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Best web hosting Canada: should you go global or pick a Canadian web host?


Best web hosting Canada

In this article, we’re going to take a look at 6 of the best web hosting options for Canada, as well as what you should be looking at when choosing a provider. Pricing options by individual providers, performance analysis, pros and cons for each provider - you’ll find it all right here.

Canada is the most polite country in the world and the official home of maple syrup. But it is not a huge hosting supplier. So with the demand for website hosting in Canada (and around the globe) continually rising, finding the best web hosting in Canada is not an easy feat.

Fortunately, a lot of global companies can help you out if you or your audience is based in Canada.

I did good research to find these golden nuggets. Unlike many others, I actually went and bought the plans that the suppliers offer and set up websites on each and every one of them. I am not here to sugarcoat the truth about them either - what you’ll see below is what you get.

So let’s get straight to the best web hosting Canada options to help you find the right fit.

Best web hosting Canada: ranked 

  1. Hostinger – best web hosting for Canada overall
  2. Bluehost – great WordPress option for Canada
  3. HostPapa – best Canada-based web hosting
  4. DreamHost – straightforward hosting for WordPress
  5. HostGator – great web hosting for first-timers
  6. Cloudways – very versatile cloud hosting option

If you’re looking for a place to start using web hosting in Canada but don’t really even know how to choose a provider, I have prepared a quick info section to help you out.

1. Hostinger

Hostinger
FeaturesFree SSL, weekly backups, friendly support, fast LiteSpeed webserver
Uptime100%
Speed511ms
Best forBoth personal and business projects at affordable price

Hostinger is definitely the king of cheap hosting, although it has a lot more to offer than just that. A simple and clean control panel, a friendly customer support team, good performance, and a choice of servers from all around the globe. That’s just part of what you get from Hostinger.

  • The customer support team is what really stood out to me when using Hostinger’s services. The agents are very friendly and unique, each showing off their personality while helping you out. And they really are helpful. While that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I really enjoyed that. You can reach them 24/7 via chat or email.
  • Another thing is that Hostinger focuses on performance a lot. So you get a broad server location choice and modern server technology such as LiteSpeed web server with its own caching engine for better speeds.
  • The control panel is also straightforward. It's custom-made by following the best cPanel practices. So you get a nice modern interface and all the essential and nice-to-have functionalities

As for everything else, there’s really nothing much negative anyone can say. The performance is good, the prices are as low as they get. What else can you need?

Hostinger pricing

Hostinger does not provide prices in CAD, which means I’ll have to work with USD for now. The shared hosting plans start at a mere US$1.39/month and go up to US$4.99/month for the most expensive shared hosting plan. 

Hostinger shared hosting prices

All plans have SSL certificates, weekly backups, email accounts, and LiteSpeed Web Server and caching. Security features are also well rounded, covering firewalls, monitoring, and DDoS protection,

  • For US$0.99/month, the Single Shared Hosting plan gives you 30GB of server space, 100GB bandwidth, and 1 email account. Free domain is not included. Great if you are just getting started.
  • The Premium Shared Hosting plan at US$2.59/month gets you a free domain, 100 email accounts, unlimited bandwidth, and 100GB of storage.
  • For US$4.99/month, you can get the Business Shared Hosting plan which includes all of the benefits from the Premium plan, as well as daily backups, 200GB of storage, and more processing power and memory. 

As far as prices and value for money are concerned, there are really not many better choices than Hostinger. Additionally, you can get your money back 30 days after the purchase.

Best Value

The best bang for your buck lays with Premium if you need more than one site. However, Single is the ultimate cheap plan if you’re just getting started – just $66.72 for 4 years worth of hosting.

Check Hostinger Pricing Now

Hostinger performance

With the focus on the latest performance improvements, Hostinger does deliver excellent results. 

Over several months, the uptime stayed at the ideal 100%, while the guarantee is just 99.9%. It’s best to underpromise and overdeliver, right?

Hostinger uptime and response time

The response time had a couple of bumps here and there but averaged at good 511ms. This is better than the industry average.

Other performance metrics were even more impressive, and you can check them on the performance testing section in the full Hostinger review.

But let’s quickly discuss what makes Hostinger good in this department:

  • Server location choice. With servers in the US, UK, Netherlands, Lithuania, Singapore, and Brazil, you can pick the one that’s closest to your audience. This way, the website will load fastest to them.
  • Latest technological improvements including a modern and fast LiteSpeed web server with caching. Other software upgrades such as the latest PHP version are there too.

So in terms of performance, Hostinger has little competition.

All things considered, you get an easy-to-use control panel, great performance numbers, a reasonable amount of features. All for a price that’s lower than pretty much anything else on the market.

2. Bluehost

Bluehost
FeaturesFree domain, SSL, staging, cPanel
Uptime99.99%
Speed361ms
Best forWordPress websites and first-time hosting users

Bluehost is definitely one of the most popular hosting service providers around the globe. And for a good reason – it offers affordable and easy-to-use hosting focused on WordPress. In fact, Bluehost's main focus is user experience, so it keeps adding useful tools to manage and even market your website.

  • To start with, ease of use and functionalities are on the next level. You get an automatic website startup process to install WordPress, set up a domain, and even install a theme if you wish. 
  • There’s also cPanel for regular and more advanced tasks including database management or creating email accounts. So while other features are great for beginners, experts are not left behind.
  • Meanwhile, WordPress websites get a staging area and management panel with performance and global settings for plugins/comments.
  • Additionally, Bluehost has 24/7 customer support, which includes both phone calls and live chat. Response times are usually instant. 

Considering everything that’s on offer with the inclusive plans, Bluehost is rightfully thought of as one of the best choices for beginners. Not only that, but it is also a very good overall hosting option.

Bluehost pricing

Bluehost’s shared hosting plans start at CA$4.93/month and go up to CA$17.41/month with a total of 4 different plans to choose from. 

Bluehost Canada hosting prices

All plans include a free SSL certificate, a free domain name, email accounts, and unmetered bandwidth. 

  • At CA$4.93/month, the Basic plan stays true to its name, only providing the very basics for what you may need when starting out. Hosting for a single website, with a domain included, along with 50 GB of SSD storage is enough to get you started.
  • Plus comes with unlimited websites and storage for CA$7.43/month, making it a good all-rounder option for the majority of users.
  • Choice Plus comes in at CA$8.67/month. It adds domain privacy and protection, as well as site backups for the first year. While features are great, they will only last 1 year, making the price point too high.
  • At CA$17.41, the Pro plan is Bluehost’s ultimate shared hosting plan. It offers everything that the other plans do, plus more allocated server resources and a dedicated IP.

Bluehost is pretty versatile with what it has on offer. At the same time, all plans include all essentials to start a website.

Best Value

In brief, I’d say that both Basic and Plus offer excellent value. If it’s your first website, go with the affordable Basic. Meanwhile, Plus renewal prices are pretty low, and website limits are lifted – it’s a smart long-term hosting option.

Check Bluehost Pricing Now

Bluehost performance

Nothing stands out too much as far as Bluehost’s performance is concerned. The thing to note is that the provider is steady but not speed-oriented.

The average response time of 361ms is definitely solid and improved a lot during the testing period. An uptime of 99.99% is excellent. However, Bluehost does not have an uptime guarantee, which takes a little away from the otherwise good uptime numbers.

Bluehost uptime and response time

The fact that there is no uptime guarantee is probably the biggest dig one could take at Bluehost’s performance. Nearly all hosting providers nowadays offer an uptime guarantee of at least 99.9%. It not being there simply takes away from the overall feeling of safety.

Bluehost does not have a data center in Canada, with the closest one being in Utah, USA. This is close enough to guarantee good speed. At the same time, Bluehost has the easiest possible Cloudflare CDN setup process. It takes just a couple of minutes to have your content cached on servers all across the globe to guarantee good page load times for global audiences.

If you'd like to see how Bluehost scored overall, check out the full review for performance testing.

All in all, Bluehost is simply a good all-around option that is very popular among beginners. With affordable pricing, decent performance, and an intuitive dashboard, there is no wonder why.

3. HostPapa

HostPapa
FeaturesFree SSL, domain, training session, cPanel
Uptime100%
Speed1.19s
Best forLocal business websites

You can’t talk about web hosting in Canada and leave HostPapa out of the conversation. It’s our only 100% Canada-based option here. The provider is popular amongst businesses due to the many resources and loads of features that it offers with its plans. 

  • To start the list of HostPapa perks, the many resources would be ideal. Even with the entry plan, the provider gives more than others – 100GB storage for 2 websites is often more than enough to last a lifetime. Not to mention a free domain for a year and SSL – there are no other expenses.
  • Ease of use is also on the list – HostPapa uses the standard cPanel, which is as straightforward and intuitive as they get.
  • And to finish off, there’s a free one-on-one training session that you can book. Whether it’s a WordPress installation or on-page optimizations, you can ask the agents to help you out during this personalized session.

Overall, being one of the first and best Canadian web hosting companies, HostPapa looks like an excellent option. Especially for small businesses that need everything in one place.

HostPapa pricing

HostPapa has 3 different shared hosting plans to choose from that start at CA$3.95/month and range up to CA$12.95/month. 

HostPapa Canada hosting prices

All plans offer a free SSL certificate, unmetered bandwidth, a free domain, and even free one-on-one training, all included in the price.

  • The Starter plan at CA$3.95/month offers to host two websites, unlike a single website most other providers offer with their cheapest plans. It also gets you 100GB of SSD storage, which is more than enough for 2 websites.
  • The Business plan is also priced at CA$3.95/month and offers hosting for unlimited websites and unlimited storage. It also offers the Advanced Features package. It includes unlimited email accounts, unlimited MYSQL databases, and more server resources. 
  • At CA$12.95/month, the Business Pro plan is a bit of a jump up in price, although it does offer plenty of extra features. It places you on faster servers with more resources for each user. Automated backups, a Premium Wildcard SSL, and domain privacy are added, too.

Keep in mind that even though the two cheapest plans are both priced the same now, their renewal prices are definitely going to be quite different.

Best Value

My personal favorite is Starter. For small businesses and personal users, it will last a lifetime; there's no need to upgrade, thanks to the abundance of resources and the possibility to host 2 websites.

Check HostPapa Pricing Now

HostPapa performance 

The performance numbers for HostPapa definitely leave a bit to be desired. It’s very reliable, yet speed is not among the strengths. 

While the 100% uptime backed by a 99.9% uptime guarantee is definitely excellent, the average response time of 1.19 seconds is pretty awful. There’s just no other way to phrase it.

HostPapa's uptime and response time monitoring

These are just not the type of numbers that you want to see, and search engines don’t want to see them either. That’s mostly why HostPapa is a better choice for people that do not seek to get traffic from search engines.

Fortunately, other performance metrics during the tests were good. You can check them out in the full HostPapa review.

On the more positive side, the provider does have data centers in Canada, though, which is great if you’re targeting a Canadian visitor base.

HostPapa is simply great for some people, while it’s not very good for others. You should weigh your options carefully, and you might be getting a great deal for an affordable package with loads of features. Just make sure everything meets your needs.

4. DreamHost

DreamHost
FeaturesFree domain, SSL, website builder, domain privacy, automatic backups
Uptime>99.99%
Speed231ms
Best forBoth personal and business websites on WordPress

If WordPress hosting is what you’re looking for, DreamHost is one of the providers that can’t be left out of consideration. It offers reasonable performance numbers, very affordable pricing options, and a level of WordPress-focused tools that very few others can brag about.

  • DreamHost’s plans are also stacked with security features so you can feel safe every step of the way. Automatic backups, firewalls, SSL, and DDoS protection are all there.
  • It also has a WordPress website builder that is free with all of its plans. The key difference from other website builders here is the fact that it’s based on WordPress as a plugin. This means you get the ease of use of a visual editor and the power of WordPress. 
  • The dashboard also adds to the ease of use. Every tool has a description, so you can easily set everything, from domains to emails, yourself. 

Unfortunately, DreamHost does not offer 24/7 live chat support, which can be annoying for those of us that like to work on our websites in the middle of the night. Email support is 24/7, but it’s not as quick as dropping a line via live chat. 

All things considered, DreamHost is one of the best options for web hosting in Canada for WordPress websites. Even though it does support other CMS’s, the level of WordPress optimization is such that you may as well drop any thoughts of using anything else.

DreamHost pricing

There are 2 shared hosting plans to choose from at DreamHost, Starter, and Unlimited, priced at US$2.59/month and US$3.95/month, respectively. 

DreamHost shared hosting pricing and plans

Both plans include unmetered bandwidth, an SSL certificate, a WordPress website builder, and a free domain. Such things as daily backups, domain privacy, and caching are also a part of both plans, which adds up to quite a lot of security features considering the price.

  • For US$2.59/month, the Starter plan gets you hosting for a single website with 50GB of SSD storage, which is more than enough for a single website. At the same time, email accounts are not included and cost $1.67 each.
  • The Unlimited plan at US$3.95/month does include emails along with hosting for unlimited websites and unlimited storage.

You also get DreamHost’s 97-day money-back guarantee, which is known to be one of the longest guarantees among hosting providers. So you get more than enough time to make sure you like what you’re getting.

Best Value

Both of the plans are stacked with security features and are very affordable. However, I’d go for Unlimited just because of email accounts. It’s not much more expensive but will make sure that you have no other hosting-related expenses.

Check DreamHost Pricing Now

DreamHost performance

DreamHost has speedy performance numbers and an unprecedented 100% uptime guarantee that it almost lives up to. 

During the monitoring period, the uptime was >99.99% with just a single outage that lasted 1 minute. I won’t bash the provider for this – this is not even eligible for compensation.

DreamHost uptime and response time

Meanwhile, response time numbers were very good as well. It averaged at 231ms. As speedy as it gets honestly.

And it shows in other results too. You can check the full performance testing in DreamHost review.

One thing to note is that DreamHost servers are in the US. So it’s great for audiences located in the US and Canada.

To conclude, DreamHost is definitely one of the best hosting solutions for WordPress hosting in Canada. It has excellent performance numbers, plenty of free security features, and a WordPress website builder, all at a very affordable price point.

5. HostGator

HostGator
FeaturesFree domain, SSL, cPanel, unlimited storage and bandwidth
Uptime>99.99%
Speed525ms
Best forBeginner users and small business sites

Another one for the beginner users out there, HostGator offers a user-friendly and affordable hosting option. The packages are okay without being spectacular. HostGator’s whole design is tailor-made for everyone starting out in the world of hosting. This definitely makes it an option worth considering.

  • Plans are affordable but they do include all the essentials. That is a free domain, SSL, and email accounts. For some, that's too minimalistic. Yet, nothing more is needed when you're starting out.
  • At the same time, you get a good user interface and cPanel integration. That’s a straightforward and easy way of managing your websites.
  • HostGator also has a great 24/7 customer support service. The agents are quick to respond and very knowledgeable, giving beginners yet another reason to go with this provider.

While I am able to see why HostGator can be less desirable for more experienced users, the fact that it’s so user-oriented kind of pays back for any flaws it has. It is a decent hosting provider that is more than worth looking into.

HostGator pricing

HostGator offers three different shared hosting plans that start at US$2.75/month and go up to US$5.25/month. 

HostGator shared hosting pricing

All of the plans include a free SSL certificate, a free domain, and free website transfer as long as your website was previously on WordPress and/or cPanel.

  • The Hatchling plan offers hosting for a single domain with unmetered bandwidth and unlimited storage for US$2.75/month. It really does not include any other features worth mentioning and is basically a bare-bones plan that is enough to get you started.
  • At US$3.50/month, the Baby plan is not that much different from the Hatchling plan. The one key difference is that it includes hosting for unlimited domains.
  • The Business plan costs US$5.25/month and gets you everything that the previous plans do, plus a dedicated IP, an upgrade to Positive SSL, and an SEO Tools package to your website.

Overall, these are great basic plans to start a blog or even a small business website on. 

Best Value

I’d personally go with Baby as it lifts the hosted websites limits for just $0.75 USD extra. Meanwhile, if you have use for dedicated IP, Positive SSL, and SEO Tools – grab the Business plan.

Check HostGator Pricing Now

HostGator performance

HostGator's performance is both excellent and average, depending on what you’re focusing on. Reliability is great, while speeds are on the average side of things.

Talking of uptime, HostGator scored >99.99% result with just 3 outages that lasted 5 minutes.

HostGator uptime and response time

The response time averaged at 525ms, which is better than what the industry offers usually, but not by much. It had a couple of bumps too.

Other metrics were good, yet nothing unusual. You can check them out in the full HostGator review.

And, just like with many others, HostGator’s servers are in the US, catering for the whole North American market, Canada very much included.

At the end of the day, the target audience for HostGator is beginner users, and it definitely hits the bullseye of that target. It is very easy to use, has a great customer support team, and the plans are sufficient without being too much to handle.

6. Cloudways

Cloudways
FeaturesManaged Cloud VPS, multiple server locations, streamlined control panel
Uptime99.98%
Speed229ms
Best forBusiness websites and large projects

Cloudways is quite a lot different from what you would usually consider as a hosting provider. It does not have its own servers. Instead, it offers Cloud VPS hosting from a whole bunch of top VPS companies, including the likes of Google Cloud and AWS. The prices and performance differ according to the server.

By now you might be wondering, why wouldn’t you get a plan straight from the place that has the servers you need. Well, Cloudways has implemented an intuitive control panel and its own unique features into the plans. If you were to go straight to the server provider, you’d just get a bare unmanaged server. Which is not user-friendly at all.

That’s the essential difference between Cloudways and hosting providers is that it offers managed hosting with the ability to freely upgrade or downgrade your plans and move to a different server if such a need occurs.

Cloudways pricing

Cloudways offers plans from 5 different server providers, with each provider having four plans to choose from. That’s a total of a whopping 20+ plans, starting at US$10/mo. However, there are some common features on offer by Cloudways that tie all of these plans together.

Cloudways pricing

All plans purchased on Cloudways include a free SSL certificate, free website migration, automated backups, unlimited app installation, advanced caching, and a whole bunch of security features.

Digital Ocean

DO plans start at US$10/month on Cloudways for the cheapest plan. That's 1GB RAM, 1 CPU, 25GB SSD, and 1TB bandwidth.

Moreover, there are DO servers in Toronto, Canada, which is great for Canadian web hosting.

Linode

Prices for hosting on Linode servers start at US$12/month. That's 1GB RAM, 1 CPU, 25GB SSD, and 1TB bandwidth.

Linode also has servers located in Toronto, which is just what you should be looking for.

Vultr

Vultr is priced at US$11/month for the entry plan. That's 1GB RAM, 1 CPU, 25GB SSD, and 1TB bandwidth.

It also has servers in Toronto, Canada, matching its competition when it comes to web hosting in Canada.

AWS

The prices are a bit higher for AWS, with its plans being priced at US$36.51/month. That's 2GB RAM, 2 CPUs, 20GB SSD, and 2GB bandwidth.

It also does not have a server in Toronto but has servers in Montreal instead, which is great if you’re targeting people living in the city named by Mark Twain as The City of a Hundred Steeples.

Google Cloud

The plans start at US$33.30/month for Google Cloud's 2GB RAM, 2 CPUs, 20GB SSD, and 2GB bandwidth.

Google Cloud is the only one of the service providers that do not have a server location in Canada, with its closest servers being in Oregon, USA.

Best Value

With that much to choose from, you should not have any issues choosing the perfect plan for yourself. And don’t get turned away by the higher prices, as cloud hosting is always more expensive, yet more powerful than shared hosting.

Check Cloudways Pricing Now

Cloudways performance

Cloudways' performance depends a lot on the provider you choose. But this is cloud VPS, so you can expect great results with all of them.

Here, we have DigitalOcean’s cheapest plan, which scored excellent 99.98% uptime over several months. It had 2 big outages, but this seems like a very unusual occurrence.

Cloudways uptime and response time monitoring results

Speed was both stable and fast. Cloudways average response time settled on 229ms. The best result on this list, to be honest. 

No surprise, other performance tests were nailed as well. Feel free to check them out in the full Cloudways review. 

And the best thing about Cloudways is that it has dozens of server locations across the globe, Canada included. You can host your website wherever in the world (only Antarctica is off-limits). 

For scaling and mission-critical projects, Cloudways is definitely the best choice. And it’s great if you don’t have too much technical experience, as the service is managed and pretty easy to use. 

Best web hosting Canada: final recommendations

As you can tell, there’s plenty for you to choose from when it comes to web hosting in Canada. Each provider is very different and offers a unique package to the customer, which only means you should be able to find something that suits your needs to perfection.

Here’s a quick recap before you start making any final decisions:

  • Hostinger is very cheap and has great performance as well as a friendly customer support team.
  • Bluehost is a great all-around option with an intuitive interface and good WordPress features.
  • HostPapa is a Canadian hosting provider with plenty of server resources for local businesses.
  • DreamHost is heavily optimized towards WordPress and has a WordPress website builder.
  • HostGator is extremely beginner-friendly and includes all essentials to start a website.
  • Cloudways is a Cloud VPS platform with multiple Toronto hosting and global servers.

Choosing the best provider for your site 

There are several things you should pay attention to when choosing a hosting provider. Pricing and performance are definitely the king and queen of this business, although you really shouldn’t forget such things as customer support, ease of use, upsells, and more.

Pricing

The pricing is pretty much as straightforward as it gets. You want to get the most for the least money possible. However, make sure to check what you get for your money. A CA$6/month plan packed with useful features might be a better choice than a CA$3 plan that barely offers anything at all. And let’s not forget all the different options, including shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated servers. 

For getting started:

You will find that the majority of shared hosting options are rather affordable with most providers. This is just what the market dictates, and paying more than CA$10/month for a shared hosting plan seems outrageous nowadays.

For first-time users, entry or mid-grade plans for CA$2-5/mo are absolutely perfect.

Hostinger is an ideal example.

Upgrading:

If you grow out of the shared hosting boots and need a VPS or a dedicated host – most providers do have that on offer. These will give you a lot more resources and upgraded performance. However, it all comes at a price. These plans can be as expensive as CA$500+/month.

At the same time, quality VPS for upgrading from shared usually starts at CA$15/month and can be scaled as needed.

Cloudways is a good example.

At the end of the day, just try to make sure that you get the best value for money and that the possibility to scale is there if you ever need it.

Performance

As far as performance is concerned, there are two extremely important numbers you should keep your eye on - uptime and average response time. You want your uptime to be as close to 100% as possible. An average response time up to 600ms is ideal, and anything above 1 second is really bad.

  • Uptime measures how much time (in %) a provider keeps your website live. You might have guessed, 100% is what we all should strive for. However, electricity and servers overall are a bit unpredictable, so most providers have a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This is fine. But if you manage to find a provider that offers more – consider yourself lucky.
  • Response time is the initial server delay until it reacts to any request (to open a page, for example). So while this delay happens, your site is not yet loading. 600ms is the maximum that’s recommended.

These are the performance essentials you need to know when looking at all of the providers on the list. Keeping them in mind should help you with weighing in on your options.

Other features

It is easy to get carried away by pricing and performance and forget everything else. However, there are other features you definitely should think about when choosing a hosting provider. Customer support, upsells, and ease of use are probably the most notable.

Customer support

Make sure that the provider you’re looking at has at least a decent customer support team. A 24/7 live chat and phone call support has pretty much become the norm nowadays. Although not a dealbreaker, not having that type of customer support is quite a big con. A vast knowledge base is always nice to have as well.

If you are a beginner in this crazy world of website hosting, make sure that you pay extra attention to your provider having a good customer support team. Trust me, you will have questions, and you will have issues. Might as well choose a provider that will help you solve them.

For example, HostPapa even has a one-on-one training session that you can book for free.

Pricing tricks

The website hosting business is notorious for upsell attempts. Some are tolerable, some are terrible, and some are straight-up annoying. Knowing about them is essential if you don’t want your pockets emptied without even knowing about it.

Let’s just quickly run through what you see most often:

  • If you choose a shorter billing period, you will get a higher price a month;
  • Plan renewal prices are usually higher than the initial prices a month;
  • Some essential features may not be included in the plans and are only offered as paid extras;
  • Items may be added to your checkout cart without prior notice.

Upsell attempts aren’t something you can avoid. It is pretty annoying at the start but just becomes a part of the deal after a while.

Ease of use

You are going to be using the provider’s dashboard and control panel a lot, so it only makes sense to choose one that’s easier to use. Many providers offer a custom dashboard, cPanel integration, or both of these things nowadays, which helps a lot.

The cPanel is something that many people are used to, which is why they refuse to take custom control panels seriously. However, while cPanel is great, a custom control panel can definitely be as effective and even easier to use, all without any extra costs.

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