Canadian Web Hosting Options

Ashley (it’s a boy’s name) reminded me recently that I’m probably breaking my ISP’s End User Agreement by having Steel White Table hosted on my home computer, and he’s right:

Your use of the Services must comply with this Agreement, all applicable laws and all Rogers and Yahoo! policies. Without limitation, you may not use the Services (including the Equipment) to directly or indirectly:
k. operate a server in connection with the Services including but not limited to mail, news, file, gopher, telnet, chat, web, or host configuration servers, multimedia streamers, or multi-user interactive forums;

And from their Acceptable Use Policy (PDF):

You may not run a server in connection with the Services. You may not provide network services to others via the Services. In addition, you are prohibited from running servers for mail, http, ftp, irc, and dhcp, and multi-user interactive forums.

I’ve felt guilty ever since learning that, so I’ve been researching web hosting options.

My web hosting requirements:

  • PHP 4+
  • MySQL
  • Apache .htaccess or .conf access (for URL rewriting)
  • 20 GB monthly bandwidth
  • 5 GB disk space (probably a lot more, considering the MP3s and videos I have)
  • Unix script and shell access would be nice
  • Cheap price: $15 per month maximum. SWT is a hobby; I make no money from it. If I can make money from it, I may upgrade the hosting plan.

There are ~921,000,000 web hosting hits at Google. I’d prefer a Canadian web hosting (47,900,000 hits) company, but how does one pick a reliable one? A lot of web hosting review sites are sponsored or written by the hosting companies themselves; and can you trust sites that claim to be independent? I’ve asked some fellow bloggers their recommendations, which I’ll consider over any research I find.

So, based on a LOT of internet research and recommendations, here are the companies I’m considering so far:

  • DreamHost (American). There were recommended to me AND they have favorable reviews. I’m leaning towards this one more than others.
  • Netfirms (Canadian, I think). Their prices are good and I haven’t read a lot of complaints about them.
  • Yahoo Small Business (American). A big company with good prices.

Any other recommendations? In particular, Canadian ones?

Update: Netfirms has been taken off the list due to some sneaky business. See my comment below about it. Also, Darren posted about my search. He gets a LOT more traffic than me; I’m hoping his readers can contribute some suggestions. Thanks Darren!

Another update: I choose DreamHost. Incidentally, Netfirms never replied to my email (see above).