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Black Friday Sale: 50% off WordPress Hosting

November 24, 2023

Our annual Black Friday sale is here!

Save 50% on your first year of WordPress hosting when ordering our Small Hosting plan using the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at

This offer is available through to Cyber Monday and is valid for new orders of our Small Hosting plan on annual billing cycles only.

Click here to get 50% off your first year of WordPress hosting!

Scheduled Network Maintenance [Completed]

November 21, 2023

Data center technicians will be performing network maintenance on Thursday, November 23, 2023 from 8PM-9PM CST.

The network connection that is provided to our equipment will simply be moved to a different port on our upstream provider’s equipment during this maintenance.

Estimated downtime for all services is expected to be within 30 seconds to 5 minutes while our network connection is moved from one port to another.

Scheduled Maintenance: MySQL (MariaDB) Upgrades on Malfoy and Sirius [Completed]

September 19, 2023

In the evening of Saturday, October 7, 2023 we will be upgrading the MySQL database server on our Malfoy and Sirius servers from MySQL 5.7 to MariaDB 10.5.

MariaDB is an optimized, drop-in replacement for MySQL.

This upgrade will be completed in two steps, first the migration from MySQL 5.7 to MariaDB 10.3, and then the upgrade from MariaDB 10.3 to MariaDB 10.5.

Websites utilizing MySQL databases will be temporarily unavailable for approximately 15-30 minutes until the upgrades are completed on each server.

Upon the completion of this maintenance, all of our servers will now be migrated to MariaDB.

Change in .COM domain name pricing

September 1, 2023

Effective September 1, 2023, pricing for new .COM domain name registrations and transfers will change to reflect an increase in price of all .COM domain names as announced by Verisign and ICANN, the operators of the .COM TLD.

.COM domain names expiring within the next 30 days will renew at existing rates. No changes will be made to existing renewal invoices.

.COM domains expiring after October 1, 2023 will renew at the following rates:

Was $18.99CAD >> Now $20.99CAD/year
Was $13.99USD >> Now $15.99USD/year

WordPress 6.3 to Drop Support for PHP 5

July 6, 2023

WordPress have announced that they will be dropping support for PHP 5 in their upcoming 6.3 version which is expected to be released in August.

Currently, WordPress 6.2 requires PHP 5.6 at a minimum. With the release of 6.3, WordPress will require PHP 7.0 at a minimum, with PHP 7.4 or higher being recommended for use.

Sites that remain on PHP 5.6 will be unable to upgrade to newer versions but will continue to receive security updates for WordPress’ 6.2 branch.

If you are still using PHP 5 and would like to continue upgrading to new versions of WordPress you must switch to PHP 7 or higher.

Varial Hosting customers can change their PHP version at any time by logging into your cPanel control panel and clicking on the “Select PHP Version” icon.

It is recommended to upgrade WordPress and your themes and plugins before switching your PHP version to ensure that all of your website code is made compatible with the newer versions of PHP.

If you require assistance changing your PHP version, feel free to contact our support department.

cPanel Upgraded to v110 Across All Servers

June 6, 2023

The latest major version of cPanel is now available to all Varial Hosting customers.

Please be advised that with this new version of cPanel, all accounts have been switched to cPanel’s new Jupiter theme that was introduced last year, as the old Paper Lantern theme has now been discontinued.

Additionally, Horde Webmail has been removed due to it no longer being maintained by its developers. Horde calendar and contact data has been automatically migrated to RoundCube Webmail. All of your emails will be available in RoundCube as they were with Horde.

Varial Celebrates 20 Years of Business

June 1, 2023

Twenty years ago today we opened our doors to the public and sold our first web hosting plans.

I was a university student studying Sociology who had created a wildly popular online discussion forum for local musicians. As the site grew to exceed 1 million hits/month, I began learning more about servers and hosting technologies in order to keep up with its growth.

When the site was moved to a dedicated server, I launched D.I.Y. Web Hosting (our original name) to help subsidize the cost of running the forum. Our first customers were the bands, photographers and fans who frequented the website, many of whom are still customers to this day!

It was a “right place at the right time” moment as many businesses were just starting to get online so we operated primarily as a web design studio for our first few years. We designed websites for many bands, local businesses, an NHL player, and helped many people across the world integrate their existing HTML website designs into web applications that were popular at the time like phpBB and Mambo/Joomla.

Our template creation service and participation in open source projects helped attract our first international customers in the US, UK and Australia.

An early website design

After a few years I decided to stop offering custom web design services. I recognized that I was better suited for coding and server administration than I was at the creative. Demand for our web hosting services was growing and I wanted to build a business based upon earning passive income rather than being dependent on how many websites I could build in a year.

With my university degree completed I found myself sitting in our first office space in downtown Saskatoon focussing full time on the business. I can’t really pinpoint exactly when it became my career, but the hobby that was my side gig throughout university was now ready for my full attention. I gradually stopped accepting shifts from my casual job working at a hospital and did not seek out work related to my degree. I was thrilled to be my own boss in a field that best showcases my talents.

As D.I.Y. Web Hosting shifted to focus solely on providing affordable web hosting with quick, quality support, we migrated away from servers we rented from cloud providers in the US to purchasing our own Dell PowerEdge servers and housing them in our first Canadian data center located in Montreal.

Our first server

Over the next few years our growth was accelerated by acquiring the web hosting clients of a number of Canadian and US web design agencies who thought we would be the best fit to take over their customers. As websites transitioned from simple HTML to being built using complex web applications, the hosting of these websites became significantly more complicated, requiring a lot more staff attention and expertise. Many web design agencies took the opposite approach of us and stopped offering hosting services to focus solely on design, so we were happy to welcome all of these new customers to our business.

In 2009 we incorporated and changed our name to Varial Hosting. There had been another company with DIY in their name in the hosting space that had created some confusion for our customers, so we wanted to rebrand with a unique name where we could obtain all relevant domain names and social media handles to protect our brand.

With a skate park being located directly across the street from our original Montreal data center, I chose the name Varial because it was the name of the best trick I used to be able to do on a skateboard. Our logo was even designed to subtly represent a skateboard flipping.

In 2012 we moved into our long term office space in a tech hub/coworking space in the Riversdale area of Saskatoon where we remained for 10 years. In this space we met many friends and collaborated on many exciting projects. The networking opportunities the building presented helped to further grow our business.

Scenes from our website launch party

It was in this space where we developed our next generation hosting platform that was capable of loading WordPress pages over 4000X faster. Our optimized WordPress hosting plans launched in 2016 and represented another major shift for our company.

WordPress exploded in popularity and to date nearly half of the entire Internet runs on WordPress. After witnessing nearly all new customers installing WordPress and identifying the challenges they were facing, we developed our next generation hosting platform from the ground up to improve the speed and security of WordPress websites.

Fun fact: WordPress also celebrated their 20th anniversary just last week. It’s been fun growing old with them!

With the launch of our new platform we also moved into a new data center located in Saskatoon so we could have our servers physically closer to us in order to operate fully out of our home town. Within a year we migrated all customers to our new platform without increasing anyone’s pricing!

Since then many things have changed in my personal life. I met my wife, Cara Warnar, who now works for Varial as our Sales & Marketing Manager, and we have two children together, with our latest born just earlier this year.

We began working from home early during the pandemic and have since made the change to a remote work force permanent. I’m grateful to be able to work from home and spend as much time with my family that I can. If you’ve happened to hear dogs barking or babies crying in the background while calling us, well, we’re sorry about that, but thank you for your patience in allowing our employees to explore a better work/life balance.

The Varial Hosting family

When meeting new people I often get asked if I like my job. Web hosting may not be as exciting as working at a tech startup, and getting woken up in the middle of the night when issues occur is never fun. However, the job requires constant learning and experimentation, the hours are often flexible, allowing us to create a number of side projects to scratch our creative itches, and it has always been stable, meeting my needs since I was a just a student and now the needs of my growing family. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Thank you for supporting small business and selecting Varial Hosting as your independent hosting provider. We couldn’t have done it without you!

With love,

Ryan Smith
Varial Hosting

Scheduled Maintenance: MariaDB (MySQL) Upgrades on Hermione, Snape and Tonks [Completed]

May 5, 2023

In the evening of Saturday, May 20, 2023 we will be upgrading the MariaDB (MySQL) database server on our Hermione, Snape and Tonks servers from MariaDB 10.3 to MariaDB 10.5.

Websites utilizing MariaDB/MySQL databases will be temporarily unavailable for approximately 10-15 minutes until the upgrades are completed on each server.

PHP 8.2 Now Available

February 1, 2023

PHP 8.2 is now available to all Varial Hosting customers.

PHP 8 builds upon the great improvements brought forward in PHP 7 and introduces several new features for developers which you can read about at:

To change your PHP version, simply log into your cPanel and follow this guide:

Please be aware that not all web applications and PHP extensions are compatible with PHP 8.2 at this time. For best compatibility we recommend using PHP 8.1 until development of PHP 8.2 matures.

2022 Year in Review

January 3, 2023

Thank you for supporting small business and selecting Varial Hosting as your independent hosting provider.

2022 brought a number of exciting changes to our company that I’m happy to reflect on and share with you today.

In January we moved out of our long-term office space and transitioned into an entirely remote workforce. While I deeply miss all of the tenants and businesses that we shared a building with, I grew to love working from home again and having the ability to spend more time with family.

A friendly reminder to our customers who pay by cheque, please note that our mailing address is now:

Varial Technologies, Inc.
PO Box 32107 RPO Erindale
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
S7S 1N8

While the pros and cons of remote work will surely be debated for years, it has been a natural and effective transition for our company.

In fact, our 24/7 support ticket response time average for 2022 was just 16 minutes!

This even includes emails sent to us in the middle of the night on a weekend and happens to be our best year ever, with a reduction from 22 minutes last year.

We also added another full-time employee to our company last year! When my wife, Cara Warnar, completed her maternity leave, she left her previous employer to become our new Sales and Marketing Manager. I guess you could say we’re a family-owned mom and pop shop now!

One challenge we faced is the continued increase of our operating expenses from many of our suppliers.

When our former domain registration partner announced a significant increase to their domain rates, we explored other options instead of increasing customer pricing. In June we announced that we would be changing our domain registration partner so that we could keep customer pricing the same and also begin to offer Whois Privacy for free.

I believe that Whois Privacy is an essential service to improve the privacy of our customers and reduce the spam they receive. When our former partner announced that they would be increasing the cost of their Whois Privacy service to an amount that I feel would discourage customers from purchasing it, I knew a change had to be made.

I am very happy that domain names registered through Varial Hosting now include Whois Privacy for free and it is enabled by default!

With this fee removed it saves our customers $4.99/year per domain, and has already saved our customers thousands of dollars since implementing the change! As always, we are committed to acting in our customer’s best interests and keeping prices as low as possible.

Last year we also introduced PHP 8.1 support across all of our servers, deployed our most expensive server yet (and made an Instragram Reel about it that went viral) and our data center completed major upgrades to their network and power infrastructure to make our services even faster and more reliable.

In the coming months an entirely new cPanel theme called Jupiter will be available to all customers. We have been waiting for cPanel’s new design to be finalized so we can expand the resources on our website and create a robust and extensive knowledgebase for our customers as well as all new tutorial videos based on the updated design.

We will celebrate our 20th year of business in 2023 and improving our website is on the top of our list of changes to make.

Thank you for your business and for taking the time to read about our company.

Happy New Year and all the best in 2023!

Ryan Smith
Varial Hosting