If you have any familiarity with the online marketing world; you'd notice that A2 Hosting is currently the most popular web host in Pakistan. Why do I say this...

Well, just head-on to Google trends (it's a service for webmasters) and type in their name. Then pull up the last 12 month old charts; now notice the how popular this web host has become in Pakistan, even in India and Bangladesh.

So, I did a bit of digging into it, or sort of did a review of their entire brand. Turns out, they've been pretty involved in expanding their network and now specifically compete for business in this emerging market economy. Right now, when it comes foreign companies; GoDaddy barely holds the reins, and that is also because they got good SEO (search engine optimization) going on like pk.godaddy.com; where they've allocated an entire subdomain for this purpose and cheap pricing (not that A2hosting doesn't). Honestly, they do this for every country outside the US.

Despite this, A2hosting is giving them [Godaddy] a tough time and snatching away customers, like when a new biryani restaurant opens up and takes over the city. Fact is they're simply better than Godaddy and many others in the business of hosting sites.

"It took me around 2 weeks to setup my account at Godaddy," said Ahmad Siddique, from Karachi. He works from home as a webmaster. "I am not good at spoken English, and there is really no way to send them an email or open a support ticket.

"This really made me angry back then. But, come to think of it, they're good if one is living in America and can call them locally. I can't speak in English, so they never worked for me," he added while talking to us over the phone in Urdu.

"A2 Hosting is the only one that made any sense to me," said Faiza, an IT engineering student studying at NUST in Islamabad. "Moving away from Godaddy was one of the best things that happened to my blog."

The above are just a couple among numerous stories of the victories of A2hosting's rapid growth and Godaddy's slow but sure defeat in Pakistan.

Then there are local firms based in major cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar to name a few, that fiercely fight these international brands to grab their share of this multi-billion rupee pie.

Users are sometimes in a quandary (confused) whether to host a domain name in Pakistan, or a data center in the United States or the UK.

Here's a secret. Most local ones are resellers.

Bandwidth in Pakistan is expensive and the infrastructure, although rapidly becoming world class still has its ups and downs. For mission critical sites, for example, online shopping stores; downtime can be costly - sometimes in millions of rupees. It is therefore a good idea to host the website in a US-based data center.

Other than say, the PTCL, Fiberlink and telecom companies (Mobilink, Telenor, Zong, Ufone) none of them actually have their own data centers. Hmm, perhaps Cybernet can be given a break; they do have their own infrastructure, but their core customers are local corporates, not a person with Rs. 20,000 budget for the year.

Hosting your domain name with an American hosting company can save you a lot of money, even if they charge you in US dollars. They typically offer tons of bandwidth and unlimited space for as little as Rs. 10,000 per year. Whereas a local firm can charge that amount every month.

Overall uptime, customer service and network reliability are also far superior. Don't believe the rubbish spewed on a few websites that say it's always down. That's a lie; usually, promoted by jealous rivals.

Data protection is important. Western countries have strong laws that prohibit unauthorized access to personal data. If your files are of a critical nature, the best call of action would be to go for hosting firm located outside Pakistan.

In addition; a Content Delivery Network activation makes the location of the data center irrelevant. For example, CloudFlare provides free CDN and DNS, and even has presence in the country through a strategic partnership with PTCL.

Without complicating or dragging on, majority of the local web hosts are simply white labeling: they build a website, but buy reseller hosting packages from companies like A2hosting, HostGator, or Inmotion Hosting etc., and then become the middlemen to earn the profits.

Who'd you rather go with? the man in between or the source?

My own experience of 17 odd years in the tech sector compels me to recommend going directly to the main guy.

So, you're here because you want to know if A2 Hosting would be an OK choice for your website. I'd say yes, it would. They have been around for more than a decade, possibly power hundreds of thousands of domain names.

From what I have learnt by emailing their support; a reasonable chunk of their customer support is actually based out of Pakistan. Take it with a grain of salt; but it wouldn't be far from the truth that while enjoying your stay with them, you'd encounter - provided you're the type that requires a lot of technical support - quite a number of people who work remotely for the company from places like Karachi and Lahore.

So, A2hosting might look foreign; in reality, it's more local than you can fathom.

It doesn't cost much to host with them. Actually, they're one of the cheapest around. For as little as $3.92 per month (with options to be billed yearly or biyearly) - you'd get cPanel and unlimited storage and bandwidth. Visit their site for more technical details. The pricing here has been listed in US dollars, because of the continuously fluctuating Pakistani exchange rate. Either way, the total damage to your wallet shouldn't be more than a few thousand rupees.

Payments to them can made through Visa, Mastercard debit and credit cards. Skrill and Unionpay can also be used.

A complete newbie might be tempted to go for companies like Wix, Shopify etc., but they are very expensive. Unless, you really know what you're doing and have the deep pockets to shell out 10s of thousands of rupees every month; stick to the basics.

And before I end; let me brief you on domain names. A2 Hosting does provide registrations for .com, .net etc., but for the .PK extension, I'd suggest you hit PKNIC. Buy the domain directly from them on their website.

Now, what are you waiting for. Go and sign up with them and free yourself from worries. Your focus should be getting sales for your site; not wasting time politicking with web hosting providers.


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