TL; DR: Today, less than 2% of Nigerian businesses have contracts with domestic hosting companies, but QServers, based in the country’s blossoming tech hub Lagos, wants to change that. QServers touts the benefits of local hosting, including speed, affordability, and responsive customer service. With more than a decade of experience in Nigeria, QServers has demonstrated a long-term commitment to hosting and security so local businesses can build their brands for the future.
Web hosting on the African continent is an underdeveloped industry. In a 2017 study from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), only one African nation — South Africa — hosted the majority of its country’s websites.
Nigeria has a particularly low number of domestically hosted sites. Only 1.3% of Nigerian websites (.ng) are hosted within the country. That means that there are nearly 100,000 domains (98.7%) outsourced to other countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands.
With so many websites hosted outside the country, Nigeria is losing out on significant revenue that could stay within its borders. Each year, more than 21.8 billion naira (the Nigerian currency) — around $59.8 million — leaves the country to pay for international hosting services.
Seun Kehinde, Founder and CEO of QServers, wants to change this outsourcing mentality in Nigeria. After founding the company to offer comprehensive IT services in 2004, Seun and his colleagues switched the company’s focus to hosting in 2008.
“A lot of people say, you should be doing this or doing that, but we won’t get sidetracked. Our motto is to be the best at what we do,” he said.
For years, QServers steadily gained market share in the mostly outsourced Nigerian hosting market. Over time, the company demonstrated its commitment to local businesses and began expanding its client base.
“We believed that the internet was the future. Other services faded away, but we were one of the first pioneers that stuck with it,” Seun said.
Bringing the Benefits of Local Hosting to Nigerian Companies
While local hosting in Nigeria is still a growing market, QServers believes in the benefits of domestic hosting. Rather than being one of the hundreds — if not thousands or more — of an international host’s clients, QServers customers can work one-on-one with a representative. That level of customer service is an important differentiating factor for any business.
“Some companies don’t want to go international because they won’t have that close relationship. With QServers, if customers have an issue, they can just walk in, and we will advise them,” Seun said.
For many Nigerian businesses, that close connection with QServers has made all the difference. Instead of having to discuss issues remotely with hosting companies, often in different time zones, clients can talk with a person. That level of human support has made all the difference for QServers clients.
The host also offers consultations that can help clients grow their web presences and transactional offerings. In a country — and on a continent — that has embraced the internet more slowly than many Western nations, that is an invaluable service.
QServers also aims to onboard more Nigerian small businesses, as they begin to see that the country has the infrastructure in place to reliably host its own domains.
And QServers continues to invest most of its profits into growing the business and creating better service for its clients. That effort has gained QServers a loyal following of local companies and organizations that have worked with the company for years.
“Our current customers drive our business growth. Some have been with us for six years, others for nine,” Seun said.
A Single-Minded Company Focus on Meeting Customer Needs
As more Nigerian — and African — businesses enter the online marketplace, QServers has taken the lessons it has learned through a decade of hosting to improve customer service, technical support, and capacity. The company wants to be ready to help small businesses get up and running quickly.
Seun knows that the value of a local host lies in its ability to respond quickly to its customers’ needs. If a local company chooses a Nigerian host, it expects to have its needs addressed more expeditiously than if it were working with an international company.
“You have to give good 24-hour service,” Seun said.
At the same time, local hosting must also aim to meet international standards. Nigerian businesses may want a domestic hosting partner, but if that host doesn’t offer the same features and tools that an international host does, a business owner may have no choice but to look abroad.
Seun has long understood this expectation. In response, he ensures that QServers meet not only the Nigerian standards of customer service, but also the speed, complexity, and user capacity expectations matching those on an international scale.
“They can’t risk their business on our growth. So, we’ve raised our service to international standards,” he said.
To match these international standards, Seun has traveled around the world to study expectations for web hosting. The Nigerian businesses that want to work with a local hosting company will not stay with one that isn’t as knowledgeable as others they’ve experienced.
“For eCommerce, payment integration has become one important feature in most sites today, as users tend to want a commercial platform where transactions are conducted electronically on the internet for payment collection on their site,” Seun said. “As a result, QServers has partnered with Interswitch — a payment solution company — to integrate websites with payment gateways for free on some specific shopping cart platforms.”
And with a focus on customer service and meeting international expectations, Seun said he feels like QServers is nearly there.
“The future’s very bright. With the internet being what it is, we’re happy we’re where we’re at as a company,” Seun said.
QServers: Expanding While Offering Unmatched Value
QServers has been focused on local hosting in Nigeria for more than a decade. So, unlike other hosting companies that may spring up in response to a surge in Nigerian hosting demand, it isn’t going anywhere.
“Some businesses have sold their operations, but we’re deep-rooted, and we’re going to invest a lot of money into growth and servers,” Seun said.
“Data policies are changing every day in IT. The Nigerian police domain, Nigerian custom services domains, all those services, their domains should not be hosted abroad. Since we’re one of the top hosting companies in Nigeria now, we need to find a way to look into the future. Our next plan is to expand to our own infrastructure.” — Seun Kehinde, Founder and CEO of QServers
And QServers plans to expand its hosting reach in the future. As laws shift, local hosting might become even more of a reality for all African domains.
“Data policies are changing every day in IT. The Nigerian police domain, Nigerian custom services domains, all those services, their domains should not be hosted abroad,” Seun said. “Since we’re one of the top hosting companies in Nigeria now, we need to find a way to look into the future. Our next plan is to expand to our own infrastructure.”
The plan is to build a datacenter capable of hosting the largest Nigerian-based websites. By 2019, the company plans to offer everything locally, including the new datacenter, which it expects to test run soon.
With an eye toward expansion and meeting customer needs over the last decade, QServers has demonstrated its commitment to bringing viable domestic web hosting to Nigeria.
“What I’ve learned is that you should never give someone the chance to beat you in the market, so you need to have the lowest costs and the best service,” Seun said.
QServers wants to be a leader in the marketplace and help businesses in Nigeria grow within the country’s borders.
And since dedicating itself to hosting in 2008, that is what QServers has accomplished.