The paternally named, “HostPapa” turns out to be a multinational web hosting company who promote themselves within the green initiative. A Canadian web host in business for several years, HostPapa pride themselves on using 100% green renewable energy to power their web servers, data centres, office computer and laptops and office space. They state that the reason they do this is due to the fact they have a commitment to corporate responsibility and to the environment. They want to be the ‘green leader’ of the web hosting industry, so let’s find out if the services they offer will get them a seat on the pedestal.
The HostPapa website is unsurprisingly very green! It is also well designed and professionally made, as upon visiting the website, it states the features and the price front and center. They also sport informative content boxes placed in the right places, displaying information such as stating they are green and what it is. They also state some of the features they offer, such as script installations like WordPress. Along the bottom of the website, they state the awards they have received as a web host as well as publications they have been featured in along with payment methods. The footer contains a boat load full of helpful information such as service information, company information and additional services and tools.
Now, we’re going to break this review down into a few sections:
- Features and Pricing
- Terms of Service
- Customer Support
Let’s get on with it!
Features and Pricing
HostPapa are an unlimited host, as stated on their webpage. But what exactly do they offer which constitutes as unlimited? The web hosting features page states that they offer unlimited disk space, bandwidth, and use of domains on one hosting account. Sub-domains and parked domains are also considered unlimited. One feature that can swing either way these days with web hosts is also unlimited, and those are MySQL databases, so that is a gigantic plus right there.
E-mail wise, you are given unlimited e-mail accounts, along with unlimited forwarding accounts and responders.
The features page states you are given access to FTP however it does not state anywhere how many accounts you will receive. As a safe bet, I would assume you’d receive the one FTP account for the hosting account; however you could end up with unlimited FTP accounts too. We’ll find out how many we really get later in the review.
You are given a free website template with hundreds of design templates, and if that isn’t your cup of tea, you are given access to tons of varied scripts to install, from content management systems to e-commerce platforms and mailing lists.
HostPapa also give you a free domain name for the life of your hosting account. Not only this, but they also provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
They do offer a refund policy, which states you can receive a full refund within thirty days if you are unhappy with your web hosting account.
As far as their pricing terms go, I am extremely pleased with the way HostPapa has decided to execute them. They all you to pay:
The prices differ however, as they often make use of discounts and pricing term sales. If you decide to choose a pricing term that is less than one year, you are required to pay a one-time setup fee of £10. I would also like to note that the pricing terms under one year are NOT available within the United States. This pricing structure is only offered to specific countries. If you are within the US, you are able to pay in the latter three terms within the list above.
Terms of Service
The HostPapa terms of service agreement isn’t extremely long, it is reasonably shorter than most I have come across. The legal jargon and language used also isn’t as confusing as one would normally expect. It is contained with 18 sections.
It contains the standard terms you would expect to see, such as the acceptable use policy detaining users from using their account to host unlawful material such as illegal downloads or adult material. It also states that doing this would obviously result in the suspension or deletion of the account.
The terms also state that, in conjunction with the 30 day money back guarantee, you will not receive a refund of any additional fees, including the setup fee (if one) and domain registrations and add-ons.
Upon signing up with HostPapa, I was greeted with several e-mails; the first of which thanked and welcomed me to their web hosting service. The next two e-mails consisted of an unpaid and paid invoice confirmation. The fourth and final e-mail was a ‘getting started’ e-mail giving me a bunch of important information. The e-mail started off by linking me to a tutorials page filled with hundreds of helpful video tutorials on how to do both simple and complicated tasks. The e-mail contained general information such as domain names, hosting plans and the IP address. Following this was my cpanel login information and FTP account information. Then the e-mail proceeded to inform me about how to setup my e-mail and webmail. At this point, I was a little edgy wondering if the e-mail would even include nameservers, but lo and behold, there they were starting me in the face! The bottom of the e-mail contained some important billing information if the situation were to ever arise to be in need of it.
As mentioned earlier, HostPapa execute the industry standard control panel cPanel. They had spruced it up of course, to match their green design along with some varied modules, which included the usual domain, database and mail applications as well as some marketing and SEO tools and some additional services such as SiteLock. HostPapa also offers one of the best script and software installers out there by the name of ‘Fantastico’ which is definitely a step in the right direction.
I began to test a few things out within the control panel, such as setting up e-mail addresses and creating and managing MySQL databases. Everything went smoothly without a hitch, and I figured it was time to see if installing a mix of scripts would be as easy too. The first script I installed was the SMF discussion board. I entered the requested the information (such as a username, password, installation directory and such) and clicked install. Within just a few seconds, I was already in the administrator dashboard on the website. The installation process is literally lightning fast! Another neat thing I noticed within the software module is that there was a ‘reset php.ini’ application. This can definitely come in handy in certain situations, for example, when you are updating the file size limit within WordPress.
As usual, we monitor the uptime and downtime of the web hosts we are reviewing using a service called Pingdom. When I looked at the monitoring graphs for this host, boy was I pleased. HostPapa managed to maintain a whopping 100% uptime, which is astounding. No downtime had occurred at all. The monitoring process does only last for a one week period, but this is surely a note of great things to come when the host can abide by the standard 99.9% up-time guarantee.
HostPapa certainly have all bases of customer care and support covered. They offer a 24/7 phone support line, along with a 24/7 live chat support service. If needed, they also offer ticket submission support. They also have a knowledgebase full of helpful articles and information. The phone support also includes toll-free numbers to several countries such as the UK, India and Belgium.
I went ahead and opened up live chat support to speak to a representative. I proceeded to wait around 8 minutes before anyone had answered. I was extremely close to just closing the support window as I was greatly frustrated due to the fact a representative was taking so long to respond, especially since I was “first” in the queue. When I did eventually get through, I was speaking to a somewhat unfriendly representative who gave adequate answers. The transcript went as follows:
DonP: Hello, how can I help you?
Smair Habib: Hi there, I installed an SMF forum in a directory called /SMF, I was wondering how I would get my domain to point to it?
DonP: you could just set up a redirect on your domain to go to that folder.
Smair Habib: How would I go about doing that?
DonP: You can use the Redirect icon in the cpanel, or set up an .htaccess redirect through your file manager, or set up a redirect script in your index file. The easiest would likely be the cpanel redirect.
Smair Habib: There is a check box that says “Wild Card Redirect”, should this concern me at all?
DonP: no, just ignore that option.
Smair Habib: Okay, thank you for your help!
DonP: No problem.
As you can see, in the first response, the representative did not care to elaborate more on what the solution was. If I was a beginner to web hosting, I wouldn’t know what a redirect is, and I’d most likely need assistance setting it up. It just seems that the representative above was uninteresting in providing thorough answers and just wanted to get through live chat requests quickly.
HostPapa is a green web host that pride themselves on using 100% renewable energy to power their servers to provide an extremely reliable service for their customers. They offer unlimited features and varied pricing terms to please their customers based in the UK. Unfortunately, these pricing terms are unavailable in the United States. They have brilliant uptime support however the customer support is unsatisfactory. Being a green company, they will definitely appeal to a large customer base, and if they brought up the quality of support, they could be a reliable legitimate business.