Afrihost’s incredible money-back promise

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For more than twenty years, Afrihost has offered an impressive guarantee on several of its products, promising to pay customers the value of their package if they are unhappy about anything and cancel.

This double-your-money-back promise traces back to before 2004, when Afrihost only offered web hosting and wanted to encourage prospective customers to try its products.

While it has evolved to address abuse, keep pace with market shifts, and incorporate broadband products, Afrihost’s extraordinary guarantee remains in effect to this day.

Founded in 1999, Afrihost made a name for itself in South Africa’s hosting space for ten years before entering the broadband market.

In the late nineties, hosting a website was prohibitively expensive. Companies like Mweb and Internet Solutions (now NTT Data) charged R550 per month for a basic hosting package.

This inspired Afrihost’s founders to offer much cheaper web hosting services, including a domain and hosting package for only R150 per month.

Offering a competing service at a heavily discounted rate helped to popularise web hosting in South Africa — a strategy they would use to great effect many years later to enter the broadband market.

Working through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine revealed that Afrihost offered a 12-month money-back guarantee since before 2004 to encourage new users to try its products.

According to Afrihost’s old website, it had offered the guarantee for several years by 2004.

The guarantee was personally signed by Afrihost CEO Gian Visser on the company’s webpage, complete with an option to pop it up into its own window and print it out for your records.

Under the terms of the guarantee, clients could ask for all money paid to Afrihost up to a full year after signing up should they be unhappy with anything.

“If you are not delighted with your website’s uptime and speed… or if you’re ever unhappy with your hosting for any reason… You will promptly be written a cheque for every cent you have paid Afrihost within the year of first signing up,” Visser’s promise read.

“By the way, this guarantee is in effect up until the final minute of the final day of the 12-month guarantee period. That’s how confident I am that Afrihost.com does indeed provide the Best Web Hosting… Ever!”

Afrihost’s initial 12-month money-back guarantee

A few months later, the Afrihost website was revamped and the guarantee amended to 90 days. This promised a no-questions-asked money-back guarantee within the first 90 days of buying a service.

By 2007, Afrihost had changed it to a 30-day money-back guarantee, but had also introduced its 100% “Rest Easy” warranty.

This was the first occurrence of Afrihost’s double-your-money-back guarantee, promising 100% website uptime, or they pay you for the inconvenience.

“This is honestly unheard of in the web hosting industry and the simple truth is that a 100% web hosting uptime throughout a year is not theoretically possible,” Afrihost stated.

“So why are we doing it then? We believe that we are the best web hosting provider for you and we don’t want you to hesitate for even a moment to host your website with us.”

Afrihost guaranteed that if the server a website was hosted on goes down at any time, it would pay clients double their monthly fee back.

“If we don’t deliver you don’t pay — in fact we pay you,” it said.

This promise was in effect until around the end of 2008, after which it transformed into the first version of the Afrihost guarantee the company still offers today.

Gian Visser, Afrihost CEO

In 2009, Afrihost scrapped its 100% uptime warranty and offered a 90-day double-your-money-back guarantee instead.

The following year, Afrihost changed it to a 60-day guarantee — the same one still in effect nearly fifteen years later.

That same year, Afrihost disrupted the ADSL broadband market by launching its R29 per gigabyte product, which was also covered by its double-your-money-back guarantee.

The basic structure of Afrihost’s 60-day guarantee has remained the same since 2010. It works as follows:

  • Sign up and try the service
  • If you are unhappy, cancel within the first 60 days
  • Claim your Double-Money-Back Guarantee

Over the years, Afrihost has refined the particulars of the guarantee to curb abuse. This includes limiting the products on which it is available.

Currently, these include Shared Hosting, DSL data, mobile data, and dedicated hosting packages.

The guarantee does not apply to promotional mobile packages, and data bundles with devices.

Afrihost also excludes its Rack Hosting, DSL line rental, AfriDesign, LTE and 5G fixed wireless, and mobile packages that offer voice and data.

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