are, offers unlimited emails as well. However, while HostPapa only has unlimited accounts with their Pro plan and above, SiteGround offers it with all their plans.
- Pricing & Value
These 2 companies provide value in very different ways.
HostPapa offers affordable, no-frills WordPress Optimized hosting with the option to add-on several benefits if the need arises. Needless to say, one of their main selling points is their affordable, wallet-friendly prices.
SiteGround is premium level Managed WordPress hosting, equipped with all the bells and whistles. Not gonna lie, their plans don’t come cheap, but their prices reflect their service levels. Which is pretty damn amazing. You won’t have to worry about a thing while hosting with SiteGround.
In other words, same-same, but different.
Both of these providers are amazing in their own ways
If you’re looking strictly at pricing, HostPapa has the better deal at $19.95 a month (based on a 3-year contract). However, aside from their unlimited features, they don’t offer much else.
SiteGround is evidently more expensive at $24.99 a month, but they provide unbridled value in terms of features, perks and quality. As an official WordPress recommended host, the support you’ll receive is outstanding, as with the perks that come with the award.
If you’re just starting out and cash flow is a little tight, HostPapa would serve you well. If you’re doing well and looking to expand, you can’t go wrong with SiteGround. Read more about them in our detailed review of SiteGround.
Verdict: HostPapa is very impressive!
If you’ve tested as many web hosting providers as we have, you’ll find each subsequent provider to be less and less impressive. However, HostPapa left quite an impression, even without bringing anything new to the table.
I believe Bruce Lee once said, ”I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times”. Although I know nothing about kicks and very little about Lee, his point is clearly understood; make sure you’re strong in your basics, for everything else is as good as fluff.
There’s no denying that HostPapa lacks cutting edge tech or fancy features.
What they DO offer is the rock-solid promise of no-frills web hosting, catered for everyone, made super accessible for those new to website building, at affordable prices. In other words, their basics are STRONG.
They may not have a lot of data centers, but the servers they do have are seriously FAST. They don’t have fancy features, but they offer unlimited use of functional ones that count.
To add on to the pile of compliments, their support is just fantastic. Knowledgeable and quick to reply, over live chat, tickets and phone.
Obviously, you’ll find better options in the competition. But if you’re looking for an affordable yet reliable alternative, you’ll find yourself in good hands with HostPapa.
A fantastic customer-centric user-friendly web host, ideal for newcomers that are serious about business!
- ✓ SSD Storage
- ✓ Unlimited Bandwidth
- ✓ Free SSL & Domain
- ✓ Excellent Support
- ✓ 99.9% Uptime Guar.
- ✓ cPanel
- • Portfolio Sites
- • WordPress Site
- • Business Website
- • Joomla, Drupal