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).

17 Replies to “Canadian Web Hosting Options”

  1. The only reason I would go to a hosting service is if I required the bandwidth.

    My question to the ISP providers is why allow networking games and filesharing and not hosting services? I imaging more bandwidth is used by filesharing than anything else.

    Hmmm… $15 bucks a month when you could be doing it for free.

  2. If you had to spend more than a few dollars a month on this site, I’d shut it down — or wait until your ISP shuts you down. It’s not worth $10-$15 a month. I doubt your ISP is going to shut you down anyway. With such a low-traffic site, who cares? I’ve used up more bandwidth in torrent downloads in the past week than you probably have all month. You have a monthly bandwidth limit like me, and as long as you fly under that radar, you’re probably okay. Perhaps the best thing to do is delete this post and claim ignorance if they ever come knocking.

  3. Yeah, i wouldn’t worry about it. There are plenty of people that have been hosting sites for YEARS from their home PCs, and it’s always against the TOS. They would much rather catch you stealing from the RIAA/MPAA gods, they don’t give a rats ass about the 20 megs/month of bandwidth your site costs them.

  4. Fully agreed ChrisO. I think it’s more of a legal thing in case someone gets caught posting illegal shit, then the ISP doesn’t have to get involved.

  5. When did not having integrity become something so openly flaunted? I mean I know almost no one has any but when did everyone start to become so proud about it? Y’all think you get to have opinions about dishonest politicians and such when you can’t even live up to the most minor agreements you make in life. What are you if your word is worthless?

    I get a pretty hefty commission if Jody signs up with my DreamHost link (I use them for 30+ sites, tons of DBs, mirroring, redirects, email, quicktime server, cronjobs, shell accounts, custom software for that $15/month and they offer basically the same for $9/month).

    So, if Jody signs up with them through my link, I’ll turn over the whole commission to him which would make the first year (on the basic plan) 90% free.

  6. Ashley, you’re joking about this, right?

    “When did not having integrity become something so openly flaunted? I mean I know almost no one has any but when did everyone start to become so proud about it? Y’all think you get to have opinions about dishonest politicians and such when you can’t even live up to the most minor agreements you make in life. What are you if your word is worthless?”

    Not living up to the fine print in an end user agreement doesn’t disqualify one’s opinion about dishonest politicians. The supposed dishonesty of running a harmless server when technically you’re not supposed to, and the dishonesty of a politician who, say, lies about weapons of mass destruction so he can bomb the shit out of an entire country and kills thousand of people, are two very different things.

  7. Agreed Phillip. Fine print does not count.

    On a support call with one of my ISP providers, I even told them that I was running web services. I also told them how every now and then I was jumping on my neighbours wireless connection.

    They really don’t care.

  8. I don’t pay attention to bullshit agreements. If they shut you down, just go to aliant. Normally they’d give you a warning first anyhow. Based on these web hosting sites that can somehow offer 1TB monthly transfers and lots of other stuff for $7, rogers probably has to pay $0.10 for the 20gb of bandwidth you use. Wah wah the mighty rogers may go out of business and it’s YOUR fault, jerkface!! Only you would feel bad for a corporation that makes millions (billions?) off the backs of its customers.

    I’d go with any site that had a sleeping fat kid as their banner.

    Dreamhost is 9.95 USD, or 9.95 no setup fee if you prepay for a year, or 7.95 if you prepay for 2 years. Though with the thing ashley’s talking about, it may be the best value, I dunno.
    Netfirms is 6.95 CDA forever, no setup fee.
    Yahoo is 11.95 USD + $25 USD startup fee. I wouldn’t even consider yahoo at THOSE prices *turns up his nose*.

  9. I just sent the following email:


    I was looking forward to purchasing your Netfirms Advantage Hosting service ), but when I got to your final Checkout page (screen capture attached) I noticed your Verisign and GeoTrust images are just that – images; they should be links to verify your organization’s “secure” server IDs against both Verisign and GeoTrust. This is misleading and possibly fraudulent.

    Please let me know when this is fixed and I’ll be glad to consider your products again.


    Jody Cairns

    Their parent company,, does verify the GeoTrust certification, but not the Verisign one. I was seriously considering them, but no longer.

  10. I considered getting web hosting before I knew about the User Agreement. Given the time and energy Phillip and I put into its content, I feel obligated to our 3 loyal readers (that includes Phillip and me) to keep the site up, despite its irregular updates. Plus, I have a lot of grandiose (i.e. silly) ideas I want to try, and I don’t want to worry about downtime.

    The hosting I’m considering costs less than $15 a month, which is diddly-squat. I think it’ll be worth it for what I consider a hobby.

  11. I’m wondering how could you avoid going with 1and1. They are the largest hosting firm, IIRC. And they offer SSH, CRON, 100 external domains, and 100GB of backed up storage and 1TB data transfer/month (!!!). That’s all for 10bucks a month. I mean it’s cheaper than if you buy a hard drive. Yeah I know they are american, they have not such a good customer support. But 100GB of backed up storage is very tempting…
    And they give me bonus if you follow my link.

  12. I’ve had great luck with (local Vancouver company, too!). My current employers recommends Dreamhost to our customers, and we’ve always heard great feedback about them as well.

    I do *not* recommend the hosting provider my sites are currently with… but I’ll leave the name of the company out, since they’re my former employers and I’d rather not get sued. If you need to know… figure it out. ;)

  13. I went with DreamHost.

    I’m slowly setting up SWT on it now with a new look and some new dumb features! You’ll know I’m using their server when the look has changed and nothing works.

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