The first step before you put up your gorgeous website on the internet is to identify and subscribe to a web hosting service and purchase a domain name. There are free options available but opting for them lacks the personalization and customization. However, with customizations comes another factor – the technical requirements to set up, configure and maintain the hosting environment. If you engage a website designer for your project, it is likely that your designer will recommend the hosting company of his/her choice and set up the environment for you. But if you, like many others who tread the path of “I will try to do it myself first”, or you are a web designer looking for a place to host or migrate your own website or for the potentially many clients that you might get, you realize that you get lost with the many options that you can find on the internet.
Surely it might be an easy pick to go with the big boys, the established companies who host big name clients in Singapore but hold on that click for a moment! Here’s my personal (and unpaid) review for WebHostSG, a dedicated and motivated hosting company in Singapore and is ready to put the foot in and stack up with the big boys.
WebHostSG is a registered business entity with ACRA and although they have been around for couple of years, they went on a hiatus but made a comeback about three years ago. Since then they have revved up the engine to set up and provide many services and packages that are essential to any website and business owners. The prices are very attractive and comparable if not more affordable than many others.
I personally know the owner of WebHostSG, Effendy who shared his business ideas and plans which I find it ambitious and achievable. Something that impresses me is how he manage to rebuild his business in a short period of time, setting up all the services that he has now and providing them at affordable rates, streamlining processes for both his clients and himself and is very dedicated to providing not only support to clients but valuable feedback and suggestions which made everyone happy. This very dedicated approach and care will definitely go a long way!
They go by the tagline “Affordable, Fast, Secure”, I dive down a bit to share my thoughts of their services.
Typically, like any other hosting companies, WebHostSG provides several hosting flavors like shared, VPS and dedicated hosting, web security, domain registration, and business e-mail solutions. All of you need for your online business footprint can be set up and managed under one provider. If you are based in Singapore and majority of your clients are within the country then take a look at Singapore Web Hosting plan. It starts at only $1.99 per month! That is an awesomely good deal if you are a start-up, home and small business owners.
All of the Singapore hosting plans comes with premium security enhancements such as a free website anti-malware service, SSL Certificate and hacker protection with CageFS Hacker protection. The servers run on a supercharged Linux Raid-10 SSD drive server and like many others in the market, it is loaded with the very popular cPanel where you can manage your domains, websites, and others. In terms of what is provided, it meets the market standard. They have four different plans where each is nicely priced catered to specific needs. One key factor to consider is scalability. You will need to ensure that you can have the option to add more space or bandwidth when it is required and WebHostSG is able to accommodate this.
Domain Names & Web Security
WebHostSG provides one of the best deals in town for domain names. Prices for a top-level domain like .com or .net starts from $19.00 and country-level domain such as .sg or .com.sg starts from $49.95. They have other options available such as .asia, .biz, .co, .digital and many more. This goes the same also for the SSL Certificates that they offer. Not only they provide one of the most affordable out there in the market, but there are many options available and that if you are not familiar with SSL certs, you will be overwhelmed by the options available! But fret not, their friendly, honest and helpful sales and support reps will be there to assist you. A domain validated (DV) SSL certificate goes for as low as $15/year and an extended validation (EV) SSL certificate starts from $220 per year. They provide SSL certificates from major providers such as Symantec, RapidSSL, Comodo, and GeoTrust.
Every business should have their own domain name and while website hosting is not necessary (although highly recommended), you can use domain names for other purposes such as to personalize your e-mail addresses like Hello@mycompanyname.com. E-mail is a key communication tool for any businesses so there are certain factors to consider when looking out for a solution such as, storage size per mailbox, maximum attachment size, e-mail synchronization, calendars, auto-responders, collaboration tools and security features. Most hosting providers provides a basic layer of security and anti-virus protection for their e-mail hosting plans although additional security features are always available as an additional add-on.
“Things to look out for your e-mail plans include mailbox size, maximum attachment size, e-mail synchronization between various devices, auto-responders and security features”
There are three e-mail hosting options with WebHostSG:
- Business E-mail
- Enterprise E-mail
GSuite needs no introduction; it has been chosen by many from the small companies to big and famous names.
Their business and enterprise e-mail solutions is almost similar but with just $2 more per month and per user, you will upsize your mailbox from 5GB to 25GB and that also comes with a 5GB file storage space! The e-mail solutions runs on Open Exchange (OX7) and there is a demo site where you can test and have a look and feel how the webmail interface. As with all other modern day e-mail hosting plans, you can setup and check your e-mails from a web browser or through an e-mail client like Microsoft Outlook or on your smartphones. Bundled with the enterprise plan is Flock, a team collaboration software and messaging platform. I have not personally use it but head down to their website and try out the demo.
A quick cost comparison that I have done against other hosting companies here shows that WebHostSG probably provides the most affordable deal in town! Going only at $0.95 per user per month with a 5GB mailbox size! The enterprise e-mail cost only $2.95 per user per month with the same 5GB mailbox and 25GB file storage size! That is a whooping 30GB space in all that cost less than a plate of chicken rice (well at most places). You may find deals going at $5.99 per month for 5 users with a 25GB storage space, 50GB E-mail storage space for up to 5 e-mail accounts at $19.99 per month, or a 1GB mailbox size for up to 3 users at $4 per month.
There are many e-mail options available out there in the market; you need to determine the storage space and number of mailboxes you require. The e-mail solution provided by WebHostSG is something that you can consider.
How Fast is Fast?
Their definition of fast, as stated on their website, refers to more than just providing a server with supercharged components that will make your website run fast and smooth. Nevertheless, two things that I can vouch for is the provisioning of your website and the technical support. Once you are done with your registration and made payment for your purchase, your website can be provisioned and made online within an hour! For the eager beaver this can be handy as you can get access to your control panel quickly.
“Our provisioning is almost instant, so long as all the details you provide are accurate during sign up, your website can be online within 1 hour.”
The technical support/assistance rendered whenever you need help is often fast too. When I log a support request either by text or e-mail, I normally get a reply within the hour and problem was then resolved on the day itself. As far as I can remember, it took no longer, than 4 hours to get something resolved. The support seems to be active also during non-business hours, you never feel like you have been left in the dark.
Getting into the crux of the matter, screenshot below shows you the page speed of websites that are hosted by them. It is essential to note that many factors can affect a website performance like a badly designed, un-optimized and made for slowness website! There are many tools available out there for you to do this sort of test but for this simple test I use Bitcatcha and Webpagetest.org. Key points I would like to show here is:
- Response time by the server from a location in Singapore
- Overall performance grading (Bitcatcha).
- First Byte Time using webpagetest.org.
Note: Google’s recommendation for the server response time is ideally within 200 milliseconds (the faster the better), and Time to First Byte (TTFB) is measured as the time from the start of the initial navigation until the first byte of the base page Is received by the browser. 0.1-0.2 seconds is considered as very good while 0.6-0.9 is considered average. Anything above 1 is considered as above average and work needs to be done to improve on that aspect.
Sample Test 1
Sample Test 2
Sample Test 3
Sample Test 4
Results from both test on the three different website produce a great overall result. Response times from websites hosted locally in Singapore is exceptionally quick while the sites that is hosted in the US return a response time of 235ms, not too far off from the 200ms mark that Google is recommending. Time to First Byte test also generate an above satisfactory result except for one of the test that clocks at 1.928s, this might not be entirely the hosting server fault but might be worth probing the website codes and performance, which is out of scope here. The results speaks for itself and it is worth to consider WebHostSG as your next hosting provider or to migrate your existing one to them if you are looking for a better hosting service and quality!
There are many hosting companies that you can find here in Singapore but as a website designer and if you ask me for a recommendation then WebHostSG will be my first pick. Having hosted with them for 7 to 8 years now (even before their temporary hiatus) for both personal and client websites, I will certainly recommend them again. While we are all familiar with all the name of the big boys in the industry, we often can find a young and energetic companies like WebHostSG trying to break into the mark into the market. With the services and products that they provided, I believe one day they will stack up with the rest. Big or small, businesses will always want to uphold the good name for themselves and I am sure that WebHostSG will continue to provide the quality products and services and perhaps improve even more in the future!
- Affordable pricing, will entice the start-ups and small-medium businesses.
- No price increment on renewal.
- Quick deployment of website after successful sign up and purchase of products.
- Great website speed and reliability – available to access website and control panel day and night.
- Downtime for maintenance is at the very minimal!
- Server location is in Singapore
- Free SiteLock Lite and Let’s Encryp SSL
- Extensive and affordable SSL certificates
- Great to have more databases on the startup plan
- A detailed price table to compare plan
- WordPress hosting plans will be a great add-on.