HostingHQ – your ressource for the best canadian web hosting reviews

Since the last two years, I’ve been working in web development and many clients asked me if I knew a great Canadian web hosting company that was reliable. I decided to create this website about hosting reviews and recommend great companies to others who are wondering the same thing. When you are about to build your next website, it is important to choose the right provider for your hosting. The first reason is because if you are relying on your website to generate sales for your business, you want to have a reliable provider that will provide you the latest technology and the highest uptime possible. Some companies might claim that they offer a 99.99% uptime but it is not always the case. The second thing that you should take into account is your targeted market. If you want to focus on the Canadian market then it is important to get your web hosting from someone who have their infrastructures in Canada. This is important in terms of search engines visibility because it will be clear to them that you are from Canada and you will get a competitive advantage because they give priority to “local” searches. One other reason why it is important to choose carefully is because you do not want to “test” many providers…it is really a pain to change a website from one server to an other so you will probably stay with the same for a very long time. Having said that, I recommend you to take a look at the 4 best web hosting providers.

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The best web hosting (and also cheap) company is MyHosting.com. They have very good prices, a great tech support team and they also have servers in Canada and in the US so you have the choice of the location (they are based in Toronto).

4.95$/month

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Our number two is  HostPapa. Their servers are powered by 100% renewable energy sources! Tip: Go for an annual plan and get a free domain name for life!!!

3.95$/month

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Hostgator is not a Canadian web hosting company but they do provide good and reliable hosting. They are a very big player in the industry, mostly in the US. If you decide to go on a monthly basis, use the promo code  “1cent” to get your first month for a penny!

$5.56/month with annual subscriptions

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I recently add JustHost in my favorite sites after receiving many requests from my readers. They asked me to add more providers that were offering a reliable service at a low cost, even if they did not have servers in our country. So here it is, JustHost.com. Why them? because they recently lowered their price [...]

$3.75/month

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10% OFF at myhosting.com

If you are looking to get a Virtual Private Server, I strongly recommend you to take a look at myhosting.com (my all time favorite hosting provider). They offer great VPS at a really affordable price (starting at $15.95/month!!). As you may know, some hosting provider ask a lot more than that for shared hosting which is not as powerful and flexible as a VPS. So, if you still are paying too much for your poor service it might be time to consider changing. It is easy to migrate a site from one provider to another but if you are not comfortable with it, do not hesitate to send me an email and I will be glad to help you or you can also start by reading my post on how to install WordPress on a VPS.

For a limited time, you can get 10% off your new VPS with this coupon (click on the image to redeem and make sure to enter the promo code at checkout!):

discount on hosting

How to install WordPress on a VPS?

If you are a long time user of server than it is no secret but I remember the first time I had to install wordpress on a VPS and it was no fun. The process is simple but you need to kwon what to look for. I will show you how to do it on a VPS from myhosting.com.

First of all, you need to have an FTP access (I use the software called FileZilla) and a access to your server from parallel plesk panel. If you have those two tools then you will be able to follow those steps. We will assumed that you already registered a domain (let say it is www . mywpsite . com”)and you created a spot for it from your hosting account. We will use “myhost” as an example for your username and “12345” as your password. I am also assuming that you downloaded a fresh version of WordPress from wordpress.com.

The first thing you have to do is to launch Plesk and click on your domain from the left menu. Then click on the “web and hosting” tab. Once you are there you will see your domain name at the bottom. Select it and in the next window check the button next to “run Apache” and uncheck “safe mode”. Finish by applying the changes.

The second step will be to create a database (db). You have to select the option “database” and then click on “create a new database”. You can leave the login detail as it is (admin) but I like to use different names to avoid confusion between my other sites. Let say that you are using “myweb” as a login name (for future references). Next, create a user for the db, ideally with another name than the login information, let say you choose “myname”, then choose a password to go with it (it will be “mypass” for our example).

In this step we will upload the WordPress files to your server using the information you just entered. Open your FTP software and enter the IP of your server, the user name (myhost) and password (12345).

Once you are logged you see the files on the server, click on “httpdocs” twice. Open the folder with all the WordPress files in it and select them all except “wp-sample-config.php” and drag them to your httpdocs folder with FileZilla. While it will upload, open that sample-config page using dreamweaver or else and change the line for the database, user and password for the one you created earlier (myweb, myname and mypass). Save it and upload it.

For the final step you have to open your web browser and enter your URL followed by /wp-admin/install.php (for our example it would be http:// www . mywpsite . com/wp-admin/install.php).

Complete the information needed and you will be good to go.

That is it…I hope it helped. I will be uploading some screen shots soon to better illustrate how to do it. Take a look at our promo code to get a great deal on your VPS.

5 best web hosting

How to use Filezilla with 1and1 web hosting?

I don’t know why web hosting companies make it so hard to understand how to use their service but I guess they assume that all of their clients have a background in information technology. I know many people that just want to setup a little blog to share their passion with the world and they have no clue about IT. Many of them will not go forward simply because they see this step as a big mountain to climb.

I will do my best to keep it simple and show you the exact step to follow. Once you bought an hosting package and you registered your domain, log into your account with the login and password they sent you by email. If you have not yet did this part, visit 1and1.ca and follow the simple instructions. In most cases you should receive an email almost immediately but it could take up to a day or two.

From your admin panel, go to “FTP account” and create a new user. The first line to fill is the user name. Since this is a shared hosting package, you will have some weird alphanumeric characters before what you will enter (like “b647134856-”). Once you are done, register your new password on the appropriate line and retype on in the line under. You can leave the description blank. After that, select “create new directory” and fill the line under it with “/” followed by your site name (ex: /mysite.com). and save.

You are now ready to upload your files using Filezilla. Open the software and go to “file”, then “site manager..”.  Click on “new site” and enter your information as follow:

  • Host: Your site name (ex: www.mysite.com) —– Port: 21
  • Protocol: FTP – File Transfer Protocol
  • Encryption: Use plain FTP
  • Logon Type: Normal
  • User: Your complete ftp user name you created (ex: b647134856-myusername)
  • Password: The password you created for your FTP account.
  • Account: leave blank

Once you filled this info, click on “Connect” and you will log in your web hosting account. There is nothing more to do…upload your files by dragging them to your folder.

What is shared hosting and why you should care

For most people, hosting is hosting. The difference between shared hosting and all the other type such as dedicated server, VPS, cloud and more are not so clear and can be confusing. In this post, I will try to explain it in a simple way so even non IT people can understand, because it is important to know what it is when you are shopping for a new provider. Depending on your project, it may not be the best option for you but in most case it is the way to go. Let me first explain how shared hosting works. In order to host a website, you need a server and it has to be connected to Internet (of curse). The companies selling you the service have special controlled rooms in which they have many servers and each of them have one or more IP address. In shared hosting, you are renting a fraction of one of those servers but unlike a VPS (Virtual Private Server) you do not have the complete ownership of that fraction. Let’s put it this way: A VPS could be compared to a condominium and the other one to a bed in a dorm room. In the case of a condo, you are renting (or bought) a defined space in a specific building and in the case of the bed, you have a specific space in a shared building.

Now this is important in hosting because you do not control every aspect of your rented space. If you go with a non reliable provider, you could regret your choice because your site could be hurt if someone on the same server than you abuse the resources, or else. If the server go down or get very slow because of someone else, you too will be affected. Now, this can be avoid of curse if you go with a good provider like MyHosting.com because they have advance system to correctly manage their operation and they also rely on advance technologies, not second hand hardware like others.

What is SSL and how do I know if need it or not?

You will certainly need SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate if you have an e-commerce website where you offer products as well as services for your clients/visitors. This is because when you are offering products, you expect that your visitors will buy them from your website. And in order to buy them, it is important that they enter their credit card information, and sometimes personal details. So, you will definitely need SSL certification to keep your website secured.
There is another advantage of having SSL certification. And that is if your visitor finds out that your website has SSL installed, they tend to have greater trust in your website and are convinced to a great extent that their information is safe and secured.

However, if your website is an e-commerce site but you accept payments through a 3rd party service provider like PayPal, then you will not need the SSL certificate for your website. This is because under such circumstances, your clients will not enter the credit card details into your browser but will do so in the PayPal section. But if you are looking for enhanced security, then getting SSL certificate is perhaps not a bad idea at all.

Basically SSL forms a bridge in form of connection between your web server and that of the web browser of the visitor. This secured connection ensures that every bit of personal data transferred over the web remain safe from the online intruders and hackers.

In order to install SSL you will need a certificate that can be installed in your server. How will you know whether or not a particular website is SSL certified? You will find it out easily as the websites that have SSL certificate will have an address bar that is green in color. Alternatively, it can also be found out by seeing a padlock sign in the web browser.

How many domains can be secured with SSL certificate?

Generally speaking, a single SSL certificate can secured only one web domain/sub domain. It may be quite likely that you have two domains like www. domainxyz. com as well as mail. domainxyz. com. So, a single SSL certificate will be able to secure either the mail one or the main one.

So, whether or not you need SSL certificate depends solely on your website requirement. If your website does not need transactions to be carried out you can avoid the SSL certificate.

Important factor to consider before you buy hosting:

One part that I found to be a critical factor is the tech support. I had two virtual private servers at two different company and now I have only a bigger one at one place. Which one did I choose? The one with the best support, the the cheapest. When you have several websites and you suddenly have a problem with your hosting, all your sites might be affected so you want someone to talk to and VERY fast. I recently dealt with a company who basically don't provide support. I agree that the line between what they are supposed to do versus what the client is supposed to do is not clear because with servers, you rent them. It is almost as if you own them so you should be able to get it up and running and the support team is there inly for physical problems. This is also another reason why you should register for web hosting, you do not want to deal with all the problems related to the management of a server. :)

You can find more information about Web hosting on Wikipedia.