Every website in the world has one thing in common, which is also its backbone – the web hosting service provider. Good hosting service not only improves the overall quality of service for your website visitors but also impacts your search engine rankings. A good host would ensure your website is a star performer in terms of handling traffic, responsiveness to the visitors, and overall security. All these factors have a direct impact on the revenues that you depend on through your website. Even if you do not depend on your website for direct revenues, the overall quality of your website is a reflection of your business and affects the perception for a potential client. Thus, the quality of hosting service provider has as much importance for your website as the look and feel of the website.
Finding a good and efficient web hosting provider is a no mean feat though. Let alone the technical jargon, the plethora of options to choose from, makes the process of selecting one totally confusing. On top of it all, the price variation on account of every item in the list takes the complications to another level. Even if you are looking for something as simple as a single WordPress blog, it could be quite a time taking process.
This article would help you with choosing a hosting service provider even if you plan to have just a simple blog dedicated to your hobby. No matter if you would have a dozen visitors a day or aspire to serve thousands, we would help you understand what is website hosting.
What is Web Hosting?
Consider you have rented an apartment in a tower; in terms of website hosting:-
The apartment is the website.
The tower is the server.
Your apartment address is your domain name.
Your guests are your website visitors.
The realtor/manager is the hosting provider.
What kind of services in the tower are important? (in other words, what are the most important quality factors you should be looking for in a web hosting provider).
- The elevator – Say, your apartment is located on the 19th floor and the tower does not have a (fast) elevator(s). Would you expect any guest to ever visit you? This corresponds to your hosting server’s response time. Your website visitors must be able to reach/open your website quickly.
- Facilities – Would the apartment habitable if there is no power or water supply? There are a few fundamental and critical requirements if you want to especially host a WordPress blog/website. PHP and MySQL are like power and water. A WordPress based website/blog can’t be hosted if these two are not present.
- Safety – Would you want to live in an apartment if there is no lock? While every public website in the world is like an apartment without a door, it would still be prudent to ensure that safety is implemented, both on the tower-level as well as the apartment-level.
- The door – What if you expect 100 guests at a particular time but the door is big enough to let just 1 at a time. How much time do you estimate it would take someone at the end of the queue to enter your apartment? This is the serving capacity. While you don’t expect to have (and to pay for) a door that would let hundreds at a time, but you would still never like to lose any. In the website terms, you would want a server that can upgrade and downgrade the serving capacity as and when required. This would also ensure, your costs are aligned with the on-demand traffic.
- The floor size – If there are five people who would be residing in the apartment, how much beds would you reckon would be required? Five, at the least, with provisioning for near-future residents. This is the same as disk-size allocated to the website. While this has become a lower priority with decreasing costs, it is still better to understand the cost of upgrading to the higher “levels”.
Other points that are important to consider:-
Location – If your guests reside in Toronto, where do you think would they rather prefer the tower to be located in? Ontario or Rome? Same is the case with the websites. The time to serve a website also depends on how far the hosting server is located. So, if you are expecting to sell your wares online to the Ottawa residents, your site would better off be served from a server located in Canada.
Support – While everyone understands support, it is of utmost importance that you understand, in all which modes do the hosting service provider offers technical support. Is the support available 24 x 7 x 365? Are these timings available for (human) chat/email/phone?
We hope that the above analogy would help you better understand website hosting. But understanding the terms is just half the battle. Next and the tougher task is finding out a hosting service provider that would suit you and your website needs without sounding too cheap.
Don’t worry, we have got help lined up. We are listing below a list of few hosting providers. The three criteria that we have used to qualify a provider to this list are:-
- Their servers are located in Canada.
- They provide 24 x 7 support.
- They provide the pricing in CAD (Canadian Dollars).
We have not checked by knocking on the door of their physical office, which is currently not possible with the level of resources and budget allocated to this list. In this case, we rely on what these websites claim and offer on their website.
They claim to be “Owned and operated in Canada since 2003” and offer hosting servers in following local Canadian locations:-
Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Quebec and Nova Scotia
24/7 WordPress Support
Regular price starts at CA $8.99 and offers starting at CA $3.95 per month
These guys claim to have “100% Canadian datacenters” and ensures PIPEDA compliance. They mention having servers at the “East & West Coasts”.
They claim to provide “Bilingual” (in English and French) 24/7 Support
Their regular price starts at CA $5.99 while offers the same at a discounted price of CA $3.89 per month
They say “All of our data centers are physically located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada” on their Canadian Hosting page. They are in business since 1999.
They do not have 24/7 chat support although they have 24/7 phone and email/ticket support.
Their starter plan retails at CA $3 per month if subscribed for a Triennial plan.
(They offer Plesk based control panel)
Their pitch is that “All of our servers are located within Canadian borders” and claim to fame is that their newest “…are hosted in a 100% green data centre”. They claim to be providing “hosting solutions since 1998”.
Although they don’t have 24 / 7 chat support they claim a turnaround time of 10 minutes on their support tickets
Their starter plan retails at CA $4.99 per month if subscribed for an annual plan.
They claim to be in business since 1998 and have data centres located in Vancouver and Toronto.
These guys claim to have 24 / 7 chat, email and phone support but their chat support option is not easily accessible.
Their starter web hosting plan starts at a regular price of CA $7.95 per month while they offer the same at CA $3.95 per month.