Web Hosting in Kenya
Web Hosting in Kenya is almost at par with the global internet industry. The ease of deployment of web applications has made it very easy for the country to tag along with this fast-tracking industry. With high penetration of internet connection, exploding usage of internet and cheaper rates, there is an increase in the number of businesses that are developing and hosting websites in Kenya.
I hosted my first website in 2007. However, this is not the first encounter that I had with web hosting. I came to understand the basics of web hosting when I was a salesman for an internet service provider. Though my biggest focus was on selling wired internet connection and dial-up connections, I managed to also sell a few domains and web hosting accounts. That was back in 2003.
Back when I was a salesman, my boss was a no-nonsense entrepreneur. We used to have monthly meetings with him as the sales team and throughout the meetings, he would accuse us of incompetence. That gave me a lot of negative energy. He was a geek. I now understand him. When you spend a lot of time with computers, you tend to develop anti-social behaviors. I have seen it happen to me. And that is why, a few months ago, I decided to engage myself with a social activity. I choose dancing. Weird? I am now training in ballroom dancing. In a few months, I will get comfortable with dancing salsa. I know you are asking yourself how a geek would be dancing salsa. I will tell you when I get there.
Web Hosting Definition
I came to better understand the web hosting business when a client ordered a domain name and web hosting. Those days, we would sell a .com domain name for $200 and web hosting for $500. The people who would afford a $700 per year web hosting service were big corporates. When I got this account, my boss asked me to liaise with the technical department and deliver the service to the customer. This is the conversation that we had with Brian, the system administrator.
What is Web Hosting?
Amos; Hello Brian. I know you have done this a couple of times. It’s pretty new to me. Can you first tell me what is web hosting?
Brian; You are kidding me. You don’t know what web hosting is?
He showed me into his small cubicle and at the back, he opened a door. There was a small dark room. All I could see were numerous blinking lights. He switched on the lights and I saw numerous computer processing units (what we call CPUs). He continued;
“These computers are servers. They host numerous website files and email messages for customers. They are always connected to the internet so that anyone can access them anytime, anywhere across the world, as long as they have an internet connection.”
“Anywhere?” I asked. He replied.
“Yes. With a domain name, you can be able to access a website hosted on any of these servers. Whether you are in Kenya USA, UK, or anywhere in the world. These servers will also host email messages sent to your customers’ email. Once we register his domain name, we will create an email account for him that he will be using to send and receive email messages. With special software, he can read and write emails to any other person with an email address in the world” he faithfully explained to me, just like he would be explaining to a layman.
What is a Domain Name?
“Sorry to ask you this. What is a domain name?” I asked innocently. He looked at me. He must have thought i was joking.
“I am just but a salesman. I am not techy” I defended myself.
“A domain name is a web address. This is the unique name that will identify your customers online. Most people craft domain names from their business names or their names or project names. It’s from the domain name that we will create an email account for your customer. For instance, if he chooses a domain name like xyzcompany.com, we will offer him an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org” he answered.
It all looked complicated but after some research online, I started understanding them.
Web Hosting Companies in Kenya
Local Web Hosting in Kenya
Back in 2003, Brian used to maintain servers locally. That is called local hosting. Today, there are web hosting companies that maintain web servers locally. They host customers’ websites on servers hosted, managed and operated in Kenya. Their domain names are mapped to IP addresses that are allocated to servers in Kenya.
Web hosting companies hosting a few hundred websites find it difficult to make money. Therefore, they charge high web hosting fees to cover their expenses. On the other hand, there are big web hosting companies that have established data centers and can afford to offer web hosting services at a lower price. An example is like KDN and Safaricom.
Local web hosting has various challenges;
- It is very expensive to maintain servers in Kenya due to the high cost of the internet and electricity.
- Electricity in Kenya is not as stable as in developed countries. This causes interruptions. To solve this, companies revert to expensive Backup alternatives like generators.
- Internet connection is not as fast and stable. It is very expensive to get connected to fast and reliable internet
- Very few customers are interested or have strict requirements for in local hosting
International Web Hosting
I left the ISP in 2004 and until 2007, I did not interact with the web hosting industry. Until when I decide to own my first website in 2007. I approached a guy I found online and paid him a visit in his office. He was called Joseph. He is the one who literally updated me on the progress and growth trend of the sector. He had leased servers in Australia and was selling web hosting to Kenya. He explained to me that the easiest, reliable and affordable hosting is through servers in the USA, UK or Australia. He further elaborated on the offshore hosting opportunities available for Kenyans. That day, in 30 minutes, I got my .com domain name registration and Linux hosting set up for less than $50. That was remarkable. What cost $700 and one week of waiting four years earlier, was now costing more than ten folds less in just 30 minutes.
Types of Web Hosting
“What do you need, shared hosting or servers? Joseph asked me. I did not have a clue. He explained. There are three types of web hosting; shared hosting, virtual private servers, and dedicated servers.
Shared Web hosting is where a web server is subdivided into several smaller sectors and each sector is leased to a customer. There are software used to achieve this like cPanel (for Linux servers) and Plesk (for windows servers). In shared hosting, several users share the same server and IP address.
An IP address is a unique identifier of a server. It acts as the server address. There is a possibility of attaching multiple IPs on one server, but in most cases, one server bears one primary IP address.
Shared hosting is the most common form of hosting in Kenya and across the world. This is due to its affordability, deployment, and management. With cPanel software, a non-technical person can be able to manage this hosting without much hassle. This web hosting is ideal for small websites and applications.
I got my first shared web hosting in Kenya in 2007. That is the time that I also registered my first domain name. It was the right package for me; affordable and easy to manage. Since my first website was a low traffic website, my choice of hosting was ideal.
In Shared Web Hosting, you have the option of getting a Linux or a Windows shared hosting. Today, you can get shared hosting for as little as $2 per month
Reseller Web Hosting in Kenya
Reseller Web Hosting is a special server that has been configured for those who would be interested in reselling domain names and web hosting services to others. If for instance, you are a Web designer or SEO expert, you can acquire a reseller hosting account for further reselling to your customers. This means that you will be able to get some passive income coming in every month or year.
A reseller hosting package is crafted from a server. A customer is allocated a large sector of the server and given rights to further segment and subdivide the sector space to his customers. The end resultant product that is offered to then customer is a shared hosting package.
I acquired my first Reseller Web Hosting in Kenya in 2008 at a monthly fee of $30. This is when I started my web hosting business. It was the best solution then because I did not have many customers and my server management knowledge was limited.
In Reseller Web Hosting, you have the option of getting a Linux or a Windows reseller hosting. Today, you can get a reseller hosting for as little as $20 per month.
Virtual Private Server (VPS) in Kenya
Virtual Private Server or what most people refer to VPS Server are semi-dedicated servers. This means that a server is sub-divided into a few large sectors through a process called virtualization. Each of those sectors is offered to customers as a VPS hosting package.
VPS servers are mostly deployed to websites that have medium traffic and operations. They also provide more server control, especially for technical users, through a connection type referred to as SSH access. VPS server is relatively costly than shared hosting. However, it has better performance and is more robust.
I acquired my first VPS Server in Kenya in 2009 for $50 per month. In my web hosting business, I was already using reseller hosting to service my clients. The business was doing well but the server resources were limiting me. I decided to upgrade from the reseller hosting to VPS server for more performance, and control.
In VPS Hosting, you have the option of getting a Linux or a Windows VPS server. Today, you can get a VPS server for as little as $25 per month
Dedicated Servers in Kenya
Dedicated Server is a full web server all dedicated to one customer. If you order a dedicated server, you get access to a full server on yourself. This server has no restrictions. You can basically do almost anything with it.
Dedicated servers in Kenya are mostly used by large corporations with large web applications and high traffic websites. The advantage of this server is the high performance and more control it offers.
I bought my first Dedicated Server in Kenya in 2012. The web hosting business was now extensive. My greatest challenge was now space, bandwidth, and email sending limits. I needed a solution where I would be able to have full control of those elements and also have the right to restrict them to my customers. The best solution was on the dedicated server. I was renting it for $200 per month. Today’s, ADEA operates a dozen of dedicated servers across the world. This solution has remained the best amongst all the web hosting solutions available.
Under Dedicated Servers, you have the option of getting a Linux or a windows dedicated server. Today, you can get a dedicated server for as little as $120 per month.
Types of Web Servers in Kenya
Joseph was a good teacher. He explained all about web hosting with a lot of patience. I understood that he had done it a couple of times to his curious customers, in a bid to help them make the right choice of hosting. Unlike Brian, Joseph was patient. With the information he had provided, I could tell the type of hosting that was ideal for me. However, there was one area I did not understand. So I asked
“Thank you, Joseph. That was quite elaborate. But I would like to know. Which server is ideal for me. Linux or windows. I use windows on my laptop.” He laughed hysterically and replied;
Initially, when I was learning these things, I thought exactly that. The kind of server that you buy is not dependent on the operating software that you use on your computer. The decision whether to buy a Linux or Windows hosting or server solely depends on the applications that you want to install on the server. If you have designed your website or web application using Microsoft based software like .NET, then you require windows hosting, otherwise, all the other applications can be hosted on a Linux webserver. Generally, Linux hosting is more popular than Windows hosting.
Linux Web Hosting and Server
A Linux Web Server is a server that has been installed with a Linux operating system. These servers can also be installed with a Linux sister operating system referred to as Ubuntu.
Linux hosting is easier to deploy and manage. With a software called cPanel, a non-technical person can easily manage the server from the comfort of their laptop. cPanel is an advanced software designed to manage Linux servers and make it easier for end-users (customers).
Windows Web Hosting and Server
Windows hosting, on the other hand, is a server that has been installed with Microsoft Windows operating system. This form of hosting is used to host Microsoft .NET based web applications. Windows web hosting is not as common as Linux because the majority of web developers are developing applications using software that are supported on Linux hosting.
It was all clear to me. For about one hour, Joseph not only taught me a whole lot about web hosting but he also planted a seed inside me that has grown into ADEA. ADEA was born that day. And as I sat down with him, he helped me craft my domain name, choose my hosting and operate it, I decided that I would like to do just that to my clients. And one year later, I opened my web hosting business and for over a decade, I have been helping businesses to establish online through ADEA.
If you would like to get your business online, you will just need these three things; Domain Name, Web Hosting, and Website. We can offer you all that in just a few minutes for an extremely affordable price.
I hope you have liked my hosting experience article and wish to have you on board as one of our customers. To get in touch, you can contact us through ADEA Website. Thank You.