Website Hosting – Guidelines to Finding the Right Host (South Africa)
Website hosting in South Africa is an extremely lucrative industry that is highly competitive in all aspects. As you can imagine this makes choosing the correct host for your specific corporate requirements very difficult. Currently in South Africa the top three web hosts consist of Hetzner with 23% of the market share, Web Africa with 5.2% market share and Afrihost with 4.6% market share. (Top 50 Hosts in SA)
While the figures suggest these hosts are the ones to go to, here are a few questions that you would need to clarify. Firstly you would need to find out from the hosting providers of your choice which server you are on with the website hosting package they are offering. The options are generally either a shared server or a dedicated virtual private server (VPS). The big difference is a shared server has load sharing between multiple website domains. This is perfect as an entry level start up to your company’s new website. However as your website grows and gets more hits you will start experiencing bandwidth limitations and slower loading times. This is when you would have to upgrade to a virtual private server (VPS). A VPS runs its own copy of an operating system which you would have super-user access to. It’s highly functional and software defined meaning it is easily setup and configured. While it is similar to a dedicated physical server, it will cost a fraction of the price.
Secondly you will need to find out how accessible and user-friendly the control panel (c-panel) is for the server you are deciding to host on. If your website is a static HTML website then a database isn’t really necessary. However if you are running a website developed in an open-source CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress then you would definitely require a database for it to function correctly. This could alter the final hosting options and pricing you originally had been offered.
Lastly reliability and customer service with web hosting is really important. If you cannot get hold of your hosts when your website goes down or find you are not getting the customer service you are paying for then it’s definitely time for a change. A good test of reliability is monitoring the uptime on the website. Uptime in this context basically refers to the amount of time the server/website has been performing without fault/dropping. It’s a good way to gauge the reliability and sustainability of your host. Also with that being said, an extended period of uptime can also show negligence, because critical server updates can require reboots on some platforms.
In concluding you don’t need to be an expert on all of the above but a little know how and asking the correct question can definitely benefit you in exposing areas where you may be getting exploited or not exploiting enough out of your hosting provider. We at The Web Shack may not be number one in the country as yet, but our hosting clients are given clear and honest direction when it comes to the service they are Signing Up for and what options are available thereafter.