Every day we get a ton of emails from Canadian business owners and entrepreneurs asking us about web hosting companies and who they should choose to host their website. Since each business is unique, I’ve decided to do somewhat of a checklist for Canadians looking for web hosting. I’ll cover the essentials and compare web hosting providers so you can make the right choice when choosing a hosting company for your business website.
Checklist for Web Hosting
Domain names – Your domain name is literally what people will type to reach your website. You want it to be short, memorable and relevant to your business. If your target audience is in Canada then go with a .ca domain name. The .ca domain extension is a great way to let your customers know you’re doing business in Canada. Plus, since most .com extensions are taken there is a good chance your .ca domain name will be available.
Use this free tool to search available domain names.
Security – When it comes to web hosting most people don’t realize how important security is. Hackers are always targeting websites, especially WordPress sites. If you plan to use WordPress then make sure you keep it updated along with themes or plugins you decide to use. Choose a website hosting company that has a firewall and brute-force protection. Ask your web host if they have a malware virus scanner as well.
Domain WHOIS privacy – When you register any domain name on the Internet your personal information goes into the WHOIS database. This includes your first name, last name, street address, email address and phone number. Anyone can search the whois database and pull up your personal information. CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority is the governing body for .ca domain name registrations in Canada. The best thing about registering a .ca domain is that you get whois privacy protection for free! When you register your .ca domain name with a Canadian web host, make sure you ask them to enable whois privacy protection.
Choosing the right hosting plan – Are you looking for e-commerce hosting or just putting up an informational website? What is you need to upgrade your hosting plan, is it seamless and is pricing prorated? When you’re looking at hosting plans you can go with shared hosting, VPS hosting or a dedicated server. Shared hosting is the cheapest option but it might make more sense to go with a dedicated server so you don’t have to continually upgrade plans. If a dedicated server is within your businesses budget then that would be your best bet.
Email Accounts – Hosting plans come with email addresses however make sure your web host offers unlimited space for each email account. If email is critical then consider using Gsuite which is Gmail for Business. It’s $5 per email account but the reliability and security makes it a no brainer. If you get a dedicated server then you don’t have to worry about Gsuite as your server will be able to handle all of your email.
SSL Certificate – An SSL certificate activates the green padlock in web browser and makes sure your website ‘https’. Search engines will rank a website that has an SSL certificate higher then one that does not. Your hosting company likely offers SSL certificates and they may even offer a hosting plan that includes one for free.
Hosting plan pricing – Plan prices vary from company to company but ask your web host what the renewal rate is. Does the price increase after your initial term? Are there any hidden costs? Hosting companies do charge for additional features such as website backups, SSL certificates, domain privacy and so on. Choose a web host that is upfront about pricing and you’ll save yourself time and money down the road.
Are they truly a Canadian company?
There are so many hosting companies who are resellers and owned by U.S. companies. I wrote this post to help Canadian Businesses find web hosts in Canada that are actually Canadian with local servers. What’s the point in hosting with a company that has their servers halfway across the world?
After months of research and feedback from visitors, we’ve narrowed down the best Canadian hosting companies so you can make an informed decision. Your host is the backbone to your business. If their servers go down then your business is offline as well. Finding the right company to host your site is probably one of the most important decisions you need to make when running an online business.
I mentioned the importance of where your web host have their servers but let’s dive into this a little further. Let’s say you’re a business owner in Toronto and your customers are all local. It would make the most sense to have your website hosted on a server in Toronto right? Too many hosting companies who claim to be Canadian have their servers in the U.S so you need to make sure you ask them where their data center is located. Having servers within Canada is important not only for speed and performance but the security of your data. When your site is hosted on a server in Canada then you are protected under Canadian laws rather than U.S laws or even offshore governments where you have no control over your data.
For Canadian business owners with an online presence my advice is to always choose a web host that has their servers on Canadian soil.
Canadian Web Hosting Companies
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of what to look for when looking for a web host, let’s talk about two Canadian Web Hosting companies who are highly rated for their support, plans and overall hosting services.
HostUpon is Canadian owned and operated. Their head office is in Toronto and their data center is also in Toronto at 151 Front St W. That’s right, a Canadian company with servers in Canada! HostUpon offers .com and .ca domain registrations along with various other domain extensions. They offer shared hosting, VPS and Dedicated servers plus they have tailored plan for WordPress websites. They have a toll-free number you can call as well as Live Chat and an email ticket system. Prices start as low as $3.95/month and includes unlimited space, bandwidth and email accounts. They even have a shared hosting plan that is perfect for business owners starting at $15.95/month (their Premium Unlimited plan). This plan includes a free domain registration of your choice, 1 SSL certificate and their nightly automated backups.
Discount code: Use the coupon code 15off at checkout to save an additional 15% off all hosting plans at HostUpon.
Our next pick is HostHero, another Toronto based web host with servers in Canada. HostHero offers a ‘free domain for life’ which mean you can register a .com or .ca domain and they will register it for free and renew it each year as long as you host with them. Most hosting companies will offer the domain free for the first year so this is an added savings with HostHero. Another thing I like about HostHero is their cloud hosting platform. Sites will not only load faster but your data is striped across multiple hard drives which protects your data from hardware failure. HostHero is Canadian owned with customers around the globe. They have a Business Cloud plan which is perfect for any business looking to get online.
To be clear, JustHost is not a Canadian hosting provider. That said, they do offer pricing in Canadian dollars which is the main reason I’m listing them here. If you prefer to pay in Canadian currency then JustHost is the way to go. They have a ton of features and are best for business owners looking to get an online presence. Their plan starts at $5.19 CAD and includes a free domain name and site builder.
I’ve decided to narrow your options down to the 3 web hosts above who would be best for Canadian businesses to host their website. There are so many hosting companies to choose from but these 3 have the best reviews and are perfect for Canadians who want to either host locally or pay in Canadian dollars.
Starting an online business can seem daunting but once you find a reliable web host you’ll be starting off on the right path. Remember, your web host is the home of your website so be smart and choose wisely!