Oluniyi Ajao is the founder of Web4Africa, a reliable and quick web hosting provider. The business has a presence in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and even some parts of Europe. The company offers a wide array of services, including but not limited to, WordPress hosting, affordable domain name registration and other forms of dedicated digital hosting.
Oluniyi was able to spend some time answering a few of our questions about Web4Africa and the nature of the industry.
Oluniyi, how did Web4Africa begin and what was the reason behind this?
Web4Africa was started in September 2002 in Accra Ghana to offer affordable web services to clients in Africa and elsewhere in the world. It began out of the need to serve our core market with professional web design services. At the time, web solutions were in short supply in the local market.
The company has since evolved into a world-class web hosting company and a leading ICANN Accredited Domain Name Registrar in the Africa region. We now have datacentre presence across 4 countries in Africa – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
Were there any big challenges you had to deal with during the start-up phase?
Yes, there were several. Online payment was very scarce as no local bank in most African countries offered credit/debit cards that could be used online at that time. We had to innovate on payment collection in other to build an e-commerce ecosystem.
Another challenge was the low Internet penetration and low awareness. The internet was nowhere as ubiquitous as it is now. We had to first educate our core market about the benefits of taking their business online before we could make a sale.
Which service do you find is your most popular option and why do you think this is the case?
Regular web hosting is one of our most popular services. One can say this is the case because it is the most mainstream service that every individual or entity can relate with. To have a website online or have access to a private email service, you would usually need a web hosting account. It is pivotal to having an online existence.
For example, a domain name on it’s own offers little value if it is not pointed to a server. In most cases, this would be through a web hosting service.
What is the difference between Windows Hosting and Reseller Hosting?
Windows Hosting typically refers to a shared hosting service that is powered by a Windows Server operating system. It comes with Windows technologies like ASP.net programming language, MSSQL database system among others. It benefits those aligned to Microsoft web technologies.
Reseller Hosting on the other hand typically refers to a specialized type of anchor hosting account that allows the user to create multiple regular hosting plans and accounts. It is usually targeted about web designers who wish to host multiple websites independently or those who wish to resell hosting.
They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. A Reseller Hosting service can be based on a Windows Server and thus would be tagged a Windows Reseller Hosting service.
How do you differentiate your offerings from your main industry competitors?
We pride ourselves in offering excellent services backed by world-class infrastructure. We constantly evolve and innovate not only to stay relevant in the industry but to offer more value to our clients. We invest heavily in growing our infrastructure in other to serve better.
We are constantly innovating and aim to target the entire diverse 54 countries in Africa eventually.
What internal processes do you use to ensure your services are affordable?
We are at the peak of the domain name supply chain by being one of about a dozen ICANN Accredited Domain Registrars in the Africa region. We are thus able to deal directly with the respective domain registries and offer domain names at reasonable prices.
Owning every aspect of our hosting services also means we can save costs in our operations. We own the hosting servers, network infrastructure and a dual-stack IP network.
What would be your advice to other business owners trying to break into the industry?
Rising through the ranks takes a lot of persistence and hard work. It helps to also aim at offering excellent services at all time. Responsive customer service is a key to success in this industry.
Thank you Oluniyi for sharing your thoughts with us!
You can follow up with Oluniyi Ajao at web4africa.com