Dealing with Web host menace in Kenya

Three years ago Dennis Karema tried to change his company’s web-hosting service provider because of unreliability but found out he was tied to them, for the long haul.

The chief executive of a web-hosting company,, had to find a solution or remain tied to the poor service. He opted to register a new domain name, transfer the files and get a new service provider.

“I had to change the name from to because we were also hosting other people’s files,” says Mr Karema.

Often entrepreneurs want to move from one errant web host to another, often finding that it isn’t easy — especially when there is little or no cooperation from the service provider.

It may happen because the web developer or web host has refused to relinquish control of the site when asked to, for various reasons. In such cases the service provider withholds the login and password from client rendering them unable to update or transfer content.

“I have received several complaints from people who wanted to transfer their names to other registrars but could not,” says Alex Gakuru, an independent ICT consultant and registrar.

High costs or poor services are the main drivers of clients seeking new service providers. The server of the service provider could also be experiencing frequent downtimes making the website to shut down many times.


The other reason for swapping service providers is because of poor customer service.

Web-hosting companies may refuse to easily let go of their clients for fear of losing revenue that earns them monthly or annual income.

To change a service provider one is required to write to the service to them asking to change the account to another specified provider.

Technology experts say that in cases where one is seeking to move from an uncooperative service provider he is required to write an email to the current service provider and copy the intended service provider and the arbitrator who is the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC), for the domain.

A service provider during the registration of the client’s domain may include their own details so that the domain name actually belongs to them, as opposed to the client.

“Clients are required to do research before choosing to register with certain service providers to avoid having petty inconveniences,” said Jenny Luesby, a webhost and developer.

If the entrepreneur does not have the account name and password for the domain at the registrar, it is becomes very difficult to get the site out of whoever is holding it hostage. It might mean letting go of the name and getting a new one.

Before choosing to switch service providers one needs to check with site to ensure he is listed as the administrative contact for the domain name and as the owner of the domain.

“If you are not, you can`t legally even ask to transfer it to your new host, everything hinges on your having control of the account at the domain registrar,” said Ms Luesby.

Old host

If you`re leaving on mutually bad terms with your host you could be in for a long battle. The old host or whoever is listed as the admin contact will have to give you their permission to move your site.

However, this may not work if the client is the one to blame, especially in cases of unpaid bills, failure to pay on time, offering the webhost leverage to use it to demand for payment.

Officials at Almond Communications Ltd., note that in many cases it is the client that fails to read the fine prints of the agreement with the service provider.

“For instance some agreements may say that the domain name belongs to the service provider, unlike other service providers who indicate that all the data belongs to the client,” says Michael Kang’ara of Almond Communications, a registered webhosting company.


Mr Kang’ara is however quick to note that in many cases it is the clients who fail to meet their part of the agreement with the host and therefore think it is their right to switch service provider.

For arbitration of cases pertaining to other domains other than domain, the complainant must go to the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

This is usually a long process that takes place purely on mail correspondence since they have no local offices.

The parties involved may use the services of a lawyer during the initial signing of the contract to help in arbitration before issues emerge.





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