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Understanding Web Hosting in Kenya

Understanding web hosting in Kenya

Today, almost no brand can do without some sort of online presence. A big part of that digital presence are blogs and websites. Now, to have a website or a blog you need a web hosting service.

What is web hosting?

Imagine your website as a house and web hosting as the land it sits on. The hosting company stores your website’s files and makes them accessible to anyone who visits your website address (domain name).

Web hosting is a service that allows individuals and organizations to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet.

Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.

When Internet users want to view your website, all they need to do is type your website address or domain into their browser. Their computer will then connect to your server and your webpages will be delivered to them through the browser.

Types of web hosting in Kenya

Before you can select the best web hosting company, you need to understand the types available in the Kenyan market. Every service offer at least these four types of web hosting plans:

  • Shared hosting: (best for beginners, most common, most affordable)
  • VPS hosting
  • Dedicated hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Managed WordPress hosting
  • Reseller hosting plans

Let’s expound more

1) Shared hosting

Shared hosting is where your website shares a server with other websites. It’s an economical choice for small to medium-sized businesses or personal sites due to lower costs.

You want to think of shared hosting as an apartment building with multiple units. Your website shares server space and resources with other websites hosted by the same provider.

It’s like renting a room in a shared apartment; you get a designated space for your website but share resources like electricity and internet bandwidth with other tenants (websites).

That said, since resources are shared, high traffic on other websites can affect your site’s performance.

With a good host, however, this shouldn’t be an issue unless your site sees hundreds of thousands of visitors every month.

This is the web hosting plan we recommend for most users (individuals and small businesses) as it is easier to manage without any technical experience, and is quite affordable.

2) Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is a type of shared hosting designed for websites built on the WordPress platform.

It includes additional features and services that make managing a WordPress website easier and more convenient.

With this plan, your web hosting provider takes care of the following for you:

  • WordPress pre-installation
  • Automatic updates
  • Security features
  • WordPress backups
  • Performance monitoring and optimization
  • Staging environments

This type of hosting allows website owners to focus on content creation and other aspects of their site, while the technical backend is managed by the hosting service.

It is an ideal choice for businesses, professional websites, e-commerce stores, or high-traffic sites that require optimal performance and security

  • Pros: Easy to manage, optimized security and performance for WordPress, often includes automatic backups and updates.
  • Cons: Often comes at slightly more expensive plans compared to shared hosting.

3) VPS hosting

VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting grants you a designated portion of server resources.

It’s a step above shared hosting, offering better stability and performance since you’re not affected by the usage of other sites on the server.

Continuing with our analogy:

Think of a VPS as an apartment building with multiple units (shared hosting) vs. having your own dedicated floor (VPS) on the same server. You get more control and resources than shared hosting, but share the physical server with other VPS users.

Your website is still hosted on a server with other websites, but there are fewer sites per server, and your site gets its own portion of the server’s resources.

This type of hosting balances cost with flexibility and is suitable for websites that have outgrown shared hosting.

  • Best for: Websites that are outgrowing shared hosting due to increasing traffic or require more control over server environment.
  • Pros: Offers better performance, scalability, and security compared to shared hosting.
  • Cons: More expensive than shared hosting and requires some technical knowledge to manage.

4) Dedicated hosting

You want to think of a dedicated server as a whole house for your website only. You lease an entire physical server, giving you maximum control and resources.

With dedicated hosting, you have an entire server for your website. It’s the most powerful and customizable option, providing peak performance and security.

This level of hosting is ideal for large businesses with high traffic volumes that require full control over their server environment.

  • Best for: High-traffic websites, mission-critical applications, or situations requiring complete customization and security.
  • Pros: Unmatched control, security, and performance. Ideal for resource-intensive websites.
  • Cons: 
    • Most expensive option
    • Requires significant technical expertise to manage.

5) Cloud hosting

Think of it as: Scalable resources like electricity from a power grid. Your website runs on a network of virtual servers, offering on-demand scalability and flexibility.

Cloud hosting involves a network of servers hosting your website, offering scalability and reliability.

It’s a type of web hosting service that utilizes server virtualization to provide high uptime and ultra-performance for digital assets.

Unlike traditional hosting where a single server hosts multiple websites, cloud hosting divides a physical server into multiple virtual servers distributed across a network of servers.

This approach ensures better performance and stability, making it suitable for high-traffic websites like eCommerce stores.

Benefits of cloud hosting services:

  • Easier to scale
  • High availability
  • Traffic load balancing
  • Enhanced security
  • Flexibility in resource allocation.

Major cloud hosting providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure, offering a range of features and services for different user requirements.

There are no best cloud hosting providers in Kenya. Affordable options globally include:

Your site’s resources can easily adjust to traffic fluctuations. This type of hosting is gaining popularity due to its ability to handle large amounts of traffic without the hardware limitations of a single server.

  • Best for: Websites with fluctuating traffic or those expecting sudden traffic spikes. Offers easy scaling to meet changing demands.
  • Pros: Highly scalable, reliable, and often comes with built-in redundancy for increased uptime.
  • Cons: Can be slightly more complex to manage compared to shared hosting and might have a variable cost structure based on usage.

6) Reseller hosting

Reseller hosting is designed for users wanting to operate as web-hosting providers themselves.

You purchase hosting services in bulk and sell them to your clients, usually with additional services like web design or domain name registration.

It’s an excellent way to start a hosting business without managing your own servers.

  • Best for: Entrepreneurs or web developers who want to offer web hosting services to their clients.
  • Pros: Allows you to set your own prices and manage your own hosting business.
  • Cons: Requires technical knowledge to manage servers and provide customer support.

Web hosting cost in Kenya

The cost of web hosting in Kenya can vary depending on the type of hosting you choose and the features you need.

Read our web hosting prices article to learn more.

Selecting a web host provider in Kenya

  • Consider your needs: Think about the size and complexity of your website, as well as your traffic expectations. This will help you determine the type of hosting you need.
  • Don’t just focus on price: While price is important, it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. Look for a web hosting provider that offers good customer support, reliable uptime, and security features.
  • Compare prices from different providers: There are many web hosting companies in Kenya, so be sure to shop around and compare prices before making a decision.

For simple shared hosting, we recommend Host Pinnacle

By following these tips, you can find a web hosting plan that meets your needs and budget.

Key features of web hosting

When you’re in the market for web hosting in Kenya, it’s critical to assess key features that will ensure your website’s optimal performance and security.

These features include adequate storage and bandwidth, robust uptime guarantees, and comprehensive security enhancements.

a) Storage and bandwidth

Storage refers to the amount of space allocated to your website on the hosting server. It’s where all your data, including web pages, images, and videos, is stored.

You’ll need to choose a plan that offers sufficient storage to accommodate your content without incurring extra costs.

  • Sufficient SSD storage: for faster data access and better performance.
  • Scalable bandwidth: to handle varying traffic levels without bottlenecking.

b) Uptime guarantee

Uptime is a measure of how consistently your website is available online.

Hosting companies in Kenya often highlight their uptime guarantee, pledging your site’s availability over a given period.

  • 99.9% uptime: ensures your website remains online and accessible to users.
  • Redundant infrastructure: minimizes the risk of downtime.

c) Security enhancements

Security features protect your website from external threats like hacking and DDoS attacks.

  • SSL certificates: encrypt data between user browsers and your site, fostering trust.
  • Automated backups: secure your data and enable easy recovery after data loss incidents.
  • DDoS protection: safeguards your site from malicious traffic and overload.

Choosing the best web hosting company

When evaluating the best web hosting companies in Kenya, you need to focus on three vital aspects:

  • Their performance and reliability
  • Level of customer support and service they provide, and the
  • Cost-effectiveness of their hosting packages.

a) Performance and reliability

Performance is crucial for keeping your site accessible and fast. Look for companies with a history of excellent uptime, which directly affects the availability of your website.

A reliable web host must also have robust server infrastructure and be able to handle traffic spikes without downtime.

Examples of providers known for top performance and dependability are HostPinnacle, Bluehost, and Truehost.

b) Customer support and service

Exceptional customer support is non-negotiable. You want a web hosting company that offers 24/7 technical support with a responsive and knowledgeable team to address your concerns promptly.

HostPinnacle is noted for its comprehensive support, ensuring you have help available whenever you need it.

c) Cost-effectiveness

Finding an affordable web hosting solution that balances cost with features is vital.

Don’t just look for the lowest price, but consider what you get for your money. This includes the presence of SSL certificates, which are crucial for website security.

Aim for a provider that offers a variety of hosting packages to choose from, so you can scale as your site grows.

Website builders and content management systems

Choosing the right platform for your website is crucial as it affects both the functionality and ease of use.

Whether you’re setting up an online store, portfolio, or blog, understanding the nuances of various website builders and content management systems (CMS) can make or break your web presence.

Using website builders

When you select a website builder, you’re choosing a platform that allows you to create a website without manual code editing.

These are particularly useful if you have limited web design experience. They provide pre-made templates and drag-and-drop interfaces which simplify the process of creating a visually appealing and functional site.

There are hosting companies in Kenya that offer integrated website builders as part of their hosting packages, enabling you to get your site up and running quickly.

a) WordPress

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and it’s known for its flexibility and ease of use.

It caters to all types of websites, from simple blogs to comprehensive business websites and online stores.

Kenyan web hosting companies often provide specialized WordPress hosting services which include features like one-click installations, automatic updates, and expert support.

This makes maintaining a WordPress site more manageable, even for beginners.

You typically build a WordPress website using:

  • Gutenberg block editor
  • Elementor (pagebuilder plugin)
  • A multi functional WordPress theme

For eCommerce solution, you will need a plugin like WooCommerce, or Easy Digital Downloads.

b) Joomla and Magento

While WordPress caters to a broad audience, Joomla offers more complex web development opportunities with a focus on social networking sites and e-commerce functionalities.

On the other hand, Magento is an open-source platform dedicated to e-commerce web development.

It provides robust tools and capabilities for creating advanced online stores.

Although it requires more technical skill than Joomla or WordPress, some Kenyan hosting services include Magento in their offerings, presenting a powerful option for a sophisticated e-commerce presence.

Domain Services and Email Hosting

When establishing an online presence for your business in Kenya, two crucial services you need to consider, besides web hosting, are:

  • Domain name registration and management
  • Professional email hosting.

Securing a domain name not only forms the foundation of your brand identity on the internet but also opens the door to creating branded email accounts that foster trust and credibility.

You can opt for Kenya specific TLDs, such as:

  • ke: This is the primary TLD for Kenya and is open to all entities.
  • .co.ke: Specifically for companies and business entities in Kenya.
  • .me.ke: Intended for individuals such as professionals and students.
  • .go.ke: Reserved for government institutions in Kenya.
  • .or.ke: Designed for not-for-profit organizations like churches and NGOs.
  • .ac.ke: Reserved for academic institutions such as universities, colleges, and schools in Kenya.
  • .sc.ke: Meant for lower learning institutions like kindergartens, primary, and secondary schools.
  • .mobi.ke: Used for mobile companies.
  • .ne.ke: Intended for network companies.
  • .info.ke: Specifically for informational content.

Alternatively, popular extensions such as .com, .co, .org, .net can be better options if you want to build an online platform that’s not tied to your region.

Domain registration and management

Your domain name serves as your unique address on the internet. This makes domain registration the first step to stake your claim online.

Companies in Kenya offer seamless processes for you to register and manage domains.

  • Search availability: Find a domain that aligns with your brand name and is easy for customers to remember.
  • Choose an extension: Select a .ke extension to appeal to a Kenyan audience. Or, go with a generic .com or .org for a broader reach.
  • Registration: Through services like Kenya Web Experts, get your chosen domain registered.
  • Management tools: Utilize the provided tools to manage your domain settings, renewals, and privacy options.

Professional email hosting

Building a reputable brand image also involves setting up professional email hosting. This ensures that your communications reflect your domain.

With business email services from Kenyan hosts, you can:

  • Create custom email accounts (e.g., ) that reinforce brand authority.
  • Scalability: Opt for plans that allow for creating multiple email accounts as your team grows.
  • Security: Benefit from enhanced security measures like spam filtering and data encryption.
  • Accessibility: Access your email anytime, anywhere, on any device with stable internet connectivity.

Select a package that caters to your business size, offers sufficient storage, and provides reliable customer support.

Providers such as Nescom deliver a wide range of email hosting options tailored for businesses in Kenya.

Advanced hosting solutions

When you’re looking to elevate your online presence, advanced hosting solutions provide the robust infrastructure and specialized services required for high-performance and complex website needs.

a) E-commerce hosting

E-commerce hosting is designed for your online shop, requiring high availability and scalability to ensure a seamless shopping experience.

Key features often include SSD storage for faster data access and retrieval, as well as ample RAM to handle surges in traffic during peak shopping periods.

  • SSD storage: Ensures swift load times for your product pages.
  • Shopping cart integration: Provides seamless transaction processes.

b) Windows and ASP.NET hosting

Windows hosting is essential if you’re utilizing Windows-specific applications and ASP.NET frameworks in your application.

This type of hosting supports .NET and ASP technologies which are pivotal for building dynamic websites and applications.

  • Windows Server OS: Supports Microsoft specific web applications and services.
  • ASP.NET Support: Facilitates a powerful environment for developing robust web applications.
  • MSSQL: Microsoft’s popular database management system.
  • IIS (Internet Information Services): The web server software developed by Microsoft.

Control Panel: Plesk is the most common control panel for managing Windows hosting, providing a user-friendly graphical interface to simplify website and server administration.

Disadvantages of Windows hosting

  • Potentially higher cost: Windows hosting can sometimes be slightly more expensive than Linux-based options due to licensing fees.
  • Less widely used: Linux hosting is generally more dominant, which could impact community support and resources compared to Windows.
Moneyspace Ke
Moneyspace Ke
We understand the hustle of everyday Kenyans – the drive to do more, save more, and be more, all while not earning just enough. At Money.ke, we aim to provide reliable information to help you build a scalable sidehustle business. Subscribe to find insights on financial products, practical saving tips, and viable business ideas in Kenya. 🇰🇪🤝📈.
Moneyspace Ke
Moneyspace Ke
We understand the hustle of everyday Kenyans – the drive to do more, save more, and be more, all while not earning just enough. At Money.ke, we aim to provide reliable information to help you build a scalable sidehustle business. Subscribe to find insights on financial products, practical saving tips, and viable business ideas in Kenya. 🇰🇪🤝📈.

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