Choosing a South African Web Hosting Company
So now that you have the website you having trouble deciding where to put it? It is good to make an informed choice the first time, because moving to another web hosting company will cost you time and money. You may also lose some of your valued customers due to the downtime commonly encountered when transferring to another web hosting company.
Below is what I consider to be the most important factors when choosing a South African web hosting company:
Quality of Support and Service
Look at the quality of the web hosting companies existing clients. Ask the web hosting company for a list of large clients that are currently using their services. In South Africa there are many small web hosting companies, thus establishing credibility is a good place to start.
Ask for the opinions of existing clients. Testimonials can be a good indication of reliability and support quality. Do not however rely on online testimonials only. Put in the extra effort and contact these clients personally.
Check the time period for which the web hosting company has been in business. Small startups usually fail within the first 2-3 years of business. If your chosen web hosting company has been around for longer than that, chances are they will be here to stay.
You must be able to contact your web hosting company 24/7/365 by phone or email. In South Africa many web hosting companies choose to only provide phone and email support within office hours. Stay away from these companies. The Internet doesn't sleep and you should be able to contact you web hosting company when you wish. Test the quality and efficiency of their response by sending them an email pertaining to some question you may have before you sign up.
Adequate and Affordable Bandwidth
Bandwidth availabilty is arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing a web hosting company based in South Africa. Local bandwidth costs are among the highest in the world and the situation does not look to be changing anytime soon. Make sure you choosing a web hosting company that provides you with enough bandwidth at a fixed fee. To pay for over usage in South Africa is a danagerous thing. It may cost you up to R2.00 per megabyte.
Some local web hosting companies choose to only host your website internationally and this will lead to great savings in bandwidth costs. You still however retain the benefits of localised support.
Speed and Reliability
Make sure they have a high-speed connection to the Internet. Depending on whether your target audience is located, locally (in South Africa) or internationally you may want to check where their servers are hosted.
Frequent System Backups
Good web hosting companies will frequently backup your data and store these backups for you at no additional charge. You will however be looking at paying a fee when asking for a restoration of your data.
Compatibility of Features
Ensure your new web hosting provider is compatible with your existing software and skills. In other words, if you are using Microsoft FrontPage to create your website, you should ensure your web hosting company has FrontPage extensions installed on their servers.