Web Hosting + Blogging: The real Canadian Struggle

Alright, y’all. Finding a Canadian blogging technology is hard. Heck, comparing blogging sites is hard in general – let alone trying to find one made in the Great White North.

I tried. I found two solid Canadian options – PageCloud HostPapa – but it just didn’t fit what I really needed (spoiler alert: I really needed a blog).

When you’re starting a business, often your first instinct is to go to WordPress. It’s what I did when I founded my consulting company, PulseBlueprint. And why wouldn’t you? It’s the gold standard as far as the web is concerned for easy web hosting + web building + content management system (CMS). Even some major publishers use WordPress as their CMS.

But, true to this experiment of trying to build a profitable company using Canadian technology, I had to look elsewhere for Canadian opportunities first and foremost – you can’t create an exception without exhausting all options.

So here goes. First, we can cross off non-Canadian options:

  • Blogger
  • Ghost
  • Medium (Canadians helped to build it, though, so points for that)
  • Squarespace
  • Tumblr
  • Weebly
  • Wix
  • And many others.

With all these wonderful (mostly American) options, it does beg the question: Does Canada need a competitor in this space? It’s so saturated and blogging platforms are so 2005.

Thinking back to this experiment, it’s time to look at some of the Canadian options for hosting and website building:

Web Hosting Canada

On their landing page it advertises how their services are optimized for WordPress as your website builder. ‘Nuff said.

Dynamic Hosting

WordPress optimized to use WP as your blogging/website builder.

StormWeb

WordPress is the standard website builder on this hosting service. I think you get the trend I’m hinting at here.

Ok… so the hosting services are not gonna do it. It seems Canadian companies are afraid of the do-it-all approach to website construction.

Never fear, strong contenders are here!

HostPapa

A very clear and easy to read website – and they are from Oakville, Ontario (just when I was starting to lose faith in Canadian tech less than one week into the experiment). They’ve hosted over 500,000 websites, says their website, which is a huge damn deal.

Their plans are legit – from $3.95 a month. So easily a competitor in this arena.
Hostpapa landing page

I was so excited. I thought I’d found the Canadian WordPress. Until I searched for “blog” on their knowledge base and three results on the first page were about WordPress.

Too good to be true, it seems; their website builder, domain purchasing, and web hosting plans don’t include a blogging CMS.

So close, HostPapa. You could have been the one.

Ok, but then there’s PageCloud.

It’s one of the most beautiful, intuitive website designer tools in the world, and it’s from Ottawa! On the pricing side, it’s simple, if a tad expensive for the DIY-experimenter – only one plan, at $20 USD per month (when billed annually. $24 USD per month billed monthly) – but my gosh is it gorgeous.

It also has everything. Integrations up the wazoo (including Tumblr, Shopify, all social, etc.). Easy to use tools that make it feel like you’re building a PowerPoint (which is how I built the first wireframe of Ziversity, anecdotally).

It also does not integrate with WordPress! A good sign to start, until you realize that the reason is because they market themselves as a WordPress alternative.

But wait, you say. Stefan, you are trying to find a Canadian WordPress alternative, and PageCloud is precisely that! Why are you mad?

Well, friend, I’ll tell you. PageCloud does not have a native blog capability at the moment. Right there, in black and white, in their knowledge base. I cried a bit.

pagecloud no blog

A quick look at their competitors – thanks Crunchbase – and you see it’s Weebly, WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.

If you’re building a marketing website, PageCloud or HostPapa are value-driven for days. Both businesses are doing well, so clearly they are hitting at something Canadians – and all techies/entrepreneurs – care about. When you need a beautiful website, they are serious contenders.

I’ve learned my lesson. Canadians hate blogging. Or at least hate supporting it.  More on this later.

But what about Wattpad?

For those of you who haven’t heard of Wattpad, it’s one of the largest storytelling apps in the world and is founded/HQ-ed in good ole’ Toronto.

Founder Allen Lau is a huge proponent of bring more tech talent into Canada and is a vocal advocate and investor in Canadian tech.
Wattpad landing page

It is a great option, and one that I have chosen for re-publishing (Check out my Wattpad story!).

However, given that is is a walled-garden (you have to have an account to read and create on Wattpad), it does not serve the primary purpose that I need to make the Great Canadian Tech Experiment available to new users.

While I love Wattpad, my project is not to increase their user base (though if folks do go make a Wattpad account after reading this, all the better to have supported a great Canadian tech company).

Host Papa and PageCloud are still great options

When you need a blog that has multiple integrations and be simple to use, use WordPress. Not going to lie, I’m kind of annoyed that PageCloud or HostPapa didn’t think to build a native blogging solution – either one would have 100% had my business even if it wasn’t the highest quality CMS.

For those of you thinking, “K, so integrate with WordPress on HostPapa or PageCloud and be more Canadian with your experiment,” I have to say I agree with you on premise.

However, there’s one additional thing to it: the experiment is to build a profitable company with Canadian technology. It would be absurd if I paid for a WordPress site to have a blog and then paid for another site hosting situation just to have the facade of being Canadian (it would still fundamentally be a WordPress website with a Canadian face-lift).

If Canadian solutions are not competitive for the specific needs of a business, then they are not the right solution. I’d never advocate someone using a solution that didn’t fit their needs (or a workaround that cost double) just to be able to call themselves half-baked Canadian. It’s not worth it.

That being said, WordPress for this blog is ultimately just a blog for the experiment, not the company itself.

Do you know of a Canadian solution that would solve my needs? Add it to the Canadian tech company list and let me know! I’m not above switching if there’s a Canadian company that I couldn’t find in my searching.

2 thoughts on “Web Hosting + Blogging: The real Canadian Struggle

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