The most exclusive guide to domain registration and hosting in Kenya. Since this is a long article, use the table of contents below to jump to a particular section.

What is a domain?

Domain name is the address of your website that people type in the browser URL bar to visit your website. In simple terms, if your website was a house, then your domain name will be its address.

A more detailed explanation:

The Internet is a giant network of computers connected to each other through a global network of cables. Each computer on this network can communicate with other computers.To identify them, each computer is assigned an IP address. It is a series of numbers that identify a particular computer on the internet. A typical IP address looks like this:

68.183.10.92

Now an IP address like this is quite difficult to remember. Imagine if you had to use such numbers to visit your favorite websites. Domain names were invented to solve this problem.

Now if you want to visit a website, then you don’t need to enter a long string of numbers. Instead, you can visit it by typing an easy to remember domain name in your browser’s address bar. For example, hostfiti.com.

What is domain registration?

Domain registration is the process of reserving a domain name from a domain registrar for a particular period of time, usually a year. It is necessary for a website, an email or another web service.

What is a domain registrar?

A domain name registrar is a company that allows you to purchase and register domain names. All domain name registrars are accreditated by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), a non-profit organization responsible for managing domain names.

The diagram below illustrates the main functions of the parties that are usually involved in the process.

Domain Registry Process

The most important thing about a domain name registration is that it gives you personality and recognized identity. Once you register a domain name, the information about its owner is publicly available.

In some cases, a person or organization who does not wish to have their information listed in WHOIS may contract with a proxy service provider to register domain names on their behalf. In this case, the service provider is the domain name registrant, not the end customer.

While registrars are contracted to conduct the day-to-day business of selling domain name registrations, registries are responsible for maintaining the registry for each TLD. The responsibilities of the registries include accepting registration requests (whether from registrars or directly from domain name registrants), maintaining a database of the necessary domain name registration data and providing name servers to publish the zone file data (i.e. information about the location of a domain name) throughout the Internet.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is the non-profit organization that oversees the assignment of both IP addresses and domain names. It has responsibility for managing root server and TLD name system management and has contractual agreements with both registries and registrars that provide the foundation for the WHOIS system.

As a domain name owner, you are responsible for telling the registrar where to send requests. You are also responsible for renewing your domain registration.

What are the Different Types of Domain Names

Domain names are available in many different extensions. The most popular one is .com. There are many other options like .co.ke, .org, .net, .tv, .info, .io, and more.

Let’s take a more detailed look at different types of domain names available.

Top Level Domain – TLD

Top level domain or TLD are generic domain extensions that are listed at the highest level in the domain name system.

There are hundreds of TLDs, but the most popular ones are .com, .org, and .net. Other TLDs are lesser known and we don’t recommend using them. For example, .biz, .club, .info, .agency, and many more.

Country Code Top Level Domain – ccTLD

Country code top-level domain or ccTLD are country specific domain names which end with country code extension like .ke for Kenya, .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, .in for India.

They are used by websites that want to target audiences in a specific country.

Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD

Sponsored top-level domain or sTLD is a category of TLDs that has a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension.

For example, .edu for education-related organizations.

How do I buy a domain name in Kenya?

To buy a domain name in Kenya, visit any domain registrar’s or website builder’s website (e.g. hostfiti.com) and perform a domain search. The price of a domain will depend on its extension (the last part of a domain name e.g. com or .co.ke).

How much is a domain name in Kenya?

The price of a domain in Kenya will depend on the domain registrar. See our domain prices here.

What is web hosting in Kenya?

Web hosting in Kenya is a service that allows organizations and individuals to post a website or web page onto the Internet. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the services needed for the website to be viewed in the Internet. Websites are hosted, or stored, on special computers called servers.

What are the different types of web hosting?

In the world of web hosting, there are many options that will all get your site on the web. However, each of them cater directly to website owners needs – whether those needs be big or small. While they all act as a storage place for your website, where they differ is the amount of storage capacity, control, technical knowledge requirement, server speed and reliability.  These are the eight types of web hosting you will most often come across: 

1. Shared hosting

Shared hosting means just that. Your website is hosted on a server shared by other websites. The advantage of this setup is the shared cost. You can pay as little as KES 1500 to KES 5000 per year for sharing a super server with (probably) hundreds (or thousands) of other websites.

The biggest disadvantage of a shared hosting account is that you’re at the mercy of the other sites on your server. A really popular site may adversely affect the performance of your own site. They might even crash it from time to time – but this is quite rare. On the other hand, if you’re the most popular site on the server, you get to use a super server for a very low price.

When most people start an online business they usually start out with a shared hosting plan to minimize costs, and they’re not likely getting a ton of traffic initially.

Shared hosting is good for a brochure type site or a newer site that doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

Price Range: KES 1500 to KES 5000 per year

2. Dedicated server hosting

Dedicated web hosting is the complete opposite of shared web hosting, as you are given an entire server for your operations.

Dedicated hosting gives website owners the most control over the server that their website is stored on. That’s because the server is exclusively rented by you and your website is the only one stored on it. This means that you have full root and admin access, so you can control everything from security to operating system that you run.

However, all that control comes with a price.

Dedicated servers cost are one of the most expensive web hosting options. Typically, they are used by website owners with high levels of website traffic, and those who are in need of complete control of their servers. In addition, a high level of technical expertise is required for the installation and ongoing management of the serve.

Pricing: Dedicated servers are priced from KES 10,000/month and up. But if you are considering a dedicated server, you should also consider the costs of hiring a system administrator to take care of the technical details.

3. Virtual private server (VPS) hosting

A VPS hosting plan is the ultimate middle ground between a shared server and a dedicated server. It’s ideal for website owners that need more control, but don’t necessarily need a dedicated server.

Virtual private servers share one physical server but act like multiple, separate servers. Even though each VPS instance shares hardware resources, they are allocated a dedicated slice of the computing resources.

A VPS avoids the problem of having your hosting neighbors bring down your website, while avoiding the cost of a dedicated server.

Price Range: Most VPS hosting packages cost between KES 1,000 and KES 20,000 per month. Pricing is based on the guaranteed CPU and memory (RAM) you get.

Get $100 free for a DigitalOcean Virtual Private Server for use for 60 days.

4. Managed hosting

Hosting companies provide technical services such as hardware and software setup and configuration, maintenance, hardware replacement, technical support, patching, updating and monitoring. With managed hosting, the provider looks after the day-to-day management of the hardware, operating systems and standardized applications.

Depending on what kind of managed hosting you have, the term “managed” can mean different things.

On shared hosting, it often applies to the application that’s running on top of the servers. So Managed WordPress or Managed Drupal hosting is talking about the IT services related to WordPress or Drupal and making sure those are kept up to date and that your site is taken care of you. When you’re using shared hosting that doesn’t offer a “managed” solution, you still have the low-level servers being taken care, but you may be responsible for things like which version of the software you’re running.

If you’re talking about VPS or Dedicated, the “managed” part is often the IT services that help you from the lowest level of the operating system up to the rest of the layers of software sitting on top. For example, if you were running a WordPress site on a dedicated server, you’d likely have the low-level operating system, and then you’d have web server software (like Apache or Nginx), and then a version of PHP to think about. A managed offering would help you patch, update, backup, and monitor all those levels of software on your server.

5. Cloud hosting

Cloud hosting is the current buzzword of the technology industry. In regards to web hosting, it means many computers working together, running applications using combined computing resources. It’s a hosting solution that works via a network and enables companies to consume the computing resource like a utility.

This allows users to employ as many resources as they need without having to build and maintain their own computing infrastructure. The resources that are being used are spread across several servers, reducing the chance of any downtime due to a server malfunction.

Cloud-based hosting is scalable, meaning your site can grow over time, using as many resources as it requires and while the website owner only pays for what they need.

The advantage of cloud-based web hosting is that if you get an unusually large amount of website traffic the web hosting plan can accommodate the surge of traffic – rather than shutting your website down.

Price Range: All cloud computing packages use some form of the pay-for-what-you-use pricing structure.

6. Reseller Web Hosting

Reseller hosting packages are basically a shared hosting account with extra tools to help you resell hosting space.

Reseller packages come with greater technical control (often via the Web Host Manager (WHM) control panel), billing software to help you invoice clients and other extra perks.

Some of those perks include:

  • free website templates
  • white label technical support — that means the hosting company handles your clients’ tech support issues
  • private name servers — make your company seem even bigger by telling your clients to point their domain name servers to ns1.yourwebdesignfirm.com

Price range: Reseller packages range from KES 4,000/month, depending on features and resource limits.

If you’re planning on selling web hosting as a business then reseller web hosting is perfect for you.

7. Colocation Web Hosting

When you colocate, you rent rack space from a data center. You bring in your own server hardware and they provide power, cooling, physical security, and an internet uplink. This means you’re responsible for your own server software, data storage, backup procedures, etc. If hardware fails, you’re responsible for replacing it and getting the server back up and running.

Unless you have the technical know-how in-house, colocation is probably not worth the investment in time, expertise, and money for most small businesses.

8. Self Service Web Hosting

The ultimate hosting plan — you do it all yourself! You buy the servers, install and configure the software, make sure there are sufficient cooling and power in your machine room, and double up everything for redundancy. Some of the things you’ll have to take care of:

  • data center space
  • cooling
  • power (with backup)
  • bandwidth
  • server hardware
  • systems administrator
  • data integrity and backup
  • … and the list goes on

Similar to colocation web hosting, this most likely beyond the scope of what you’d want to do as an online business owner. 

HOSTFITI is not a web hosting company, but a professional business website builder platform.

If you just want a professional good-looking website without any extras— a simple professional website that showcases your business information and professional email accounts — you can skip traditional web hosting and check out our website builder templates and pricing.

How much does it cost to host a website in Kenya?

The price for hosting a website in Kenya varies from one company to another. The starting price to host a website in Kenya starts from KShs 1,000/yr depending on the type of hosting you need (e.g. shared hosting, VPS hosting etc).

How do I host a website in Kenya?

Step 1: Decide What Type of Website You Want

You will typically find 2 types of websites:

  • Static or Basic Websites: Static websites are simple websites with one or more web pages (called HTML pages). You can build them on your computer with software like Dreamweaver and then upload the pages to your host’s server using any FTP software (such as FileZilla).Whenever you need to make changes to your website, you’ll have to edit the pages on your computer and upload them again. Since they cannot be modified dynamically, such websites are called static websites.Static websites are cheaper than dynamic websites (below) but come with limited functionality and no option for e-commerce or interactivity.
  • Dynamic Websites: Dynamic websites contain information that changes, depending on the time of day, the viewer and other factors. They make use of both client-side and server-side scripts to create and update content. Client-side scripts, which run on a user’s computer, are mainly used for appearance and interaction purposes. Server-side scripts, which reside on a server and are extensively used by E-commerce and social networking sites, allow users to have individual accounts and provide a customized response for each user. Dynamic websites are CMS-driven, and allow you to directly add and edit content (i.e. text, design, photos, and videos), as well as let your visitors leave comments and start discussions.Dynamic websites are ideal for businesses and organizations. Examples of dynamic websites include blogs, forums, photo galleries and e-commerce sites.

Step 2: Choose Your Hosting Server

Unlike static HTML sites which can be hosted on most web servers, when it comes to web applications, there are basically two types of hosting platforms. Depending on your hosting needs and what you’re most comfortable with, you can choose from:

  • Linux Hosting, which allows running scripts written in PHP, Perl, Python and other Unix-originated languages, and usually supports PostgreSQL and MySQL databases. This is the most commonly used system today.
  • Windows Hosting, which allows running ASP scripts utilizing .NET and other Microsoft technologies, and supports Microsoft SQL Server and Access database.

Step 3: Select Your Web Hosting Plan

You will typically find a wide range of services in web hosting, such as shared hosting, virtual private server hosting and much more which we discussed above.

Step 4: Upload Your Website

upload your website to your account by connecting to the server using either cPanel’s File Manager or FTP Client (such as FileZilla) – after which your website will go live.

  • How to Upload Your Website Using cPanel File Manager
    1. Log in to your cPanel.
    2. Click on the icon titled File Manager.
    3. Select Web Root and click on Go.
    4. Add all the files and folders under public_html and their respective domain folder.
  • How to Upload Your Website Using FTP Client

You can connect to FTP via an FTP program such as FileZilla Client. It allows you to see the files and folders on our server like you’d see them on your computer. You can use it to drag and drop your website’s files into the /public_html/ folder.
To connect to your web server via FileZilla, follow these steps:

    1. Install FileZilla and open it
    2. From the File menu, select Site Manager
    3. Click on New Site
    4. Name the New Site – such as with your real domain name
    5. Enter your website’s IP address in the field marked FTP Address
    6. Enter the username and password you received in your welcome mail
    7. Set the Port to 21 (FTP always runs on Port 21)
    8. Click Connect

Once your FTP is connected, you will see the files and folders of your:

    • Local computer on the left
    • Web hosting service on the right

To upload files to your hosting service provider via FileZilla, follow these steps:

  1. From the left-hand side of FileZilla, select the file(s) and folder(s) you want to upload.
  2. Drag and drop the file(s) and folder(s) to the directory location on the right side of your web hosting service. FileZilla will now start uploading.
  3. After the uploading is finished, FileZilla log will confirm success and your uploads will be visible on the right-hand side.

Viola! Your website is now live.

What are the Features Offered by a Good Web Hosting Company?

1. Fast Servers

A web server is a program on a server computer, somewhere out on the Internet, that delivers web pages to web browsers (your website visitors).  The digital space can be quite unpredictable, which means you need to prepare for the worst case scenario, but without going overboard. For example, you should have enough leeway for your bandwidth, with layout changes and traffic spikes possibly affecting your website performance. And you definitely don’t want this to happen, with research teams discovering that a single second delay in page response inadvertently causes a 7% decrease in eCommerce conversions.

The best shared hosting servers that a web hosting company can offer are LiteSpeed servers, followed by NGINX servers and finally Apache servers running on SSD storage disks.

The following chart shows how many requests per second the three servers compare during a series of tests. The larger the number, the better.

2. Website Security

A report states that about 30,000 websites are hacked daily. This means you should do your best to protect sensitive information on your website. Various hosting providers offer its own kind of security measures, with some providing bot-operated security checks and DDoS protection. A hosting company should also offer you with a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate which is adds the green padlock in your website browser’s address bar. A SSL certificate encrypts data between your website browser and web server minimizing chances of anyone snooping on your website activities. Some of the cheap and best web hosting companies in Kenya offer SSL certificates for free.

3. Backups

Backups help you to recover your website’s data incase of events such as your website getting hacked or data gets corrupted. This is why a number of hosting providers provide daily or weekly data backups.

4. 99%+ Uptime

Downtimes impact your overall traffic and cost you some lost sales. In addition, it can also leave a bad impression on your search engine rankings.

5. Fast Support

Also worth highlighting is the service’s customer support. While it’s nice to have FAQs and forums, when your website is inexplicably down, you want someone available right away. Look for 24/7 customer support.

Web Hosting Companies in Kenya

Without further ado, here are the best in the market web hosting companies in Kenya. We have arranged this list in increasing prices (exclusive of a domain) from the cheapest and given it a grade (and the reason for doing so) depending on the amount of value you are getting from the web hosting company.

1. HostPoa – From KSHS 995/YEAR

HostPoa has been around for 4+ years and it is under deepAfrica Co Ltd (its parent hosting company) which offers apache server web hosting.

FEATURES: Free .co.ke domain, Free SSL certificates, 1GB HDD space, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Offers most services to get you started online at a low cost.
CONS: Apache servers which are quite slow and the disk space is quite small.

GRADE: B+ While they offer a all in one starter kit to get your website online, the disk space is quite small – once you factor in that you want a small business website that has blogging capabilities and you intend to continuously use your email accounts. The disk space will quickly fill out requiring you to cough out more money in the end.

2. Truehost Kenya – From KSHS 1499/YEAR

Truehost Kenya is a subsidiary of Ryanada Limited founded in 2016 and is among the local hosting companies with most subscribers.

FEATURES: Apache Servers, 10GB Disk Space, Free SSL, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Good customer service. Outstanding uptime.
CONS: Apache servers that are slower than the new server technologies.

GRADE: A- Truehost has been around for a while and their disk space is sufficient for a small website and holding your email attachments and files.

3. Lenasi Cloud Hosting – From KSHS 2,000/YEAR

Lenasi is a new hosting service established in 2016.

FEATURES: LiteSpeed Servers, 50GB SSD Disk Space, 1GB RAM, Free SSL, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: They offer web hosting on LiteSpeed servers which are fast, SSD storage and also give 1GB RAM.
CONS: Support get slows at times.

GRADE: A You get much value for the money invested as your website is fast, secure (free SSL Certificates) and sufficient space for your website and email accounts.

4. Kenya Web Experts – From KSHS 2100/YEAR

Kenya Web Experts are Kenya’s largest domain hosting provider and offer their web hosting on Apache servers.

FEATURES: Free SSL Certificates, 30GB Disk Space, 300GB bandwidth, 1GB RAM, Free SSL, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Sufficient RAM which ensures that your site doesn’t take a down turn when it gets a traffic spike.
CONS: Using Apache Servers.

GRADE: A- Though in the same price range to that of Sasa Host, they offer a larger amount of RAM and disk space.

5. Sasahost – From KSHS 2500/YEAR

Sasahost Ltd is a private ICT company incorporated in 2009. The company offers secure, reliable and professional web solutions to direct customers and resellers from various parts of Africa, Europe, USA and several others. The company focuses more on Virtual Private Servers and Dedicated Servers than on shared hosting.

FEATURES: LiteSpeed Servers, Free SSL Certificates, 15GB Disk Space, 24/7 support, unlimited email accounts, bandwidth and databases.
PROS: Fast servers, Reliable & Professional Support
CONS: 256MB RAM. Most web hosting providers offer a minimum of 500MB of RAM, so if your website’s traffic spikes, your website visitors may not be able to view your website. (They will be presented with a server connection error).

GRADE: B+ Though a little pricey, the company is reliable for it has been for more than a decade, solid and reputable. However we had some reservations about the allocated RAM.

This articles states the prices as of January 2020, as stated on the web hosting provider’s websites and we recommend that you do due diligence before choosing your web hosting provider. HostFiti gives an overall opinion of the reviewed hosting providers in this article and should not be held liable for misinformation.



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