Every business—from sole-proprietorships to enterprises—needs a website. That said, not every business needs an ecommerce presence, and not everyone can afford one, either. Sometimes, you just need a simple page listing your hours and location, with maybe a little blogging functionality to keep things interesting—and sometimes that’s all you can afford, too. Cost is a critically important consideration when selecting a web host. But while it’s a truism that you get what you pay for, it’s also true that every penny counts and that there are some great web hosting deals to be had.
In this article, we take a look at the following:
- What is Web Hosting in Kenya?
- What are the different types of web hosting?
- What are the Features Offered by a Good Web Hosting Company?
- Web Hosting Companies in Kenya
What is Web Hosting in Kenya?
Web hosting in Kenya is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the services needed for the website to be viewed in the Internet.
What are the different types of web hosting?
In the world of web hosting, there are many options that will all get your site on the web. However, each of them cater directly to website owners needs – whether those needs be big or small. While they all act as a storage place for your website, where they differ is the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement, server speed and reliability. These are the eight types of web hosting you will most often come across:
1. Shared hosting
Shared hosting means just that. Your website is hosted on a server shared by other websites. The advantage of this setup is the shared cost. You can pay as little as KES 1500 to KES 5000 per year for sharing a super server with (probably) hundreds (or thousands) of other websites.
The biggest disadvantage of a shared hosting account is that you’re at the mercy of the other sites on your server. A really popular site may adversely affect the performance of your own site. They might even crash it from time to time – but this is quite rare. On the other hand, if you’re the most popular site on the server, you get to use a super server for a very low price.
When most people start an online business they usually start out with a shared hosting plan to minimize costs, and they’re not likely getting a ton of traffic initially.
Shared hosting is good for a brochure type site or a newer site that doesn’t get a lot of traffic.
Price Range: KES 1500 to KES 5000 per year
2. Dedicated server hosting
Dedicated web hosting is the complete opposite of shared web hosting, as you are given an entire server for your operations.
Dedicated hosting gives website owners the most control over the server that their website is stored on. That’s because the server is exclusively rented by you and your website is the only one stored on it. This means that you have full root and admin access, so you can control everything from security to operating system that you run.
However, all that control comes with a price.
Dedicated servers cost are one of the most expensive web hosting options. Typically, they are used by website owners with high levels of website traffic, and those who are in need of complete control of their servers. In addition, a high level of technical expertise is required for the installation and ongoing management of the serve.
Pricing: Dedicated servers are priced from KES 10,000/month and up. But if you are considering a dedicated server, you should also consider the costs of hiring a system administrator to take care of the technical details.
3. Virtual private server (VPS) hosting
A VPS hosting plan is the ultimate middle ground between a shared server and a dedicated server. It’s ideal for website owners that need more control, but don’t necessarily need a dedicated server.
Virtual private servers share one physical server but act like multiple, separate servers. Even though each VPS instance shares hardware resources, they are allocated a dedicated slice of the computing resources.
Price Range: Most VPS hosting packages cost between KES 1,000 and KES 20,000 per month. Pricing is based on the guaranteed CPU and memory (RAM) you get.
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4. Managed hosting
Hosting companies provide technical services such as hardware and software setup and configuration, maintenance, hardware replacement, technical support, patching, updating and monitoring. With managed hosting, the provider looks after the day-to-day management of the hardware, operating systems and standardized applications.
Depending on what kind of managed hosting you have, the term “managed” can mean different things.
On shared hosting, it often applies to the application that’s running on top of the servers. So Managed WordPress or Managed Drupal hosting is talking about the IT services related to WordPress or Drupal and making sure those are kept up to date and that your site is taken care of you. When you’re using shared hosting that doesn’t offer a “managed” solution, you still have the low-level servers being taken care, but you may be responsible for things like which version of the software you’re running.
If you’re talking about VPS or Dedicated, the “managed” part is often the IT services that help you from the lowest level of the operating system up to the rest of the layers of software sitting on top. For example, if you were running a WordPress site on a dedicated server, you’d likely have the low-level operating system, and then you’d have web server software (like Apache or Nginx), and then a version of PHP to think about. A managed offering would help you patch, update, backup, and monitor all those levels of software on your server.
5. Cloud hosting
Cloud hosting is the current buzzword of the technology industry. In regards to web hosting, it means many computers working together, running applications using combined computing resources. It’s a hosting solution that works via a network and enables companies to consume the computing resource like a utility.
This allows users to employ as many resources as they need without having to build and maintain their own computing infrastructure. The resources that are being used are spread across several servers, reducing the chance of any downtime due to a server malfunction.
Cloud-based hosting is scalable, meaning your site can grow over time, using as many resources as it requires and while the website owner only pays for what they need.
The advantage of cloud-based web hosting is that if you get an unusually large amount of website traffic the web hosting plan can accommodate the surge of traffic – rather than shutting your website down.
Price Range: All cloud computing packages use some form of the pay-for-what-you-use pricing structure.
6. Reseller Web Hosting
Reseller hosting packages are basically a shared hosting account with extra tools to help you resell hosting space.
Reseller packages come with greater technical control (often via the Web Host Manager (WHM) control panel), billing software to help you invoice clients and other extra perks.
Some of those perks include:
- free website templates
- white label technical support — that means the hosting company handles your clients’ tech support issues
- private name servers — make your company seem even bigger by telling your clients to point their domain name servers to ns1.yourwebdesignfirm.com
Price range: Reseller packages range from KES 4,000/month, depending on features and resource limits.
If you’re planning on selling web hosting as a business then reseller web hosting is perfect for you.
7. Colocation Web Hosting
When you colocate, you rent rack space from a data center. You bring in your own server hardware and they provide power, cooling, physical security, and an internet uplink. This means you’re responsible for your own server software, data storage, backup procedures, etc. If hardware fails, you’re responsible for replacing it and getting the server back up and running.
Unless you have the technical know-how in-house, colocation is probably not worth the investment in time, expertise, and money for most small businesses.
8. Self Service Web Hosting
The ultimate hosting plan — you do it all yourself! You buy the servers, install and configure the software, make sure there are sufficient cooling and power in your machine room, and double up everything for redundancy. Some of the things you’ll have to take care of:
- data center space
- power (with backup)
- server hardware
- systems administrator
- data integrity and backup
- … and the list goes on
Similar to colocation web hosting, this most likely beyond the scope of what you’d want to do as an online business owner.
HOSTFITI is not a web hosting company, but a professional business website builder platform.
What are the Features Offered by a Good Web Hosting Company?
1. Fast Servers
A web server is a program on a server computer, somewhere out on the Internet, that delivers web pages to web browsers (your website visitors). The digital space can be quite unpredictable, which means you need to prepare for the worst case scenario, but without going overboard. For example, you should have enough leeway for your bandwidth, with layout changes and traffic spikes possibly affecting your website performance. And you definitely don’t want this to happen, with research teams discovering that a single second delay in page response inadvertently causes a 7% decrease in eCommerce conversions.
The best shared hosting servers that a web hosting company can offer are LiteSpeed servers, followed by NGINX servers and finally Apache servers running on SSD storage disks.
The following chart shows how many requests per second the three servers compare during a series of tests. The larger the number, the better.
2. Website Security
A report states that about 30,000 websites are hacked daily. This means you should do your best to protect sensitive information on your website. Various hosting providers offer its own kind of security measures, with some providing bot-operated security checks and DDoS protection. A hosting company should also offer you with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate which is adds the green padlock in your website browser’s address bar. A SSL certificate encrypts data between your website browser and web server minimizing chances of anyone snooping on your website activities. Some of the cheap and best web hosting companies in Kenya offer SSL certificates for free.
Backups help you to recover your website’s data incase of events such as your website getting hacked or data gets corrupted. This is why a number of hosting providers provide daily or weekly data backups.
4. 99%+ Uptime
Downtimes impact your overall traffic and cost you some lost sales. In addition, it can also leave a bad impression on your search engine rankings.
5. Fast Support
Also worth highlighting is the service’s customer support. While it’s nice to have FAQs and forums, when your website is inexplicably down, you want someone available right away. Look for 24/7 customer support.
Web Hosting Companies in Kenya
Without further ado, here are the best in the market web hosting companies in Kenya. We have arranged this list in increasing prices (exclusive of a domain) from the cheapest and given it a grade (and the reason for doing so) depending on the amount of value you are getting from the web hosting company.
1. HostPoa – From KSHS 995/YEAR
HostPoa has been around for 4+ years and it is under deepAfrica Co Ltd (its parent hosting company) which offers apache server web hosting.
FEATURES: Free .co.ke domain, Free SSL certificates, 1GB HDD space, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Offers most services to get you started online at a low cost.
CONS: Apache servers which are quite slow and the disk space is quite small.
GRADE: B+ While they offer a all in one starter kit to get your website online, the disk space is quite small – once you factor in that you want a small business website that has blogging capabilities and you intend to continuously use your email accounts. The disk space will quickly fill out requiring you to cough out more money in the end.
2. Truehost Kenya – From KSHS 1499/YEAR
Truehost Kenya is a subsidiary of Ryanada Limited founded in 2016 and is among the local hosting companies with most subscribers.
FEATURES: Apache Servers, 10GB Disk Space, Free SSL, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Good customer service. Outstanding uptime.
CONS: Apache servers that are slower than the new server technologies.
GRADE: A- Truehost has been around for a while and their disk space is sufficient for a small website and holding your email attachments and files.
3. Lenasi Cloud Hosting – From KSHS 2,000/YEAR
Lenasi is a new hosting service established in 2016.
FEATURES: LiteSpeed Servers, 50GB SSD Disk Space, 1GB RAM, Free SSL, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: They offer web hosting on LiteSpeed servers which are fast, SSD storage and also give 1GB RAM.
CONS: Support get slows at times.
GRADE: A You get much value for the money invested as your website is fast, secure (free SSL Certificates) and sufficient space for your website and email accounts.
4. Kenya Web Experts – From KSHS 2100/YEAR
Kenya Web Experts are Kenya’s largest domain hosting provider and offer their web hosting on Apache servers.
FEATURES: Free SSL Certificates, 30GB Disk Space, 300GB bandwidth, 1GB RAM, Free SSL, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Sufficient RAM which ensures that your site doesn’t take a down turn when it gets a traffic spike.
CONS: Using Apache Servers.
GRADE: A- Though in the same price range to that of Sasa Host, they offer a larger amount of RAM and disk space.
5. Sasahost – From KSHS 2500/YEAR
Sasahost Ltd is a private ICT company incorporated in 2009. The company offers secure, reliable and professional web solutions to direct customers and resellers from various parts of Africa, Europe, USA and several others. The company focuses more on Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers than on shared hosting.
FEATURES: LiteSpeed Servers, Free SSL Certificates, 15GB Disk Space, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Fast servers, Reliable & Professional Support
CONS: 256MB RAM. Most web hosting providers offer a minimum of 500MB of RAM, so if your website’s traffic spikes, your website visitors may not be able to view your website. (They will be presented with a server connection error).
GRADE: B+ Though a little pricey, the company is reliable for it has been for more than a decade, solid and reputable. However we had some reservations about the allocated RAM.
This articles states the prices as of January 2020, as stated on the web hosting provider’s websites and we recommend that you do due diligence before choosing your web hosting provider. HostFiti gives an overall opinion of the reviewed hosting providers in this article and should not be held liable for misinformation.
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