Having decided to own a website, blog, or an e-commerce site, you have to find a reliable web hosting service to host your website. There are many providers to choose from and all of them offer good plans. However, to find the right web hosting package in South Africa, you need to find a provider whose services are adapted for your unique needs.
How to Select a Web Hosting Provider
Websites work with the help of sophisticated computers that store and regulate access to information on the internet. These are called servers. In order to have a website you must have a server to host your website. Web hosting providers give their clients access to servers located on their data networks. You pay to rent space for your website with them. After you’ve got website hosting, you then have to build your website. Every website has a unique look but they all offer functionalities that are more or less similar.
The functionality is made possible by web based applications; plug-ins, graphic design elements and codes (computer programming languages that make it possible to use a computer). Most of the acronyms in this article refer either to programming languages, codes and plug ins or web development related systems that should not give you too much of a headache. Although, for the benefit of those who know how to build websites using these web development tools they have to be included. Also, contribute to the portfolio of the web hosting provider.
For ease of web building, there are website builders that are availed by some of the web hosting providers. They are easier to use and helpful. Some include WordPress and Weebly. They allow you to build your website by selecting readymade templates and adding elements (like a shopping cart for e-commerce sites) on your site without making them from scratch. You don’t have to be a web developer to build your website. You also don’t have to understand all the technical terms. You just need to keep some key considerations in mind before selecting a web hosting provider.
Some internet service providers also provide web hosting. For example, RSAWeb in South Africa provides cloud hosting solutions for small to medium businesses.
How much do you wish to spend on your website? What is your budget? The more you have to start with, the easier the work you have cut out for you. The cheapest plans leave most of the work to you. You have to create your site, manage and maintain it on your own at the best affordable price. These days though, technical support is available even for the cheapest plans with most providers. The higher you go in price, the better the plans become – offering more assistance, better security, better speeds and higher power.
Type of Server
The type of server you get dictates the speed your site has and how secure it is. Affordable servers usually have multiple sites using them. These are called shared servers. The next best are dedicated servers and virtual private servers (VPS).
A server box can be used to host even hundred sites in a shared server set up. In a dedicated server set up, however, you have your own box. This translates to better speed, more power and higher levels of security.
A Virtual Private Server (VPS), just as the name suggests, is a virtual machine on which you host your website. These two types are more expensive as compared to shared servers.
Cloud servers are the last type. These servers have websites on the cloud. The cloud enables software installation and database storage on the internet. With it you can access files and run demanding programs on the internet on a simple random computer. Cloud web hosting uses this technology to function. It is fast and reliable because of the advanced mechanisms and systems involved in cloud computing.
Although most web hosting providers will give options for full management of VPS servers and cloud based web hosting, you should at least know some basic server management and maintenance if you go with these.
Web Hosting Management and Technical Support
Managing a running website is taxing, especially for owners of new websites. You will need as much technical support as you can get in case you encounter a problem or need help setting up. Choose a provider who is available 24/7 for tech support. Most will offer you the option to relinquish full website management to them at a fee. These options are expensive. Only use them if you can afford them. You will only have the business aspects of your website to worry about if you do.
Uptime is the availability of the website at a given time. Choose a web host with guaranteed uptime of 99.5% and above. Clients, customers or readers who use your website will consider it unreliable if they try to access it and are unable to.
The more traffic your website can handle, the more your web host will charge. Higher traffic requires better bandwidth than lower traffic. There are also times your site will see a sudden surge in traffic. If you think that will happen more often, you should look for a web host who offers the ability to keep speeds and availability up for sudden high traffic. Many web hosts offer an ‘Unlimited Bandwidth’ package’ but this is usually still within a fair use policy.
Upgrade, Downgrade and Transfer Capabilities
Before purchasing a web hosting plan, find out how scalable it is and how easily you can transfer to another web hosting service provider if you want to. As your clients and customers list grows, there will be a need to improve your website. A good web hosting provider should enable you to upgrade seamlessly. Similarly, if you want to downgrade or leave the web hosting provider, it should as easy as possible. A good way to ensure the latter is to own your own domain name and make regular backups of the content on your website.
Websites are vulnerable to malware and cyber-attacks because they work through the internet. Look for a web hosting provider with plans that come with website security.
10 Best Web Hosting Companies in South Africa
Bluehost is currently the best web hosting provider in the country. It has the following hosting options:
- Web hosting packages starting from a R45.96 per month shared hosting plan to a R1869.6 per month dedicated hosting plan.
- It is 2021 PC Magazine Editor’s choice for web hosting.
- It offers Shared, cPanel, WordPress, VPS (Virtual Private Server), Reseller and Cloud web hosting. cPanel and WordPress web hosting categories the site designates is based the web building and management capabilities these tools offer. The Reseller category is for clients who want to buy domains that they will sell to clients in need of them.
- The provider offers unmetered disk storage for all plans.
- It also offers free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer).
- Free worldwide CDN (Content Delivery/Distribution Network).
- It gives a R3116 marketing credit bonus when you sign up.
- It uses cPanel, the most common type of control panel to manage a web hosting account.
- The provider allows free installation of php-mySQL–based Content Management Systems (CMS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) like WordPress, Drupal Joomla. Any if these that you will prefer to use for to build your website.
- There is also a native Bluehost website builder option. This builder is powered by their built in Smart AI. The builder has a user friendly interface with quick start customizable templates.
- Additional WordPress website builder option that you can use with the Bluehost website builder simultaneously.
- The provider gives free regular site backups.
- It also gives a free Domain for the first year when you purchase any plan.
- The provider has a team of experts that gives 24/7 website builder support on call or through the chat feature made available on their website.
Hostinger is the second best web hosting provider you can choose. It has a wide range of features:
- Packages starting from a R21.66 per month single shared hosting basic plan to a R1215.08 “Cyber Panel VPS 8” VPS hosting plan.
- It provides shared, cPanel, WordPress, Minecraft, CyberPanel, VPS and Cloud web hosting categories for the plans on offer.
- It includes email hosting capabilities in their portfolio, either with Google workspace at R93.48 or with Titan starting at R15.42.
- It has a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%.
- Their WordPress web hosting uses the LiteSpeed server. The server has excellent reviews on AWS Marketplace.
- The provider has fast website load times because they use LiteSpeed servers.
- It also gives 24/7 tech support to clients.
- It gives a free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate with all plans.
- It gives free GIT access for all plans.
- It gives daily or weekly backups.
- Free email accounts come with it’s plans.
- The provider also has a 30 day back money guarantee.
- It has an in house custom control panel known as hPanel.
- It offers fully managed cloud hosting.
- It’s servers are secured by Imunify360.
SiteGround has the following features:
- Packages ranging from R62.16 per month plan titled “Start Up” to a R4674 per month “Business +” fully Managed Cloud Hosting plan.
- Shared hosting, WordPress hosting, WooCommerce hosting, Reseller hosting, VPS Hosting and Cloud hosting categories available to choose from.
- It gives clients free email accounts.
- It offers website migration services.
- It includes a preinstalled WooCommerce plugin and also allows installation of WordPress and Weebly website builders.
- It has a 30 day money back guarantee.
- It gives free CDN (Content Delivery/Distribution Network) to its clients in partnership with Cloudflare.
- The provider has a team that gives 24/7 support through chat, ticket, or cell phone call.
- It also gives website transfer services to and from SiteGround as well as to and from other sites.
- It gives a free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)
- It does daily website backups for clients.
- It offers free installation of php-mySQL–based Content Management Systems (CMS) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) like WordPress, Drupal Joomla.
- It has a free WordPress website builder included with all plans.
- It has a .co.za Domain name extension.
- It’s plans include professional emails that increase in number the higher up the plans you go.
- The provider lets you host your own client’s websites and manage the resource allocation they receive.
Domains web hosting, at number four, includes:
- Plans ranging from R89 to R259 per month.
- Shared Hosting and VPS Hosting.
- Use of a LiteSpeed web server
- A free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate for security with all plans.
- Malware protection and cyber security from ESET.
- Website builder starting from R100 per month.
- Free Domain name registration for .co.za, .org.za, .net.za, .web.za, and .online extensions.
- Unlimited traffic handling capability.
- 99.9% guaranteed uptime.
- 60 day money back guarantee.
- Daily backups.
- N + 1 redundancy system fail safe.
- Email accounts included in all plans which increase with increase the more costly the monthly plan.
The fifth is Xneelo, with its headquarters in Cape Town. They offer the following features:
- Plans that range from the R99 monthly debit order shared hosting to the R2895 monthly debit order “TruServ Commerce” self-managed web hosting.
- Managed WordPress, Managed servers, Self-Managed servers and Reseller web hosting categories.
- Colocation (renting operational server racks) of a full rack for R9365 and half rack for R5770.
- Free email accounts with all plans. The higher the cost of the plan the more the email accounts you can allocate.
- 99.9% uptime guarantee.
- Unlimited traffic handling capabilities.
- .co.za extension available for R89 per year
- A Control panel.
- Spam filtering.
- 24/7 tech support.
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TSL (Transport Layer Security) Certificate.
- DDos (a type of cyber-attack) mitigation and protection.
- ModSecurity web application firewall.
- Additional free website security with Cloudbric for the first 3 months then R149 per month.
- Additional R39 Sitebuilder website building add on.
At number six, Godaddy has:
- Packages ranging from a R39 per month “Starter” plan to a R119 per month “Ultimate” plan.
- WordPress, shared, cloud, dedicated, Linux, VPS and Drupal web hosting services.
- A cPanel type of control panel.
- Servers running on Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system.
- A 99.9% uptime guarantee.
- Email accounts starting from R15 monthly per user.
- Free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.
- 24/7 network security and DDOS protection.
Seventh place is Hetzner, which has:
- Packages ranging from a R32.37 per month “Level 1” plan to a R366.40 per month “Level 19” plan. All plans come with a once off set up fee of R168.34. 15% VAT is also included in the costs.
- Managed servers ranging from R582.63 per month to R3014.05 per month. All plans in this category come with a R3014.05 once off set up fee and include 15% VAT.
- Server racks at a cost of R2022.85 per month with a once off set up fee of R2022.85. All these costs have 15% VAT included in them.
- Reader’s Choice Service Provider Award 2021.
- Shared, dedicated, and cloud web hosting categories.
- Colocation services.
- Online server auctions.
- 24/7 Support.
- Free email accounts with all plans. Higher plans have more email accounts.
At number eight, Web4Africa has:
- Packages ranging from a R30.8 per month “Mercury” plan to a R6160 “VPS8” Virtual Private Server plan.
- Shared web, WordPress, Windows, Reseller, Dedicated and VPS web hosting categories.
- Free SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.
- A basic website builder included in its plans.
- Weekly backups included.
- Unlimited email accounts
- A cPanel Control Panel.
- 450 web applications including Joomla and WordPress.
- Free domain name for the first year with WordPress hosting.
- Domain transfer service except .uk Domains.
- .co.za extension starting from R92.4
Ninth place Axxess has:
- Packages ranging from a R55 per month Windows Shared Web hosting to a R1409 Linux Cloud web hosting.
- WordPress, Email Only, Windows shared, Linux shared, and Linux Cloud web hosting services.
- Free domain if you use your own naming servers, a R5 monthly fee if you use Interworx and R20 monthly fee if you use cPanel.
- Domain transfer services.
- A .co.za extension available.
- Unlimited monthly traffic capabilities.
- Free email accounts with all plans, which increase the higher up the plans you go.
- Email only hosting ranging from R19 per month to R39 per month.
Last, at number ten is Afrihost which has:
- Packages starting from R49 per month plan to R439 per month.
- Linux, windows, cloud, enterprise cloud, reseller, dedicated and rack web hosting.
- Free .co.za, .online and .site extensions for the first year
- Enabled integration of PHP, ASP and Microsoft SQL.