MDLog:/sysadmin

The Journal Of A Linux Sysadmin

Canadian Web Hosting Review

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This post is sponsored by Canadian Web Hosting - Hosting in Canada. VPS and dedicated servers. 24/7 Toll free support. I’ve been asked to review and give hosting advice many times. Still, this is the first time I will publish something like this on my blog, as opposed to do it for a client and help him choose the best datacenter for his business.

Pricing: 4 / 5 Features: 3 / 5 Reliability: 2 / 5 Customer support: 4 / 5 Web Site: 3 / 5 Overall: 3,2 / 5

Canadian Web Hosting is a Canadian owned and operated web hosting business that has been online since 1998. They provide low cost web hosting solutions without compromising quality. Their servers are located at Harbour Center in downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada.

This review will focus on pricing, features, reliability, customer support and web site.

Pricing 4/5

Prices range from 3,95CAD to 399CAD/mo, from the smallest shared hosting account to the most expensive dedicated server. All the pricing on the site are in Canadian Dollars. All the services (except the dedicated servers) offer discounts if you pay in advance for a period up to 2 years.

Free setup: they don’t charge any setup fees on any hosting accounts. Also they offer a 30 days money back guarantee.

Payment methods: they accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Paypal, Checks, and Money Orders (note: on all the sign-up forms I have seen only credit card payment, so for other methods you probably have to call/email them).

Features 3/5

Canadian Web Hosting offers all the types of hosting accounts you would expect from a web hosting company: shared hosting, vps, dedicated servers and reseller packages. The shared hosting accounts are powered by CPanel w/Fantastico. The features you can get on shared accounts should be more than enough for someone hosting their own domain, and a few applications.

Also they have an interesting ”Free Website Transfer” feature, that non-technical peoples moving their domains from other providers might find very useful (though check out the details - as you need to run the same versions of CPanel, php, mysql, etc.).

The shared accounts run on the latest versions of cpanel, with php5, and mysql5.2+!! (this is probably a typo as they meant mysql5+).

On the dedicated servers you can choose the OS from CentOS or Red Hat (but this doesn’t make too much sense to me, as if they include a free rhel license then the use of centos doesn’t make sense). The choice of servers is very little - 3 - and shows clearly that this is not their main business. I would not buy such a server as personally I would like to have the choice to use different cpus, add more RAM, drives, raid options, etc. Also, there is no server collocation option.

Reliability 2/5

Here I would really suggest to Canadian Web Hosting to show public its network status as a live demonstration of its reliability. All serious datacenters will show a public network status, sometimes also with bandwidth graphs, and notify their clients for any problems. Also I have not seen any specific details about their datacenter, their network connectivity and upstream providers. There is no speed test, or any other mean to track their datacenter network performance. I could not find any information like that not on the site, blog of forum. Obviously this doesn’t mean that their services are not reliable, and maybe such facilities take time to develop and they were focused on some other things, but I would really suggest them to do something in this direction and improve the transparency for their network functionality.

For ex. something like this might look good ;-)

Customer support 4/5

They offer on the site a FAQ, tutorials (mostly control panel related) and ticketing system (where you can also browse the knowledgebase). These all seem useful, but I obviously had to test out the 24/7 Toll Free tech support. I called in 2 times Saturday and Sunday and the call was answered immediately. The support person was very friendly and professional. This is great compared with companies were you have to stay on hold for 10-15 minutes.

They could add a live chat support feature on the site that could enhance even more their support options.

Web Site 3/5

The main website is quite clean and easy to find out all the needed information. They also have a blog that contains some news about the company (even though this might be more frequently updated) and a forum for the users to post questions (the answers on some posts were quite slow given the small number of posts, this doesn’t look so good).

Conclusion

Canadian Web Hosting might be an interesting hosting solution for anyone who wants to host their site in a Canadian datacenter. For small sites, running on shared hosting accounts this might be very interesting. For their dedicated servers, in the current offering I would not recommend such a service as it is very limited in the hardware choices and you should be much better with a big US datacenter that is specialized in unmanaged dedicated servers (you will have much wider range of servers to choose and normally at better prices). Hopefully they will improve this in the future…

Note: this review was done using my experience to gather the information about a datacenter, but without having a real experience with a service or dedicated server from Canadian Web Hosting. I might be wrong in some places as things are not always as they look, and without a real experience with the datacenter I might be mistaking on some statements. If someone with real experience with Canadian Web Hosting disagrees (or just agrees) with my conclusions, please feel free to use the comment form bellow to let me know. Thanks.

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