Full Review: Is dotCanada Hosting Right for Your Small Business?

If you're interested in buying hosting from a Canadian company, dotCanada are one of the best small business options.

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Brenda Barron
Brenda is a freelance writer, business owner, and WordPress enthusiast. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

Last Updated on September 21, 2018

When it comes to selecting shared or cloud hosting, there are so many options to choose from. For small business owners, the process can be frustrating.

A great way to narrow down your choice is by looking first at web hosting companies that strictly offer small business website hosting. dotCanada is one of these providers.

With shared and enterprise cloud hosting plans available, dotCanada has simplified the process of finding a hosting plan that’s right for your business. Prices are a little higher than average, but we’ll discuss why they’re able to justify that–and why that makes this web hosting the right choice for you.

What Exactly Does dotCanada Do?

Founded in 2003 and 100% North American-based, dotCanada is first and foremost a web hosting company. You won’t find web design services, hosted email add-ons, or managed services here. DotCanada keeps it simple: you can purchase web hosting from them, and you can also secure your domain. That’s it.

dotcanada homepage

 

Now, there isn’t much information provided regarding dotCanada’s server infrastructure aside from the fact that it owns and operates all four cloud server locations that power its network. Each data center resides within North America with locations currently in Buffalo, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Toronto.

It’s also worth mentioning that because its network is 100% in the cloud, this gives dotCanada the ability to offer a 100% uptime guarantee to customers.

Choosing Your Web Hosting Services

When it comes to choosing hosting services for your website, the sheer number of options available can be daunting.

Rest assured, however, that most shared hosting plans come with everything you need to get up and running — hosting companies typically assume that those opting for these packages are less likely to want to handcraft and customize their web hosting too much.

However, can we do better than just choosing something that works? Yes. Here are some things you might want to consider:

  • Bandwidth: This is a measurement of how much data can be requested of your server, but at a higher level, this tells you how many people can visit your site (after all, each visit requires one or more calls to your server for files)
  • Storage: Do you have the space you need to store your text, images, videos, and so on? Additionally, do you get SSD storage, or are you using a traditional hard drive?
  • RAM: How much RAM you get in turn determines how quickly your website will load. Shared hosting plans are not the fastest option available, but some are still faster than others
  • Domain names: Some hosts bundle a free, custom domain name with the purchase of a hosting package

Web Hosting Costs: Should I Use Free Web Hosting?

You might come across free web hosting options, but remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The specifics may vary depending on the host, but free hosting might result in the host putting prominent ads on your space, limiting your use of resources and so on.

Small Businesses Should Avoid Free Web Hosting

As a small business, we strongly recommend a paid hosting plan so that you avoid such issues — you do not have to spring for the most expensive options, but there are undoubtedly cheap web hosting plans that do not require the display of ads that are not yours or limit your resource use too much.

With that said, paying more might get you better plans and better services. It all depends on the web host you are working with.

dotCanada’s Prices

While DotCanada’s prices are reasonable, they are higher than some web hosts out there. There are even other hosts that promise unlimited resources at a lower cost.

The Trap of “Unlimited Resources”

In many cases, web hosts offer “unlimited resources” that are not truly unlimited. Many websites use very little, so web hosts have little to lose by offering this. However, if you think you can grow your website solely by using “unlimited resources” think again. There are occasions where websites have exceeded what a web host thinks is reasonable and the site’s owner ends up in trouble with the web host.

dotCanada has a Better Approach

DotCanada takes a different approach — you pay a fixed sum for your plan, and you know exactly how much of a given resource you get. There are no surprises.

Shared Hosting from dotCanada

On the website, shared hosting is referred to as “web hosting.” For clarity’s sake, we’ll refer to it as shared hosting here.

Like other web hosting companies, dotCanada offers shared hosting plans based on the amount of bandwidth and storage, as well as features, you need. However, one of the cool things about dotCanada is that there are clear limits set on the resources you are allowed to use, so you won’t have to worry about anyone hogging bandwidth and compromising your website’s performance in the process.

This is part of the reason why a 100% uptime guarantee is possible (that and because its shared hosting is on cloud servers).

Shared Hosting Plans on dotCanada

There are currently a few different plans laid out on the dotCanada website. If you look closely at the tiny print beneath the plan breakdowns, though, you’ll find that there is one additional plan available for customers who don’t need that much in the way of resources or number of websites.

So keep your eyes peeled if you’re interested in dotCanada, but aren’t sure if the highlighted plans are right for you.

See all dotCanada features

In general, here is what you’ll get with dotCanada’s shared hosting plans:

  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • Free domain (for at least one year)
  • Enterprise SSD storage
  • One-click-install apps
  • cPanel
  • Free site builder
  • Unlimited email
  • Spam protection
  • 24/7 monitoring
  • CloudFlare Supercharger
  • Unlimited sub-domains, parked domains, FTP accounts, MySQL databases.

Premium plans also offer a CloudFlare Supercacher tool, backups, SSL certificates, and priority support.

dotcanada cloud hosting features
The dotCanada website lists a number of attractive features of their cloud hosting, including the use of SSDs – solid-state drives, which are faster than hard disk drives.

Reseller Hosting from dotCanada

Reseller hosting allows you to sell shared hosting plans without having your own datacenter or servers. In addition to having all the features that come with dotCanada’s shared hosting plans, you’ll also get:

  • White labeling
  • Hosting WHMCS billing system and management
  • Free domain reseller account
  • Free account migration service
  • SSL certificate

Cloud Enterprise Hosting from dotCanada

For customers who want more security, reliability, and control over their websites, but can’t afford the high costs of VPS or dedicated hosting, the cloud enterprise hosting options from dotCanada is a nice alternative.

Here is are the top 10 features you’ll get with dotCanada’s cloud enterprise hosting:

  1. Customize your hosting by choosing the server location and resources
  2. Choice of operating system (e.g., CentOS, Windows, Ubuntu)
  3. Full root access
  4. 100% SSD storage for high server performance
  5. Intel Xeon Core Processors for fast, consistent performance
  6. Server firewall
  7. Auto-schedule snapshots to capture regular backups of your site
  8. Private networking
  9. Four different data centers
  10. Fast set up

See all dotCanada plans

No Dedicated Servers

DotCanada does not sell dedicated servers. Instead, they offer cloud hosting, which the company claims to “perform like a dedicated server but for a fraction of the price.”

Depending on your needs, this may be true. If not, you will need to look elsewhere for a dedicated server.

If you are just launching your website, you likely do not need a dedicated server.

Email Hosting

DotCanada offers e-mail hosting, which means that you would no longer have to manage your company’s email accounts. Email accounts are billed per mailbox on a monthly basis and include:

  • 24/7 premium support
  • A 100% uptime guarantee
  • Custom email addresses
  • 5 GB of storage

You will also get migration services, security tools, calendars and contacts, and support for email aliases.

The Control Panel is Easy to Use

DotCanada’s web hosting packages ship with the cPanel Control Panel, one of the leading options in the industry.

The cPanel is where you will go to manage your website and server, review resource usage, and manage your account (e.g., billing).

If you have used cPanel before, the interface will be familiar to you, but if you have not, the learning curve for this product is not too steep.

Customer and Technical Support

DotCanada maintains a knowledgebase, but if you want to speak with a staff member, you can do so via Live Chat, support center, or telephone.

dotcanada twitter account
How active is dotCanada on social media? The dotCanada homepage links to a Twitter account with 4 followers and no tweets. Clicking on the host’s link to their Facebook page led us to a blank page with an error message.

Domains from dotCanada

One of the nice things about domain registration with dotCanada is that it simplifies the pricing. DotCanada gives you three options:

  • Classic domains (like .com and .org)
  • Country domains (like .ca and .uk)
  • New domains (like .club and .work).

The Pros and Cons of Web Hosting with dotCanada

There are a number of reasons to choose dotCanada as your web hosting provider.

The Pros

There are plenty of good things about dotCanada hosting, including:

  • Simplified and transparent pricing
  • Tailored to the small business audience
  • 100% uptime guarantee
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
  • The 100% price-lock guarantee, which ensures your original discount-priced plan will remain intact forever.

It’s also nice to see the CloudFlare Supercharger added to all shared hosting plans. Security and speed should be something all businesses have reasonable and affordable access to, and dotCanada delivers on that front.

But as great as dotCanada’s web hosting may seem, there’s the issue of support that requires a quick discussion.

Visit dotCanada

The Cons

Seeing as how dotCanada’s services specifically target small businesses, we had hoped that customer support would take a front seat. That doesn’t seem to be the case though. Here is what we found.

dotCanada states that its North American-based toll-free tech support is typically available within a two-minute wait time and that its team resolves issues within five minutes.

But the reality is that, outside of being able to call dotCanada 24/7, the rest of its support is lackluster.

  • There is supposed to be a live chat module available on the site, but it doesn’t appear to be present or working at this time.
  • There isn’t a direct email option available; only a ticketing system through the Contact page.
  • The knowledgebase isn’t the most intuitive, though it does appear to have a comprehensive selection of material to work with once you know what to look for.

So, unless you’re interested in calling dotCanada every time an issue should arise, this might not be the ideal web hosting partner for you.

Find out more about dotCanada

Still hungry for information? Hop over to our sister site, WhoIsHostingThis.com. In addition to an expert review, you will find a list of frequently asked questions and their answers. It should make your choice much easier.

Frequently Asked Questions about dotCanada Hosting

If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Here are the answers to your most commonly asked questions about this Canadian web host.

What is dotCanada’s uptime guarantee?

Because they offer cloud hosting, dotCanada offers a 100% uptime guarantee. If they fail to meet this guarantee, they will credit you the equivalent of a full days service for each hour our site is down.

Why does dotCanada cost so much?

If you compare their hosting plans directly with their competitors, they are pretty much on par if you look at renewal fees or other hidden costs. On their site, they state:

We don’t offer unlimited for $3/mo. That offer has hidden limitations, and the price usually jumps to the regular (hidden) price of $7/mo., $10/mo. or more. We show our prices up front. Not as sexy as hiding prices but we prefer honest & fair pricing practices.

The transparency in pricing is pretty refreshing.

Is dotCanada better than GoDaddy?

Better is subjective, of course, however, there are a few main areas where dotCanada stands out. dotCanada seems to offer better customer service and is much more transparent about their pricing. They have a great reseller program and offer a detailed knowledge base. However, dotCanada is slightly more expensive and doesn’t offer as many different types of hosting as GoDaddy.