This cross-sectional study explored the hope and expectations of young people accessing an online chat counselling service, as these common therapeutic factors have not yet been investigated in the online environment. Participants included 1033 young people aged 16-25 years, mostly young women, who completed an online questionnaire available through the online mental health service's homepage. Findings showed that online clients had low levels of hope, high treatment outcome expectations, high levels of psychological distress, and low levels of life satisfaction. Hope and expectations were barely associated and about two-thirds of respondents reported low hope but high expectations. Only hope, however, was found to be related to psychological distress and life satisfaction, with higher hope being protective. Expectations, discordance between hope and expectations, and amount of online services received were not associated with psychological distress or life satisfaction. The low levels of hope and high levels of psychological distress, but high expectations, of young people accessing online counselling reveal challenges for this approach.