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Hostopia review

Is Hostopia a real utopia for a small businesses?

Hostopia Review Hero
(Image: © Deluxe)

TechRadar Verdict

Hostopia is a US-based one-stop solution for small to medium-sized businesses that provides reseller hosting, site building tools, sales and marketing support as well as thorough training. With this said, if you are still fresh in the world of web hosting and want an easy-going host for a single website, you'll be better off looking elsewhere.

Pros

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    DIY website builder

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    Open-ended contracts

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    Sales and marketing support

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    Over two decades of experience in the industry

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    Reseller packages suitable for small to midsize businesses

Cons

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    Absence of self-support options

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    No 24/7 customer support

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    Not beginner-friendly

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    Official site doesn’t contain enough data about the company or its infrastructure

Established in 1999 and acquired by Deluxe (a US-based small business financial services company) in 2008, Hostopia (opens in new tab) is a white-label platform for its parent company’s suite of business solutions. They function as an all-in-one solution for small businesses, offering everything from web hosting (opens in new tab) to creating a full-blown marketing strategy for a given brand. In 2018 they also acquired Digiweb, a long-standing telecommunications company from Ireland and expanded their area of expertise.

In 2020, Hostopia’s division in Australia started to collaborate with Equinix (opens in new tab), an American multinational company specialized in internet connection and data centers, in order to improve its service delivery and connectivity for more than 50,000 customers. All in all, Hostopia is no stranger to development and it continues to grow still, slowly but steadily.

Network

Hostopia's network of partners and resellers continues to grow (Image credit: Deluxe)

The global network of their partners and resellers covers multiple locations across North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.  

Hostopia’s official site is pleasing to the eye in its simplicity and ease of use, although it is not too generous when it comes to information about the company itself. The site features a blog and a likable one to boot, with some pretty good advice for someone starting or running a small business. The only noticeable weakness is that the blog is updated every few months and the oldest articles date from 2018, which doesn’t give you much material to read through.

Out of the social networks, Hostopia seems to be active on LinkedIn only.

Services

Hostopia aims to be a one stop shop for SMBs (Image credit: Deluxe)

Plans and pricing

Besides offering sales and marketing services, Hostopia’s is a provider of reseller web hosting (opens in new tab) with business partners all over the globe. Since their services are more geared towards small to middle-sized businesses with multiple websites, pretty heavy traffic and big dreams, there isn’t a lot of precise information about their hosting packages.

Hostopia’s site will provide you with a brief insight into the scope of services they have on the offer including web design, professional-looking online presence building tools, multi-site hosting plans (with a SaaS (opens in new tab) approach), business email (opens in new tab), e-commerce features, online directory management for SEO (opens in new tab) and online fax services (opens in new tab). However, to get more information about partnering with Hostopia or schedule a demo, you’ll have to get in touch with their team.

At present, Hostopia offers no free trial nor a money-back guarantee.

Some of the supported payment methods with Hostopia include all major credit/debit cards, PayPal and bank transfers.

Ease of use

With a goal to close the gap between standard service providers and customer bases whose businesses have need for such services, Hostopia found its place on the market. Their services are known to be reasonably priced, well-rounded and supplemented with a team of experienced experts (and an intelligent platform) that are there to help your business grow to its full potential.

To kick things off with Hostopia, you’ll have to get in touch with their team and you can do it via toll-free telephone number (if you’re in the USA), an online form or email. The email doesn’t seem to be available during the weekend, however, and if it’s a matter of urgency, you are encouraged to get in touch with them through other contact channels. In any event, after a consultation with Hostopia’s agent you should have a deeper insight into the set of services you’re going to receive as well as your orientation fee.

Hostopia should take care of everything from domains (opens in new tab), website migrations (which are mostly free-of-charge), more in-depth customer support, lots of technical manuals and WebsiteOS support documentation, complete training and assistance with creating your brand. This initial period is a three-month investment, for which you’ll have to pay a fee. However, given that Hostopia’s contracts are open-ended, you’re not required to make any long-term commitments, which means you can bail out at any point.

Hostopia’s reseller packages are hosted on a hybrid UNIX/Windows operating system and they support ASP, PHP, ColdFusion and MySQL.

Site Builder

This is the user interface of Hostopia's website builder (Image credit: Deluxe)

Their DIY website building tools with drag-and-drop functionality will allow you to build a beautiful website with ease, and it will be both SEO optimized and mobile-friendly. You’ll only have to confirm the name of your site, fill in basic information and select a design you want to use, with more than a sufficient number of templates at your disposal. All the important ecommerce features (opens in new tab) are supported as well, allowing you to build a fully functional webstore. 

Performance

We used GTmetrix to measure the uptime and response time of Hostopia's main site (Image credit: GTmetrix)

Speed and experience

Although Hostopia’s site doesn’t say much about the speed performance, GTmetrix, as always, does. The page took 4.6 seconds to fully load which is not picture perfect, but it is significantly better than the average result of 8.1 seconds. All other vital web metrics were about or above the average score resulting in a B (81%) as a conclusive grade, which (again) looks pretty good in comparison with the average.

Hostopia’s site reassures us to feel “confident with their SLAs and uptime guarantees”, but we were unable to find the exact percentage this refers to. In any case, we closely monitored the uptime performance of Hostopia’s main site for over a month (via UptimeRobot) and got some pretty good results. The reported average uptime for one month was in line with industry standard of 99.90%. There were a total of four instances of downtime where the longest one endured for 19 minutes straight, which, while not ideal, is presentable performance nonetheless.  

Support

Getting in touch with Hostopia could certainly be easier with the addition of live chat (Image credit: Deluxe)

Support

Unfortunately for newcomers, this is where Hostopia exhibits a lack of consistency, comprehensiveness and care in general. The first support channel you’ll notice on their site is a toll-free telephone number, which is (regrettably) only valid for the USA. There is also an email address and an online request form, but not a trace of the most popular support channel overall - live chat.

In spite of that, it seems that what Hostopia lacks in quantity, it tries to make up for with the quality of their support staff, since there are plenty of praiseful comments from their customers on hosting forums all over the internet. However, there is also some criticism from dissatisfied ex-customers describing their support as “unresponsive”, “incomplete” and (as a finishing blow) “almost non-existent”.

As for self-support choices, if we exclude Hostopia’s official blog, there are none. Besides a brief description of all of their services, one quick introduction video about their website builder and around 30 blog articles, there is nothing to lead you on the path of self-sufficiency.

The competition

Choosing between Hostopia and HostGator (opens in new tab) depends heavily on your actual business needs as well as on your technical knowledge. Hostopia is a provider of reseller services oriented towards small to midsize business with multiple websites, while HostGator offers a wide variety of hosting types and options with some excellent novice-friendly features, such as 45-day money-back guarantee. Therefore, if this is going to be your first professional website, HostGator is a much safer bet. However, if this is not the case, you can try your luck with either of them.

Much like HostGator, Bluehost (opens in new tab) is an incredibly beginner-friendly host with a 24/7 customer support, tons of easy-to-follow how-tos, an industry-standard control panel, one-click installs and a drag-and-drop website builder. Hostopia, on the other hand, has slightly experienced business-focused users in mind. Thus, if you are looking for a space for a personal blog or a simple website, Hostopia might be a bit too much.

Both Hostopia and DigitalOcean (opens in new tab) are US-based web hosting providers geared towards users with an immodest amount of technical knowhow. However, unlike Hostopia, DigitalOcean provides all new users with a generous 60-day-long free trial with free credit of $100, which makes it so much easier to opt for them.

Hostopia and Steadfast (opens in new tab) are both from the USA, and are almost the same when it comes to the shortcomings of their customer support services. However, while Hostopia offers reseller hosting products, Steadfast can provide you with its own fully customizable VPS (opens in new tab), VDS and bare metal dedicated server (opens in new tab) solution, and all at a fair price.

Final verdict

To answer the question of whether Hostopia is an actual utopia for a small business or not, we’ll have to pose an additional one. Have you been searching for a company with a worldwide infrastructure and a long-standing career in supplying full-service internet solutions for small businesses in particular? If the answer is “yes”, you should definitely get in touch with Hostopia’s team and see what they can do to make your business flourish like never before.

However, if the answer is “no”, check out hosts such as HostGator and Bluehost, because both have proven to be reliable, well-rounded and very user-friendly.

Mirza Bahic is a freelance tech journalist and blogger from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. For the past four years, Mirza has been ghostwriting for a number of tech start-ups from various industries, including cloud, retail and B2B technology.