Hosting a website may seem like a question only developers and web design agencies should know about.
Let’s break it down a little bit.
What is required to host a website?
- A server computer with internet connection
- Web Server software
- Database software if website is database driven
Okay, this makes it sound a little simpler, now who does this?
- Host it yourself (you will need a stable and redundant Internet connection, a computer, a static IP address and backup power)
- Local hosting companies (domains.co.za, Afrihost, Mweb)
- International hosting companies (Godaddy, Bluehost, Hostinger)
How do I know which one to use?
Firstly, what website do you have? If it is a static website coded in html, you only need a simple Web Server. For anything else, eCommerce and dynamic websites you will need a Web Server with database functionality.
Unless you have quite a bit of money to spend on infrastructure and redundancy and are somewhat tech savvy, doing it yourself might not be the right choice.
Using international providers can be more cost effective, but mostly their servers are in different countries and may cause a slower loading speed for your website.
Local providers have been increasingly upgrading their services and you definitely won’t struggle to find a reputable provider that satisfies your requirements.
Look for a Web Server with the following for increased speed:
- Runs on LiteSpeed or Nginx Web Server software instead of older Apache software.
- Uses Solid State hard drives instead of traditional mechanical hard drives.
- Has decent processing power.
- Is scalable and can be upgraded when needed.
- Uses a reputable control panel, Cpanel is the most expensive, but most commonly known.
Popular Types of hosting
- Shared Linux hosting
This is the most common type of hosting and probably the most cost efficient. The Server is Driven by a Linux based operating system and a choice of Web Server software.
- Cost effective
- Simple and Reliable service
- Other sites are hosted on the same server and may affect performance
- WordPress Specialized hosting
This hosting is usually based on shared hosting with a few specialized WordPress features such as automatic backups and staging.
Offers some unique WordPress specific features
- Can be more costly than shared hosting with similar performance
- Virtual Private Server/Cloud Server
This is a virtualized private hosting environment. It can be based on Cloud technology from the likes of Google or Amazon AWS.
- Extremely customizable
- Offers some of the best performance
- No performance is shared with other websites
- You have to be very tech savvy
- Can be very costly as you are responsible for all costs including licenses
We hope that this information helps make a bit more sense of choosing a hosting provider in South Africa.