eStart Computer Services has been helping businesses, individuals, and organizations manage their online presence since the year 2000. This South African company offers web hosting and domain registration as well as web application development services, SSL certificates, and search engine optimization (SEO).
eStart is a ZA Central Registry registrar for the .co.za, .net.za, .web.za, and .org.za domains, and it will also handle .joburg, .africa, .durban, and .capetown domains when they become available.
eStart’s main website supports English, and its client area supports 25 additional languages.
Features and Ease of Use
eStart offers four Linux shared hosting plans and one reseller plan. The shared hosting plans give you:
- 99% uptime
- One to unlimited domains
- cPanel control panel
- 200 MB to 30 GB storage
- 5 GB to 100 GB bandwidth
- 10 to unlimited email accounts
- Free SSL certificates
- Daily backups
- Cron jobs
- Spam and antivirus filters
- Support for PHP, Ruby on Rails, CGI, and Perl
Except for the “Starter” plan, all other plans provide from five to unlimited MySQL databases, a free .co.za domain for the first year (with annual billing), the Softaculous one-click installer, and the RVsitebuilder website builder. Softaculous lets you install over 300 applications such as WordPress with a single click whereas RVsitebuilder helps you create a professional website via a simple drag-and-drop interface. If you really don’t want to create your website yourself, you can call on eStart’s web design and development services.
When you host a website with eStart, it will submit your site to search engines for free. But since getting a good search engine ranking means more than merely submitting your site, eStart also offers SEO services.
Pricing and Support
eStart’s shared hosting plans are incredibly cheap. You can pay in various currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, and ZAR) by bank transfer, debit order, cash deposit, EFT, credit card, PayPal, or Skrill (formerly Moneybookers). Billing cycles are monthly to yearly on all but the “Starter” plan that is only available on annual terms, and you can get a 10% discount for choosing a one-year term.
Although you can supposedly contact eStart’s customer support team via telephone, email, Skype, online form, and support ticket, my exploratory email received no response. Self-support resources are provided in the form of a download section (to download manuals, files, and programs), a knowledge base (containing just 13 entries), and an extensive set of Flash-based of tutorials: