If you are total beginner to hosting technologies, this Ultimate Guide To Web Hosting In Uganda could just answer everything you have always wanted to about hosting.In this digital era, everything is done or is going online. Today having an online presence gives you an opportunity to reach out to other people in many interactive ways that were previously impossible, making the benefits of having an online presence obvious.
However, starting a website is some difficult and confusing task. Whether you build your own website or hire someone to build it for you, you will need a web host so your website can be accessible on the web. In this article, we i present to you a myriad of a beginner’s guide to web hosting in Uganda.
What is a domain name?
A domain name can be easily understood as the virtual address of your website on the internet or online. This unique combination of numbers and letters followed by a domain extension like “.com”, make up the “location” that internet visitors can travel to on their internet browser to find a specific website. A classic example of a domain name is “www.twitter.com”.
What is a website?
When we talk about a website, we actually mean a collection of files and folders that are connected together to. Read: What Is a Website And Why Every Business Must Have One
What Is Web Hosting?
When you design a website, in order for it to be accessible or visible on the internet, you have to put or upload it on a very powerful computer called a server or a web host. The process of doing so is what is called web hosting or website hosting.
A domain name such as www.ictguy.com is connected to an IP address that points to a specific computer. When someone types your domain in their browser’s URL bar, the IP addressed is located and your website is loaded in your browser, fetching files from the server or web host.
A web host can have one computer or thousands of them that run a web hosting software such as Apache, Windows server, OS X server etc.
Most websites you see on the internet are accessed from a shared host which we shall later see in this article under types of web hosting.
Let’s understand web hosting in a housing analogy
Web Hosting is like a house you are renting.
You pay rent (subscribe to hosting packages) to stay in it.
In the similar way, we put our website files on one of the hosting providers.
A Website is everything that is in your house.
The furniture, the interior designs etc. Visitors can leave your house if it is ugly and smells like shit. (Read it as badly designed website)
Visitors are the people who pay you a visit in your house.
In a website terminology, clients who visit your website.
By the way how did these visitors find out where you stay?
Domain Name is like a street address.
You need to register one so that people can find you.
For example, www.ugafy.com or http://www.facebook.com
A Web Browser is like a car.
You enter the domain name and the car will get you to the right house (the website). Just like cars, some browsers are fast (Firefox) while some are really too slow (Internet Explorer).
How does web hosting work?
Many people have no idea about how website hosting is and how it works. Before thinking of creating a website, you need to first understand how web hosting works Right here I explain to you how it exactly works.
Before trying to make your own web page and launch it on the Internet, first you need to know how web pages work
Think about your computer and the information stored on it e.g files and folders. This information sits right on your hard disk and can be access whenever you want.
Now a web page is like that file on your computer. Just like your file requires a computer to be stored, web pages too require a computer to be stored. The only difference is your file is intended to be seen by you alone while a web page is intended to be seen by the public.
Web pages are stored on a much more powerful computer than your ordinary desktop PC or laptop. The computer on which web pages are stored is what is called a web server. This computer is called a server because it serves web pages to internet users on request.
The web server is always connected to the internet through a very powerful link.
A collection of web pages is called a website, and all web pages in the world is what makes up the World Wide Web (WWW).
Now the process of making web pages accessible to internet users is what is called web hosting. Some hosting companies call it “web space” because they actually sell you space where you can store you web pages [website files].
The web space is measured in megabytes just like the space on your computer hard disk.
Is Web Hosting The Same As A Datacenter?
The answer is NO. Whenever we talk about a data center (Datacenter), we mean the facility that accommodates the servers. A Data Center can be a room, house, or a very large building equipped with backup power, data communication connections, control of climatic conditions (like air conditioning and temperature) and safety devices such as Fire extinguishers.
The building is also equipped with powerful generators that are used to power up the servers in case of power outages.
Remember when power goes off, servers will go offline as well, and all websites hosted on such servers won’t be accessible as well. This is why a power backup is very important.
Are There Datacenters In Uganda?
To be honest, there’s no hosting company in Uganda that owns a Datacenter. All of them simply rent virtual servers and hosting accounts which they later resell to their local clients in Uganda.
This is a very common practice almost everywhere in Africa but in most cases it has been proven to fail.
To keep your website safe and fully functional, always buy hosting from a company that has own Datacenter instead of buy from resellers.
I have always advised my friends never to make a mistake of hosting their websites in Uganda otherwise the consequences are horrible. Ugandan hosting companies (resellers) have the worst hosting support ever. Go with a company that will give you instant free support just in case you get a problem with your website.
Types Of Web Hosting
People normally get confused when they start looking for a perfect hosting plan, because there are so many hosting companies in Uganda each offering hosting plans at different prices. Instead of comparing hosting features offered by these companies, you should instead focus on figuring out the right hosting plan for you. There are 3 major types of web hosting namely:
1. Shared Hosting
This is the type of hosting where your website is hosted on the same server with other websites. The server resources are shared amongst all sites hosted in this same server. Shared hosting offers basic features and is very affordable.
However shared hosting comes with its limitations such as the number of websites you can add on your server space, limited email accounts and limitations on bandwidth usage. In terms of security, shared hosting is less secure.
2. VPS Hosting
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. VPS hosting is a virtual machine sold as a service by hosting providers. VPS runs its own copy of an operating system (OS) and the client normally gets access to the server administration through a virtual dashboard. It so much similar to shared hosting but has extra features.
For a VPS, one server is partitioned into a few accounts and each account is allocated own resources. When you buy a VPS web host, you use your resources alone unlike in shared hosting where you share same resources with others.
3. Dedicated Hosting
Here your website is hosted on a dedicated server. A physical computer with dedicated resources. Here you rent a whole physical server with all its resources including bandwidth and storage.
Dedicated hosting is used by websites that require high resources such as unlimited disk space and bandwidth. It is generally an expensive hosting solution used by large businesses.
Although a dedicated server is too expensive, it allows users to fully optimize and customize the server according to their needs.
Other Types of Web Hosting
1. WordPress Hosting
A web hosting environment optimized for WordPress. WordPress is the most popular Content Management System [CMS] in the world, powering over 30% of the world’s websites.
2. Cloud Hosting
Here your website operates on multiple servers that are connected together unlike traditional hosting services where your website is hosted on a single server.
With cloud hosting, your files clustered or stored on different servers located all over the world. You can access your files from anywhere simply by connecting your cloud hosting account. Cloud hosting is mostly used to store non-sensitive data.
3. Re-seller Hosting
Re-seller hosting is a type of web hosting where one has the ability to use their allotted hard drive space and bandwidth to host other people’s websites.
4. Managed hosting
This is type of hosting used by web masters who don’t have technical knowledge for system or server administration. Here, besides renting the server, you also get support from the hosting provider, software upgrades including taking care of the security of your web server.
Most managed hosting accounts come with a pre-installed management software such as Cpanel.
5. Free Hosting
This doesn’t cost you anything. It is free as you hear it. The biggest disadvantage with it is you are given limited resources and most provider force third party advertisements on your website. Free web hosts come with low bandwidth and data transfer capabilities. This means that sites hosted on free services can’t support much traffic and have slower uploads and downloads.
Which Hosting Type Is Right For Me?
Looking for how to choose the right web hosting plan in Uganda? At this point you must be overwhelmed with lots of information and you must be asking yourself, what is the right hosting plan for me? Well, here are some questions for you. Answering them correctly will enable you choose the right hosting plan for you.
When do you need Shared Hosting?
You need shared hosting if you are building a simple personal or commercial website, a simple blog or small e-commerce site. Shared hosting efficiently supports a low traffic websites.
When do you need VPS Hosting?
You need VPS hosting if your website’s traffic exceeds a certain number of daily visits. VPS hosting is recommended for websites that receive large volume of traffic such as forums, streaming platforms and large e-commerce websites.
When do you need Dedicated Hosting?
If your website or web application that require high server resource, have high bandwidth usage and need a high security (for credit card processing and client information storage), you will definitely need a dedicated server.
When do you need Managed Hosting?
If you are not a tech savvy with no system or server administration skills, you need a managed hosting. When you purchase a hosting account that already has some sort of control panel or operation system installed, it is a managed hosting. So if you are purchasing a shared or VPS account with cPanel, you are buying managed hosting. In my opinion, I think it is better to go for this type of hosting.
Factors To Consider When Choosing A Web Hosting Service Provider In Uganda
- Reputation. Choose a web hosting provider that has been around for a while and has positive reviews from customers.
- Support. If you get a problem with your server, be sure they offer immediate support.
- Speed. No one wants a slow loading website. Your web host’s speed should be among your priorities.
- Uptime. Choose a hosting company whose uptime is at least 99%. Uptime is the amount of time your website is available online without a break in service.
- Price. First-time fees for web hosting services are always relatively very low. You also need to double-check what the price will be when you renew your subscription. Don’t be cheated.
- Security. Should be a company that pays attention to security threats to keep hackers at bay ie enforcing strong password policy. A reliable web hosting company understands all these things.
- Money back guarantee. If you are not satisfies with their services, can they refund your money?
- Storage space. The amount space they give you where you can store your data. It should be enough for you of course.
- Bandwidth. The amount of data that your host will let you and your visitors upload and download over a set period.
- Number of Domains. How many does your web host support?
- Email accounts. Do they let you host your company emails? domains?
- Database Support. Many sites have databases. If your site is database driven, will it work with their host?
- Framework Support. If you have used a particular CMS like WordPress, will it be compatible with this host?
- Mobile Apps. Do they offer you Mobile apps to enable you manage your site on the go?
- Language Support. We are not talking about spoken languages here. These are programming languages. There are a bunch out there. Which will your host support?
- Site Backup. If things go terribly wrong like your website gets hacked and you need to restore your website, a backup copy is essential.
- Updates. Does this host stay on the cutting edge in terms of software versions and the like? You
- Scalability. The ability to increase the amount of resources you can use as your site grows.
- An Exit Strategy. It might just turn out that you want to pack up shop and move your site somewhere else. Is your potential host restrictive about what you can and cannot do?
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Web Hosting
Often times, first times users (sometimes even experienced ones) can get excited by the idea of their new website and end up making mistakes when it comes to choosing web hosting. These mistakes can have a negative impact on your website. Here are the common mistake you should avoid at all costs.
- Not reading hosting reviews of the company you want to buy from.
- Not reading terms and conditions of the service.
- Choosing free web hosting
- Going for persuasive offers (too good to be true offers).
- Buying web hosting based on price
- Purchasing a wrong hosting plan
- Trusting a hosting company with only positive reviews
- Purchasing addons or services you don’t really need
- Looking for unlimited hosts
- Trusting the uptime guarantee of 99.9% uptime.
- Not researching restrictions
- Not testing out customer service
- Choosing a host with no refund guarantee
- Trust a webhost that does not have live support
- Signing up for longer periods
- Dealing with a new hosting company
- Not doing due diligence
What is The Difference Between Linux And Windows In Regard To Web Hosting?
When you are choosing a web host, you are required the operating system on which your server should run. The most common operating systems are Windows and Linux. Many people argue that Linux is the best OS to run your server on while other say there are some good reasons to choose Windows over Linux. In this Article, The Site Wizard breaks down the differences between Linux and Windows. The Site Wizard has a pretty good breakdown on this topic. They make one thing abundantly clear:
Just because you are using Windows or Mac OS X or something else, it does not mean that you need to get a web host that happens to be running the same platform as you are. The system that your web host runs has nothing to do with the system you’re running now.
Which Hosting Company Do You Recommend Me To Use?
Finding a reliable web hosting company can be a confusing task since there exists thousands of them and each promises very enticing features. It even becomes more confusing when you have to just pick one, and you frustrate your website or make it a success.
Above, I have already shared with you factors to consider when choosing a web hosting service. You may measure the best hosting company using the ‘factor’ litmus test.
Like I said before, I do not recommend anyone to host their website with Uganda hosting companies due to the horrible experiences I have had with them, especially when it comes to support.
If you are looking for a reliable and quality web hosting services, I would recommend that you go for a global web hosting company outside Uganda. Most of these companies have own Datacenters. Some of the best global website hosting include;
Note: You will get a discount and a free domain if you buy your web hosting through above links and I will in return get a small commission from your purchase.
Top web hosting companies in Uganda
Choosing the right hosting company is a very important step towards your online success. Since all your website files will be stored on their server, you have to make sure your website will be safe and secure, and your visitors won’t have any problems accessing it at any time.
If you choose a slow web host, a feature which describes most Ugandan web hosts, this may go a long way an affect your search rankings in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo Search.
A slow website will also give a bad user experience to your visitors and they are likely to leave your website for good and will never return.
It is very important that you choose a web host that understands your needs and are committed to giving you a quality service and support.
While I have always discouraged my friends from risking their websites with Ugandan web hosting companies, I cannot deny the fact that they do exist. Below is a list of 10 best website hosting companies in Uganda.
- Crystal Webhosting
- Jolis International
- Junction Systems
- Cyberspro International
- Jubilee Webhost
- Webstar Uganda
Just two months ago, I made a simple error which wiped out my entire blog. This whole blog was no more. In a few minutes later, I was back online like nothing had happened. How was this possible? My hosting company, A2Hosting, has 24/7 phone, email and live chat support. These guys did not only talk to me but also helped me restore my blog at no charge, in about 35 minutes.
Just imagine what would happen if I had lost my blog for good! The efforts I have invested in building it…and then suddenly lose it just because I chose a web hosting company that did not live up to their standards of proving a backup service. Just imagine that!
Before choosing any Ugandan web host, ensure that it meets all the above factors considered when choosing a reliable web host. You should stay away from any web hosting company that doesn’t meet these criteria.
So, What Is The Cost Of Hosting A Website In Kampala, Uganda?
Once have designed and develop website, the next thing to do is upload it on the server so it becomes visible on the internet. The cost of Hosting a website varies and depends on how much content your website has and the amount of traffic it receives.
- Web hosting costs range between UGX 120,000/- to UGX 1,000,000/- per year for shared hosting, where your website will sit on the same server with other people’s websites.
- VPS hosting ranges from UGX 700,000/- to UGX 2,500,000/- per year
- Dedicated Hosting ranges from UGX 6,000,000 to UGX 12,000,000/- per year.
- At Boomnet Technologies, a startup IT company which i co-own, our lowest hosting package, which is Shared Hosting goes for UGX 200,000/- per year and comes with lots of benefits.
But Is It Possible To Just Set Up My Own Server?
Yes, it is possible. You need to buy the hardware (powerful computer) then install the operating system and some server software. Then you will have to do configurations and then load up your websites[s]. Hosting own website on own server is commonly referred to as Personal Hosting.
You can host your website on your own web server but it is not advisable because of the following reasons:
- You need to have advanced technical skills to setup a web server
- You need high bandwidth quota
- You PC must be on all time. If you restart, reboot or turn off your PC, your site will go down and won’t be accessible online.
- Mobile internet connections are not designed to serve web pages
Personal hosting is only recommended for people with highly specialized systems and must have advanced knowledge on technical processes. You can read steps how to build your own dedicated from the Intructables website.
Web hosting terms you need to know
These terms will give you a basing understanding on how hosting works so you won’t be caught unaware when you finally decide to host your first website. You will meet these terms everywhere. Just make sure you are well acquainted with them.
- Servers. These are power computers used to host websites, web applications and are always connected online through a powerful internet link.
- Domain. A domain names enables visitors to identify and access a website through a browser. For my website’s domain is www.ictguy.com.
- Top-Level Domains (TLDs). These are suffixes put at the end of a domain e.g .com, .net, .ug etc
- Subdomains. A subdomains are further extensions or divisions of a domain. They allow you setup setup several websites on the same domain. An example would be m.facebook.com, where ‘m’ is the subdomain while facebook.com is the main domain.
- Content Management Systems (CMSs). A software that is used to create and manage websites. Examples: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal etc
- Bandwidth. This is the rate at which data is transferred between a website and computers connected to it within a specific period time. Many web hosts restrict bandwidth usage depending on the hosting plan you choose.
- Hosting plans. These are types of hosting broken down into smaller packages. The more expensive a plan is, the better features and performance you should expect.
- Website migrations. The process of moving a website from one host to another.
- Domain migrations. The process of moving a domain from one registrant to another.
- Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates. A technology that tells your website visitors that your website is ‘secure’ and that it uses HTTPS to protect their information.
- E-commerce. Sometimes called online commerce, is the entire field of selling goods and services online.
- Website builders. Tools used to build basic websites without the need to be knowing programming.
- Domain Name Servers (DNSs). These are the servers that are used to convert human readable names of hosts ot IP addresses. They keep records about which website is assigned to which domain name.
- Web hosting control panel. A graphical internface or dashboard where you can interact with and manage your server.
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP). This is the technology that allows you to interact with your server files and transfer them from to your local computer and vice-versa. FileZilla is a very popular tool used to do this.
- Disk space. Hard drive volume where your website files are stored.
- CPU / Core. A hardware that processes large amounts of information and tasks. CPU usually only matters when purchasing dedicate or cloud hosting plans.
- Operating system. An environment that provides a way for users to interact with hardware. Sometimes referred to as a hosting platform. You can install multiple tools that enable to administer your hosting.
- Server uptime. This is the amount of time a server stays up and running. Usually measured in percentage e.g 99.9% uptime. Uptime is one way determine a good web hosting service.
- Live chat. This is the easiest way to contact your hosting provider online. Live chats are used to resolve immediate questions from clients of a web hosting provider.
Above are the most popular web hosting terms. I hope they will make your webhosting life much easier and simpler and also help you understand principles of better website functioning.
Start Your First Website Today And Go Live Online
Now that you know everything about web hosting in Uganda, why not start you website today and host it? If you are ready to get started, here is the quickest way to register a domain, signup for a hosting account and let your website go live in just few steps.
- Go to BlueHost.com to get a special discount using link
- Choose a hosting package that works for you (basic package recommended for a single site).
- All packages come with a free domain. You can’t miss this.
- Pay for the service using bank card or paypal.
- Check your email for a confirmation email and log into your hosting account.
- Login to Bluehost control panel and install the WordPress software on your website.
- Login to WordPress dashboard and customize your website the way you want.
- Done. You can now start publishing on your website.
If you aren’t a tech-savvy person, I can help you setup a professional WordPress website for free. Claim Your Offer Here.
Now that you know everything about web hosting in Uganda, the only thing you can do build a website and buy yourself one [Web host]. However I do not encourage you to go free hosting if you are planning to host a serious project. Only use free hosts to test your projects.
If you have any more questions about The Ultimate guide to web hosting in Uganda, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. I will try to address all your concerns.
Thank you for reading!