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If you want to attract an audience to your site, the quality of your web host matters a great deal. Let's take page loading speed:
Did you know a 1-second delay in page loading leads to a 11% decrease in views?
1 in 10 ten visitors leave your site if it's still loading after a second ... which summarizes why a decent host is critical! Therefore, this + uptime will be a focus in this review. First:
What is Web Hosting? 🌐
Where should you host your website? It’s possible to use your computer as a network that functions as a dedicated web server.
The main problem is your computer will need to be on constantly. You’ll also need web server software and security would be up to you to monitor and maintain.
The much simpler (and popular) way of doing things is to use companies who’ve already spent millions of pounds to provide you with reliable, fast servers for as little as £1/mo.
In this best web host Canada guide, we will explore pricing & features, speed/uptime, and more.
Best Web Host Canada List 📡
1. Hostinger: Perfect for Beginners
If you want to get up and running, Hostinger gives you the cheapest solution around. Despite this, they have a 99.9% uptime guarantee (there's no fourth ‘9’, but they are still very close to that average … and not so far from ‘5 nines reliability’, a Holy Grail of electric reliability).
- Canada Uptimes: 99.9%
- Basic: £0.99/mo (2 Years)
DOES WELL (Low-Risk) ✅
You get everything you need for a very basic website (including a free website builder), if you choose the lowest possible plan called Single Web Hosting.
They subtitle that option as ideal for beginners, a good description. If you want to experiment with having a website, this will cost you very little.
Yet, you’ll get reliability and many useful features like: a free SSL certificate, hosted email, up to 100 GB bandwidth, 1 MySQL database, an FTP account, and Github integration (see full Hostinger review for more).
NOT SO WELL (Subdomains) ❌
On the flip side, this reliable and extremely affordable web host does not give you backups or a free domain name on the cheapest tier.
There’s also a hard limit on the number of subdomains (different pages on your main site, e.g. Home, About, Contact) allocated, limiting you to only two. What does this mean?
For any half-serious website, two will not be enough so you should expect to go to the next tier up, which is £2.89/mo, named Premium Web Hosting (this does not include daily backups, but you get one every week).
Hostinger has made things easy here, as they provide an illustrated live status page for their servers.
For the last 24 months, they've had nearly perfect uptime, ranging from 99.99% to 100% (most of the time, they are 100% online).
The one exception is the one you can see above, during the month of August 2019, where they experienced a 98.40% uptime average.
This was due to nearly one week of a partial outage of a single server component. Other than this, Hostinger is well above industry standard and well-deserving of third-place for best web hosting Canada.
Even from a US-based datacenter, Canada shows an exceptionally low loadtime.
This is the same when analyzed from a UK-based datacenter. Overall, we have a familiar pattern where North American and European countries receive the best load times.
For Canada, loadtimes are well under half a second. We wonder if this has anything to do with how effectively they limit their lower tiers.
For example, if you are hosting a website with only 2 subdomains, chances are it should load quickly, allowing the company to offer prime solutions for beginners without undermining the whole service, performance-wise..[With their basic cost at the same for a cheeseburger, Hostinger is almost in the same category of best free web host.]
2. SiteGround: Strong Cloud Hosting
Can be expensive esp if you want a short-term plan. But their pricing schemes are now much more coherent with strong speeds & features (full SiteGround review for more).
- Canada Uptimes: 99.99%
- Basic: £5.99/mo (One Year)
DOES WELL (Security & Performance) ✅
You’ll get unlimited bandwidth, unlimited emails, a custom cPanel that makes setting your website up much more intuitive than the traditional cPanel, as well as a robust security team with 24/7 support.
There are also performance features on the StartUp plan such as level 1 caching. And you have the option for a highly-integrated free website builder if you want to get something up very quickly.
NOT SO WELL (Dedicated & VPS) ❌
You won't find two of the fastest hosting options: VPS or dedicated plans, although they do offer cloud hosting, which can compete with the both of them very well (faster than VPS in many cases).
So if you want a speedy hosting setup and cloud hosting is on your mind, this is one to go for.
Final drawback: not well-suited for someone looking for a monthly billing cycle. The StartUp plan comes in at a whopping £16.99/mo.
Let’s talk about two critical aspects before we move on…
Even despite maintenance checks and intrusion attempt blocks, which they certainly employ, SG still manages to hit a 99.99% uptime.
(The last 24 months have shown this as the average, which is far and beyond the industry standard.)
As you should know by now, this high uptime means your visitors will be happier. If you’re selling products, there’ll be no interruptions affecting purchases being made.
As these tracking results are around the year, this means that even during periods of high seasonal demand, SG manages to hold up very strongly.
Have a quick look at this Bitcatcha result for Siteground on its Cloud plan (datacentre based in Chicago).
Because we earlier mentioned that lack of VPS or dedicated plans, two of the speediest you can get, we wanted to show you just how fast the Cloud can be.
If you’re looking for dynamite (for instance, you may have high traffic on your website), around the world you can get sub 0.5-seconds speeds.
Despite the datacentre in this test being based in Chicago, the loadtime was an average of 1ms, which is terrifyingly fast.
In general, the Americas and Europe benefited the most, with Asian countries and Australia showing slower speeds but still impressive (South America also to some extent).
3. HostPapa: Best For Value
HostPapa may be lacking in more advanced areas but provide all essential web hosting features, all at a competitive price - this is the best web hosting Canada has for beginners seeking value.
- Canada Uptimes: 99.99%
- Basic: £1.95/mo ( Years)
DOES WELL (Load!) ✅
The Starter Plan gives you a ton: two domains, telephone support in over 17 countries with an extensive knowledge base, commitment to security, and better-than-average performance ratings.
For instance: the slowest location, Winnipeg servers, average at around 705ms, still a fantastic speed, well under the 1-second minimum we recommend for SEO.
Coming in at second-place is Montreal with 687ms loadtimes average. Vancouver is 682ms and Toronto the fastest at 650ms.
NOT SO WELL (Advanced Ops) ❌
What could be improved is the lack of good dedicated servers, which websites with high traffic may seek out and not find with this provider. Also lacking is a Windows hosting.
The Starter price also jumps up from £1.95/mo to £6.95/mo after your contract term is up, though you can always cancel auto-renewals.
On a good note, they used to only have longer-term contracts for the Starter Plan, but you can now get a monthly cycling contract at £7.99.
Also, the 2-day money back guarantee on the Starter Plan has been extended to a full 90-days (all Shared Hosting plans, and others, though only for first-time customers.) Note: in many cases, these refunds are not full.
Tracking the company live ... their uptime comes in at around 99.95%, on a two-year scale of averages.
HostPapa guarantees a 99.99% uptime, probably as some sub-99.99% figures were not included in their figures (planned maintenance checks/handling outside intrusion attempts). [As confirmed for 2020 by HP’s reps.]
We should not have to say this, but one of the most fundamental responsibilities of a web host is to keep the sites it hosts online. Either way, HostPapa is at least at industry-standard or above. (And we spoke about speeds earlier).
4. Kinsta: Best Web Host Canada For WP
This is the lowest scoring uptime on our list so far. But, unlike Hostinger’s cheaper plans, this host has the power to give you blazing speeds even with a complex website … appearances might not be all they seem in this instance.
- Canada Uptimes: 99.59%
- Basic: £28.50/mo (30 Days)
DOES WELL (Cloud for WP) ✅
If you’re looking to host a WordPress site and you need punching power, Kinsta uses cloud hosting to get you there (see full Kinsta review for more).
If you're unfamiliar with this type, it’s a highly scalable form of web hosting that can be very quickly upscale or downscaled.
Because it is made of a virtual network of computers, it has a lowered chance of intrusions. While your uptime could still suffer, touch wood, it is less likely for you to have a complete outage (see the section regarding Kinsta’s uptime).
They also use Amazon Route 53 premium DNS on every plan, for optimized speeds and stability.
NOT SO WELL (No VPS/Dedicated/Shared & Only the WP CMS ) ❌
Because they're so focused on cloud hosting and WP, no other solution is offered. They are essentially specialists in this sphere.
You’ll also need some free cash in order to afford even the cheapest plan, which begins at $35 (around £28.50)/mo.
While they do offer unlimited free basic migrations from other hosts, which can be very handy in saving time, as well as free round-the-clock security, there are some question marks regarding their uptime.
Let's move on to that section.
If you have a look at October 2019, you will see a month of partial outages (as we mentioned, it's difficult for virtual cloud servers to completely shut down, due to their nature), leading to a month with 95.89% uptime.
This is not so great, considering that they have a 99.9% uptime guarantee. You will also see affected servers in preceding months.
Have a look at the live status page, which they were transparent enough to share. They've had 99.59% uptime/mo for the last year if you average it out. But if you go further back than this, you will see even worse months than the one screenshotted.
Overall, they are on the threshold of industry-standard but not impressively so.
Once again, loadtimes can be deceptive, as you have to factor in what the web host offers in its bulk offerings.
At any rate, Kinsta shows blazing speeds, despite lots of features and capabilities, meaning that most likely any website running on the service will be complex, if not greatly so.
In other words, if you have a lot of data and design, this may be a superior choice than a cheap web host that seems to offer similar speeds.
5. A2Hosting: Low-Risk Speed
Probably the fastest shared hosting provider (they offer the full gamut too, other than cloud) you will come across: 300ms average roughly.
Although the uptime (99.93% average for the last year) could be a little stronger to be considered the best web hosting Canada provider, this is the racecar of shared hosts: for more, see the full A2 Hosting review.
- Canada Uptimes: 99.93%
- Basic: £2.35/mo (3 Years)
WHAT THEY DO WELL (Considerably Low-Risk Speed Option) ✅
We've already mentioned speed and we will go into more depth in the next section. But there is more.
Even once you get past the basics guarantee, you can cancel anytime and get a refund.
This is not a full refund, it’s prorated, taking into consideration whatever period of time you have not yet used on your chosen plan.
To cancel, head to the My Services area in the Services menu and then you'll be asked to fill out a description of why you are canceling.
From what we have seen, you may have to wait one or two days for the refund to go through but it seems to be honored.
AND NOT SO WELL (Restrictions of Cheaper Plans & Renewal Hikes) ❌
Customer service is fantastic, uptime is acceptable, and you’ll get cool features like 25 email accounts and free migrations (singular for the first plan).
But the renewal rates hike quite dramatically after your contract term. This is very common practice, we suggest you cancel your renewal plan immediately so that you do not get trapped into a much higher long-term contract.
There are also significant restrictions on the cheapest plan, most notably the fact that you only get one website without any of the juicy speed options that people flock to A2 for.
This means you won't get the Turbo Servers that are supposed to give you 20 times faster page loads, off-site backups, and server rewinds.
On that note, this may be the fastest solution for those based in Europe or with traffic coming in mostly from Europe.
Same goes for North America and Asia, as there are datacenters in these locations. You may be better off going with that Michigan US datacenter, for best results regarding Canadian traffic
Make sure to choose the Turbo Servers, which offer a boost in loading times.
Buying Guide 💳
You need to have an understanding of the different hosting types.
To help you to make the right choice for your budget and type of website, we’ll show you how web host types differ:
The most popular web hosting type for small websites and endeavors, so it's generally thought of as cheap, entry-level.
For instance, say you’re writing a blog, making a personal website, or for a local business like a cafe. In that case, shared hosting is probably all you need.
This demographic wants their websites to be discoverable on the internet, but don't necessarily expect high amounts of traffic, and so they're not expecting to deal with high volumes and you might prefer simplicity like using a quality free website builder.
Managed WP? 👩💼
Because WP is such a powerful CMS (content management system), Managed WordPress hosting was created and popularized.
It’s a concierge service, where you have support helping you with technical aspects of running WordPress optimally.
This won't include the actual web development of your website, but it will include the back-end stuff regarding daily backups, uptime, scalability, and updates.
These factors contribute to how well your website works as well as the SEO. Even if you are flooded with traffic, this WP management should keep your site from having downtime.
Some of the more advanced tools you will get are staging areas, which help you with updating WordPress without crashing your site. The main drawback is a higher cost than normal shared plans, and you’ll have to be okay with taking a backseat with the hosting management. But that’s why you went for it in the first place right?
VPS & Cloud? ☁️
We’ve batched these two together only because they are both virtual server types.
VPS actually stands for virtual private server (many Minecraft players host servers using this). VPS makes a dedicated virtual server by portioning out part of a server to one user.
Cloud hosting has different computers in different locations speaking to each through the artifice of a server.
The main advantage these two options have over shared is you are not sharing resources in the same way. This leads to faster speeds generally speaking as well as a lower chance of security intrusions and bottlenecks from traffic spikes (best VPS host list).
If you have a big website with a lot of traffic, you may want a whole server to yourself.
This lets you store a lot of information without your website struggling. Perfect for real estate directories, large e-commerce sites, even big media sites similar to Vimeo.
If you have a lot of data, low traffic and you want smoothness, dedicated web hosting may be the ideal solution for you.
How Can You Get a Free Domain and Hosting? 🆓
Have a look at some of the picks on this list, many of them offer you a free domain as part of any plan.
Make sure that you clue yourself up on the fine print as it is at the time of purchase, as some providers require you cancel any of the domain names you purchased along with canceling with them.
Be the Owner
We recommend paying for a domain you own regardless.
If not, you may have to pay for your domain name again once you change your hosting provider, and there is always the chance your domain could be taken before you have the opportunity.
If you can, always keep your hosting provider and domain name separate. Have a look at our list of the best domain registrars (even if a host offers a free domain, you don't have to go through them).
How to Change Your Web Host? 🏹
If you decide your host is not up to scratch or there’s some other reason to change over, this should be straightforward for any of the provider's listed above.
The technicality just comes with having to migrate your storage files, databases, and so on to your new host. You will create a backup of your current site and upload it to your new web host.
We say it’s simple because you can go through the support team (to get the backup and then migrate it), if you have chosen a host that offers free migrations in the latter case. The support team will probably ask for the prerequisite information and handle the actual ins and outs of it.
This involves testing out the migration in a Sandbox URL address, and then altering DNS records on the new host so that everything reads correctly.
What is a Dedicated IP Address and is it Needed? 💽
Starting off: an IP address is simply the unique sequence of digits broken up by dots. This code identifies every device using the internet over a network.
Even the server your website is being hosted on will have an IP address. If it’s a server used for shared hosting, it will have multiple websites with the same IP address, as they’re all using the same server (a device).
Getting a dedicated IP address simply means your domain will be assigned a specific IP address unique from any other domain on that server.
Question is, do you need one? 🙋♀️
You might if you have a type of SSL certificate that needs a dedicated IP address in order to generate a separate layer identifying your website.
Or if you have a ton of traffic and need it streamlined (more speed, less downtime).
Finally, a dedicated IP address can shield you against “negative SEO”. It may be that websites linked to your IP address function as spam sites. In that case, you may be unfortunate enough to be batched in with them, i.e. Google might punish you for being associated with sites doing business in a disreputable way.
Are Web Hosting Reviews Trustworthy? 💼
In our experience, oftentimes web hosting reviewers are more interested in capturing attention than delivering accurate information.
We’ve no problem with experts making a living by giving out good data. But you should take what you read with a grain of salt and use it as a guide point to inform your decision-making process.
Test Yourself 🥽
For instance, it’s a good idea to learn what tools you can use to test the actual speed of your website over time, choosing a provider that offers a money back guarantee.
HostingData tries to help you to streamline your journey to succeeding in this field, but there really is no shortcut to becoming competent and efficient 🏃♀️. Even a company like A2Hosting can be said to be unremarkable in speed if you use the correct combo of plugins with other popular hosts.
In short, the web hosting industry features a lot of marketing. You need to take time to figure out what is actually best web host Canada for your situation.
- Best Web Hosting Canada: Cheapest Offer- The cheapest option in this list is Hostinger, but you have to watch their renewal fees (like most hosts).
- Best Web Hosting Canada: High Traffic - Where they lack is in the range of hosting types, with no VPS or dedicated plans available. In that instance, SiteGround is the next best thing, offering a cloud solution, which can be very fast (as demonstrated).
Best Web Hosting Canada: Value - HostPapa offers the best combination of uptime, speeds, and pricing, in our view 🌟.