‘Toba Obaniyi, CEO of Whogohost Limited, is a graduate of Electronic and Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University. He finished in the top 5 percentile of his class in 2008.
He is a self taught web developer, server manager and online customer service specialist.
Obaniyi puts everything into what he believes and hates being second best. He has clearly experienced the impacts of being "nearly" accurate.
This is the very success story behind Whogohost as he has surrounded himself with a like-minded team that is very passionate about the business as he has been able to grow the indigenous web hosting provider from a small start up into the world class thriving enterprise and currently the largest hosting provider in Nigeria.
In this interview with peter oluka, Obaniyi shares the Company’s perspective with regards to data hosting, cybersecurity and sundry issues in the industry.
How WhoGoHost Started
WhoGoHost was actually found by Opeyemi Awoyemi, the founder of Jobberman, then as a student in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.
He was first, a web-designer, but realised that lot of people needed hosting, and it was difficult to source for international payments, so, he founded WhoGoHost.
WhoGoHost actually started as a reseller, but along the way, we realised that a lot of people would prefer to pay locally.
That was how we got the picture of growth potentials WhoGoHost can leverage in the country. We started as a startup company, however, according to statistics we are currently the largest in the country.
We have over 25,000 active domains hosted with us and growing aggressively and we manage our servers. We have a lot of SMEs hosted with us. In fact, the potentials are really great and we are not relenting on pushing the platform.
Localisation of Data Hosting
The global trends and from the technological point of view, it makes more sense that you are hosted where most of your traffics is coming from.
You will realize that a site that takes about three seconds to load, can actually load in less than a second.
What that also implies is that you don’t need so fast internet to access the website. There are organizations and businesses that most be hosted locally, principally, due to the transactions or the application is very sensitive to latency. So, such people need local hosting.
Partnership With MainOne & Intel
The beauty about the relationship is that, before now, is has been very difficult for small demand to be made for local hosting. That is what the partnership is bringing on the table.
We can be proud of more servers to serve the purpose. Before now, you will probably be talking about a large number of servers before you can even talk to a local hosting provider. But, now you don’t have to walk through the data centre any more, rather, you go through us and we can serve a very small demand and position you on the map.
The Security Point of View
Definitely, it gives organizations that host locally an edge, in terms of security. The truth is that the world has been working very hard to make the internet safe and secured.
No matter how you look at it, at some point, you would have to travel out of the country to access Google, Facebook, and the likes, even though that data is encrypted, there is still a risk of compromise, because the number of routes you have to go through before accessing the server means there is a room for compromise.
Imagine if your data is hosted locally, that means the risk is reduced dramatically. Yes, security might be an issue some times, but let us pretend the internet access between Africa and the rest of the world is blocked.
It implies that every server outside the Continent will not be accessible. Compare that to when you are hosted locally, even when there is fiber cut, you don’t need to have any issues with that, because you are still hosted locally.
Most of the service providers are connected through MainOne; that implies their internet is going to be very fast. I think that is one of the biggest advantages of the partnership.
Estimation of the Market Size (Financially)
I may not give estimation on naira and kobo, but the potentials are huge. Let me us this illustration: a lot of people are prettily concerned about security and they cannot afford to get cloud solutions outside the country.
So, they try as much as possible to host in their office complexes. If you look around, you will see such companies with their servers hosted in-house, which means, they have to worry about power, skill sets, cooling and all that.
Therefore, there are a lot of potentials with customers out there who can move their existing servers to this solution we are providing, so they don’t have to be bothered about hosting within their offices, but will be sure the data are hosted within Nigeria.
Lack of Skills Among SMEs
That is exactly one of the critical solutions we are bringing: taking the burden of lack of skills off the shoulders of the SMEs.
When you are cloud-hosted, it means you are outsourcing, which has been proven to be more cost effective. It means, you don’t need to have a team of about five people managing a server for you. So, as you get the servers from providers like WhoGoHost, we manage it for you or you can have a technical person, who will be mainly concerned with handling the applications, but not bothered about the network card of the server, the hardware, or the disks.
The company’s management don’t have to be bordered about power, cooling, or internet. Data centre readily manages a pool of resources for you; you just focus on your core competent areas.
Cost of Hosting Data Abroad vs Local Hosting
There are arguments about cost of internet provisioning between Lagos and Abuja been more expensive that connecting between Lagos and London, but, in my opinion, if the fibre between Lagos and Abuja is cost, how much will it cost from Lagos to London.
That argument is probably using V-Sat. But, obviously, it is cheaper in-country too. The truth of the matter is that when it data hosting, the cost will be based on demand.
As demand increases, it will be much easier to reduce prices. That is what we are hoping we would achieve in a very short time.
The price is not yet as competitive, however, they are not so high. That’s why we are majoring on those that need local hosting. We do not compete against those international providers. We are not interested in competing with the international hosting providers.
There are a lot of people that demand for local hosting and the interesting things is that hosting locally is usually very expensive. When they get to data centre, they will be required to demand a particular speed, similar to what we have with the internet.
When you get a modem, you have 100MB, 250MB, etc., depending on your demand. That is what it used to be. But with this partnership, the rates will crash.
A lot of things have been considered with this partnership and we are going to do a lot more. This is just a pilot phase, as the demands keep coming, we shall be analyzing them and definitely price will get cheaper and we will start offering unique solutions to Nigerian SMEs, probably what other providers have not thought of.
User Education as Panacea to Curb Security Breaches
We have realized that a lot of people do not understand how to ‘play’ in the internet space. Getting to the internet is easy; you just pay or get is free.
A lot of things are free so people don’t invest on knowing what is important for them to keep safe. the best things to do about internet education is to keep educating people and that is what we have tried to do.
That is where the media come in too, to let people understand the negative impacts of some attitudes they display online. Imagine you acquired a house, very beautiful.
Or, you put a door made of wood, but there is no gate at the entrance to the compound. Or there is a gate, but there is no padlock. So, when you are building a house, you would have put those things into consideration, same way when you are building a website.
When you have a server, you have to put the security apparatuses too. So, service providers can do their beats, but users need to go the extra mile by taking into cognizance the steps to avoid breaches.
It may be something a elementary as not using 123 as your password, or get as complex as upgrading your applications, software or things that some of them may be cumbersome, but at the end, pay off. WhoGoHost will not relent on educating and advising people on security.