Is there a batch process to download a large number of items into my database (without having to manually create items one at a time) such as using .csv or something similar?
Yes. HostPapa has web-based administration tools, such as phpMyAdmin, which make importing data into your MYSQL database extremely easy. You can import your data in multiple formats, such as CSV, Excel, XML, TXT, etc. phpMyAdmin makes it very easy to map the data in your files to the fields in your web-based MYSQL database.
Here are a few tutorials which can help you with this process: