This post is a piece to inform readers who are just starting out with their web endeavors. This particular post deals with the Canadian web hosting company 'Hostpapa', although what applies to them is similar to various other cheap web hosting companies.

Distinct SEO has a number of web hosts, some in Canada, some in the US. We canceled a smaller shared hosting account with Hostpapa, who were otherwise relatively good to us, that is until cancellation. The shared package we were on for a small test website had unlimited bandwidth and space for about 100 bucks a year. It also came with a ‘free domain’. We keep all Canadian domains with one registrar Netfirms, and all our other ones with Godaddy. This is mostly because they are the cheapest in the field for renewal and we’ve never had issues with either. This one particular domain was the only one with another registrar, so it was easily forgotten until it came time to move.

The move to another web host was done because we have space on a VPS and don’t need the shared account. When we went to cancel two phantom fees from Hostpapa emerged. The first was a ‘cancellation’ fee which they hid as, “our setup fee is free, but since you’re no longer with us we’ll charge you for setup”. Of course it makes no difference how long it’s been since you setup the account, Hostpapa will recover this cost, however, in our case they didn’t charge us for it.

The next item was the domain. Now thankfully they didn’t hold it hostage, transfer took one day (hopefully it’s fully transferred). For this to take place they charged 26 bucks! It was essentially a fee to move the domain. I’m not sure if that’s allowed by Cira; we’re checking out the legalties of this practice, but we don’t expect to find anything.

So long story short, even though our cancellation was made around the renewal time, we still had ‘extra’ fees to cancel, particularly around the domain. Note, all the registrars I’ve used before never charged a penny to transfer a domain.

Moral of the story? Even though it might be attractive to get a ‘free’ domain with web hosting, the fact is you’ll end up paying more in the end then if you opted to keep the domain on your own registrar. You also may be faced with ‘closing fees’ when you cancel shared hosting accounts with numerous perks at sign up.

Do your due diligence and ask questions at the sales level before signing on long term with any web host. Good luck in your search, and if you’re looking for some reliable suggestions for web hosting comment in.