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Website hosting providers in SA and some anti-hacking advice(March 2018)

Published March 2018

This article is meant to be all about the different hosting providers in South Africa, but before I get into telling you who offers what, at the best price and the overall reputation of these service providers, I wanted to touch on another related subject.

I have recently had to assist a few companies which have fallen victim to hacking. There really does appear to have been a spike in attacks. Some clients hosted on my servers, and some on other hosting company servers. Some developers blamed hosting providers for lack of security, and then some hosting providers blamed website designer plug-ins and code. The fact is, the designers, hosting providers and web owners are not at fault here. It is the cybercriminals.

Unfortunately, as with any crime, the owner of property bears the risk of loss, damage or theft. Same as when you buy a car, cell phone, house or even a pair of shoes. If you own something, it can be damaged, stolen or lost.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

With over 30 000 websites hacked every day, it is reasonable to call this type of crime an epidemic. So what can you do, if you own a website, to reduce the risk of being attacked? The phrase to accept here is ‘reduce risk’ because there is no way to prevent your website from being hacked 100%. You can only take reasonable steps to help reduce the risk. Some of these steps can be taken by developers, some by hosting providers, but some steps must be taken by the clients, themselves.

So, as a website owner, work through this checklist on your website with your web designer:

  • Update your website. As with anything older, it is more fragile. Make sure you update your site with new versions every two years.
  • Back-up everything. Not only on the server, but make a local copy.
  • Lockdown your networks. Routers, PCs and devices. Change passwords frequently.
  • Firewall everything you can.
  • Security applications and plug-ins – if you can add these onto the framework of your website do so.
  • Reduce file uploads and limit forms.
  • Make sure your PC has a virus program and do not access Cpanels / FTP in public places.
  • Change passwords every few weeks – server, mailboxes, you name it. Do it.
  • And finally, for you to request from your developer: Encrypted SSL protocol, HTTPS guarantees, CSP and use parameterized queries and secure directory services and file permissions.

If you feel that your website and business might be at further risk, try one of these specialized companies:
http://www.tct.co.za or https://www.magix.co.za/.

You can look at installing one of the popular security plug-ins for WordPress, as listed below. These are paid-subscriptions:

You will need help with most of the above from your website designer. There are hundreds of website designers in South Africa to choose from, of which I would only consider a handful. (less than 20).

So who are they, what do they cost, what can they do and who are my top-two recommendations for South African businesses? Let’s go through a quick summary of each.

It is important for me to make clear that more people complain than compliment. When doing research, expect some negative feedback about any supplier. Look rather to see if the complaint was resolved or even received attention – because a good company will react.

www.elitehost.co.za

Personal hosting, domains, SSL and more.

Overview from their site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

They have separate pricing plans for companies:

Business hosting from R90 / month.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

They also cover virtual private servers. From R200 – R800 / month, overview:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

A lot of complaints in 2015 about downtime:
https://mybroadband.co.za/vb/showthread.php/716638-EliteHost-offline

Some complaints here, but none I personally agree with. In general, good feedback:
https://www.hellopeter.com/elitehost

Also found this complaint, but I don’t agree with it either:
https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/elitehost-net/nationwide/elitehost-net-elite-host-suddenly-my-site-offline-host-asks-for-more-money-to-keep-my-si-482081

www.domains.co.za

Also offering domains, hosting and SSL services, but with some added services like a Site Builder.

Also offers ADSL.

Summary from their site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Associated services – which I like that they display on their website:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Their social media rep. has some mixed reactions here, some a bit of a concern for me:
https://www.hellopeter.com/domains-co-za

Some improvement requests for support and downtime:
https://hostadvice.com/hosting-company/domains-co-za-reviews/

www.hetzner.co.za

Offering domains, hosting, self-managed servers and managed servers. (I am a client of theirs)

Summary from site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Online rep. best I’ve seen on this platform:
https://www.hellopeter.com/hetzner

Some mixed feedback on:
https://hostadvice.com/hosting-company/hetzner-online-reviews/

Not such great feedback on:
http://www.hostjury.com/reviews/hetzner

www.afrihost.com

Also a nice full spread of services: Domains, hosting, dedicated servers, managed dedicated hosting, Cloud hosting and, of course, ADSL. (I happen to use them for some of my work)

Summary from their site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Mainly complaints about Internet service:
https://www.hellopeter.com/afri-host-com

More complaints on Internet service than hosting:
https://hostadvice.com/hosting-company/afrihost-reviews/

www.gridhost.co.za

Offering domains, SSL certificate, site builder, hosting, VPS hosting, NET web hosting (for Windows applications) and dedicated servers.

Summary from their website:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Quite a few complaints about customer service, specifically:
https://www.hellopeter.com/gridhost

Customer service complaints in terms of answering phones instead of email support:
https://hostadvice.com/hosting-company/gridhost-reviews/

www.mweb.co.za

Offering a nice full house of services: hosting, ADSL, Fibre and mobile wireless, MS Office 365 and what I found interesting and different: AVG Internet Security.

Summary from their website:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Some negative reports on incompetent staff resulting in bad customer service:
https://www.hellopeter.com/mweb-business

Similar complaints on:
https://hostadvice.com/hosting-company/mweb-reviews/

www.host4africa.com

Offers a range of hosting and domains.

Summary from their site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

More complaints about incompetent and rude staff,
https://www.hellopeter.com/host4africa

www.openhost.co.za

Simply domains and hosting.

Summary from website:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

I could not find reports on Open Host on any major client feedback site.

www.mihost.co.za

Offering hosting, domains, VPS and ADSL.

Summary from site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Also, no reports on Open Host.

www.smartweb.co.za

Offering domains, hosting and SSL certificates.

Summary from site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

The only complaint here is that nobody is contactable for support:
https://www.hellopeter.com/httpssmartwebcomng/reviews/the-worst-web-hosting-provider-2341797

www.bluesteam.net

Hosting for local and international servers, domains and, web designers’ arch enemy, self-website builder.

Summary from website:

Local hosting.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

International Hosting

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Associated services:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

No reports for this provider as yet.

www.webcrew.co.za

Offering hosting, domains, website design and SEO.

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

No reports for this supplier on any major feedback site.

www.websitedesign.co.za

I thought I’d throw this in as competition to Webcrew, also offering hosting, domains, website design, SEO, Adwords, content creation, corporate identity, logo design and apps… and is first on Google. (Yes, I'm punting my own interests here)

Summary from site – notice pricing is annual, not monthly.:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

www.frikkadel.co.za

Love their name!

Offering domains, hosting, VPS servers and website builder.

Summary from site:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Very few complaints:
https://www.hellopeter.com/frikkadel-co-za

And for a change, let’s add a compliment here:
https://hostadvice.com/hosting-company/frikkadel-reviews/

www.amplehosting.co.za

Offering hosting, domains, site builder, dedicated hosting and shared web hosting. (Most companies offer this)

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Slightly heavy on the negative side of feedback:
https://www.hellopeter.com/ample-hosting

An overview summary.

Disclaimer!

Many of the less costly options have traffic / space restrictions, forcing you to upgrade.

Information is based on a simple Google search, information loaded at the time article was prepared:

Jean-Pierre Murray-Kline - Internet & Social Media Specialist

Published March 2018

Disclaimer:

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