How much is the cost of a website in Uganda? This is a common question I have been getting from people who intend to own websites in Uganda. Before thinking of building a website for your company, it is important to know the steps and costs involved throughout the whole process. In this write up I will walk you through a complete breakdown of the cost of design, developing and hosting a website in Uganda.
The breakdown I’m giving here is influenced by my own experience as a Ugandan wed designer who has been in the web design field for over 5 years, and my interactions with top-notch web designers in the Ugandan web design industry.
The internet has a population of 4.2 billion users worldwide, and of these, Uganda has 16 million internet users according to the information on Uganda’s Ministry of ICT website. If you own any business, whether big or small, it is high time you get your business online, because any business that is not online does not sell.
What is a website?
Where you are on this article right now is a website. A website is a collection of webpages such as the one you are looking at right now. For more details about what a website is, read my other article: What Is a Website and Why Every Business Must Have One.
Why Do People Visit Websites?
Generally, people do visit websites and blogs for two primary reasons ie;
- To find information they need. It could be a student doing research or someone looking for the address to the nearest bar or restaurant.
- To complete a task. E.g buy a latest product on market, download a software or participate in an online discussion.
Types of websites
Websites come in many types and can be used in various ways and fashions. A website can be a personal website, government website, commercial website, non-profit organization website or Business website (Small business website, medium sized business website and Large business website).
Usually websites are dedicated to particular topics or purpose. This can range from social networking, entertainment, education to providing breaking news. All public websites collectively make up the World Wide Web [WWW] while private websites, such as a university e-learning system [for its students] is basically part of the intranet.
Below is list of common types of websites in Uganda
- Personal Websites
- E-commerce Websites
- Photo Sharing Websites
- Community Building Websites
- Writers / Authors Websites
- Mobile Device Websites
- Online Business Brochure/Catalog
- Informational Websites
- Directory Websites
How Much Does It Cost To Design And Develop A Website In Uganda?
I started developing professional websites 5 years ago and I have directly or indirectly participated in the development of over 200 websites at my former workplace. But up to today, I cannot still answer this question. In fact, this question doesn’t have a straight forward or black and white answer.
Anyone with web programming skills can design or build a website but how much does it cost to build an effective website, I mean a website that will work for you and help you grow your business online?
Many times i receive so many calls and messages from people asking me the cost of designing and developing a website in Uganda. Many of them ask this question even before providing me with the requirements they need to have on their website.
One thing I have always told them is that there’s no fixed price of designing a website. Web design costs vary depending on a number of factors. Any professional web developer will not tell you the cost of a web design before understanding your full requirements.
Many Ugandans are always cautious when it comes to paying for intangible services like web development. They find it hard to pay for a price of something they can’t really hold in their hands. They are left wondering how much can really a website be worth?
Developing a good website is not a simple task. It is one of the hardest and most complicated tasks for any web developer. It takes a lot of efforts. I mean you have to write thousands of lines of code just to create a simple web page.
Developing a website is a multi-stage process that consumes a lot of time and efforts as it requires varied approaches, resources and team compositions.
The cost of designing and developing a website depends on the number of requirements you need in a website, for example how complex these requirements are, how much resources it will consume and how much time and efforts it will take to have to have your website fully developed without compromising its quality.
Major website development stages
Building a website will basically involve three major stages and these include:
- Buying a domain name for your website
- Designing and development
- Buying a Web Hosting Server
What Is A Domain Name?
When you think of owning a website, the first thing that should come to your mind is how will you name it? And what address should it have? The address of your website is what is called a domain name.
A domain name can actually be easily understood as a virtual address of your website on the internet or online. The unique combination of numbers and letters followed by a domain extension e.g “.com”, make up the “location” that internet visitors can travel to on their internet browser to find a specific website. A classic example of a domain name is, of course: “www.ictguy.com”.
Your website domain name is unique, and once you have registered it, no one else can register the same. It is more like your online fingerprint – It is specifically for you. Although other websites may have domains similar to yours, they can never be exactly the same as yours. They can always be differentiated by extensions. For example I may own the domain ictguy.com but someone else owns ictguy.net and another person owns ictguy.org.
However, to get exclusive rights to your domain, you have to register it and renew it annually. Domain renewal fees are usually same as buying fee. For example if you bought a domain at $12, depending on your domain registrant company, you can renew it at the same amount or slightly higher. This now becomes part of website maintenance costs.
Your domain name is very important. It creates an online identity for your website and establishes your business to your website visitors and potential clients while helping you grow your brand.
If you ever change your hosting provider, you will still move with your domain name. Your domain name is equally important because it expands your online advertising opportunities. Today, online advertising has become one of the best ways to attract traffic on websites.
The Cost of A domain Name In Uganda
The cost of a domain varies depending on domain extension you want to register. Common domain extensions like .com, .net, org, .biz, .co etc will range from will range from UGX 60,000/- to UGX 100,000/-. Uganda’s country based domains such as .ug, .co.ug, .com.org.ug, .com.ug etc will cost you between UGX 100,000/- to UGX 200,000/-.
Why are .ug domains more expensive than others?
Other domains such as .com and .net cost as low as $12 which is almost three times cheaper than .ug domain names. Charles Musisi, the owner of the .ug domain registrant company called Infinity Computers & Communications Company Ltd (i3C), says .ug domains are very expensive because global registrars of Top Level Domains (TLDs) such as .net benefit from economies of scale due to their bigger customer base unlike small country-specific domain registrars like his.
List or categories of .ug domain extensions
- co.ug – Suitable for business or commercial entities
- com.ug, org.ug – Suitable for Not for profit or Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).
- ac.ug – Recommended for Higher Institutes of Learning e.g Universities and Institutes.
- sc.ug – This Category is set aside for lower Educational Institutions from Secondary School level and below
- go.ug – This category is reserved for government agencies such as Ministries, Automatous Agencies and Authorities
- ne.ug, net.ug – This is suitable for Network Infrastructure services such as Internet Exchange Points, wholesalers of Internet bandwidth etc
Cost Of Designing And Development [In Uganda]
Like I said before, the cost of designing a website depends on the complexity and labor intensity of the project; the more features the website has, and the more difficult its implementation, the higher the cost will be to build the website. For now, I will take an assumption where you want a standard dynamic website with basic features. I assume your website will have the following features:
- Six  dynamic webpages ie Home, Services, Products, Blog, About and Contact.
- Custom design
- Contact forms and other forms
- Custom Logo
- Search Facility
- Content Management System
- Cross-device responsive website
- Graphics design
- Social Media integration
- Basic Search Engine Optimization
If you need a standard CMS dynamic with the above features, design and development alone will cost you between UGX 1,500,000/- to UGX 2,000,000/- depending on the company you will have hired. This charge may include or not include a domain and hosting fee. It all depends on your initial agreement with the developer.
If you want a very custom and database driven website, it will definitely cost you a lot more. For example if you are looking at developing a music streaming website, you will need to have a very powerful Content Management System [CMS] where you can manage users, artists, songs, videos, comments etc. If you were to contract any professional web development agency in Uganda to develop for you such a very custom website, they won’t charge you anything less than UGX 10,000,000/-. Yes, I mean 10M+.
Cost of Hosting a Website In Uganda
In simple terms, webhosting is a service that allows your website to be accessible on the web by internet users. Once your website is designed and developed, for it to be publicly visible on the internet, you will need to upload it on a powerful computer called a server. The process storing a website [website files] on a server what is called Website Hosting.
You can also turn your home computer in a web host (web server) but this will be very expensive for you to maintain as you will have to connect the server to the internet 24/7. This means you will need to have an active internet connection and electricity all the time.
When your server goes offline, or the electricity goes off, your website won’t be accessible online. The costs of maintaining a home server are just too big to handle especially if you have set it up just for personal use. Learn how to setup your very own webserver on the Instructables website.
The quality of your hosting server can affect the loading speed of your website pages [webpages], the tech support you get, and scalability of your website in future. Your website host has a big impact on the functionality of your website. If you choose to use free hosting services, the tech support you will receive will not be as good as the one for premium or paid hosting services.
The cost of hosting a website in Uganda depends on how much content your website holds and the amount of traffic it receives in a specific period of time. Web hosting costs range between UGX 200,000/- to UGX 1,000,000/- for shared hosting, where your website will sit on the same server with other people’s websites.
So how much does it really cost to have a complete functioning website in Uganda?
I recently worked with a client who wanted a dynamic website for his business company and here is how I charged him:
- Domain name fee: UGX 100,000/-
- Design and Development fee: UGX 1,500,000/-
- Hosting fee: UGX 200,000/-
- Total Costs: UGX 1,800,000/-
From the above, you can see that the cost of designing a standard dynamic website in Uganda ranges from UGX 1,800,000 to UGX 2,000,000/-.
Static websites range from UGX 800,000/- to UGX 1,200,000/-. However static websites have no dynamic features like forms and do not have a Content Management System [CMS]. This means that if you are not a technical person, you will not be able to update your website.
Custom websites developed from scratch can cost as high as UGX 30,000,000/- depending on the number and complexity of requirements. I heard a rumor that Uganda’s Vision Group hired an Indian Software Company called 4CPlus who developed for them the New Vision and Bukedde at UGX 100M and UGX 70M respectively. Well, if you compare the poor quality of New Vision and Bukedde websites, Vision Group being a state owned company, these costs might have been inflated due to corruption. But whether these costs were inflated or not, that is how high the cost a website can go!
Note that a domain and hosting are renewable once every year. You will be required to renew both after every 365 days at the same amount you purchased them. For example if you purchased your hosting at UGX 200,000/-, you will have to renew it at the same amount after a year.
What you should spend?
As of 2019, the cost of designing a website has slightly reduced. You should expect to pay between UGX1.5M to UGX3M for a fully functional dynamic template website and UGX5M to UGX15M for a custom built website. You may pay slightly pay lower than this if your website has fewer pages and less complex functionality.
Generally, I think you shouldn’t spend more than UGX 2,000,000/- on a basic template web design, unless you have very custom and specialized needs.
Typically, the actual amount you will spend will depend on the type of website you want. A website can cost as high as UGX 20M and still be considered cheap while another can cost just UGX 2M and be considered very expensive. Basically this is in accordance to the resources used to get the job executed.
Discrepancies in web design costs (pricing) in Uganda
About a month ago a client asked me why some web development agencies charge highly to develop a website while others charge cheaply? Well it is a fact that prices are insanely different in the web development industry. Some are cheap while others are truly expensive. I was recently on one of Uganda’s freelance website. A client had posted a custom web project and was looking for an experienced company to execute it. We bid UGX 5,000,000/- on his project while another person bid UGX 600,000/- on the same project. The client asked me why I’m so expensive than the other person who bid to do his project at only 600k.
I explained to him that web development is like a consulting business. Your budget determines the quality of the service you get. The quality of a website developed at UGX 10M cannot be the same as website developed at UGX 2M with similar requirements.
At the end of it all, it is all about satisfying results. Pay more and get more quality. Pay less and get less quality. In my own opinion I think you should go with a company that does the best. If you are looking for the best quality, then a sufficient budget must be one of the factors.
At Boomnet Technologies, a startup web development company which I co-own, we pride ourselves for charging our clients fairly and correctly, and on top of that, we provide incredible support and technical know-how to our clients. Even some clients who ended our working relationships because of our ‘High Pricing’ have always come back, proving the saying “Quality doesn’t cost… It pays”.
Like many other industries, the web development industry is an industry where you get what you pay for. Let’s all agree that cheap is expensive but don’t just waste your time and money on poor services.
Other costs that may be involved;
For a website to be fully complete and functional, you will have to pay for more than just a domain, hosting and a web design cost. If you are looking for a professional website, then you will as well need to invest in the following:
1. Content creation
What is the cost of creation in Uganda?
Before you think of the actual design of a website, you should not forget about why you want to build your website. This enables you to figure out what you would like to share with the world. A web designer is not expected to tell your story for you since you know your business more than anyone else.
However much you understand your business very well, you may not be in position to do everything on your own. Like any other website, your website may/will need content which may be in form of text, graphics, video or audio.
If you have no expertise in creating such content, you will need to hire a professional to that for you. In case your website will have some text content, you will need to hire a copywriter. Copywriters in Uganda charge from as low as UGX 10,000/- per write up.
Personally I offer freelancing writing as a service on this blog and I charge UGX 10,000/- for every 100 words I pen down on paper. Some copywriters charge as high as $50 for a single blog article.
Similarly, you may need to create a promotional video for your website. Although many people ignore this, a promotional video is a very important step towards your online growth. Just to let you know, according to Worldwidesize, there were some 4.46 billion web pages indexed in 2018 alone. All these pages are struggling to get attention of the world’s 4.2 billion internet users.
You need to set aside a special budget for your website promotion and market your website on web platforms such as social media or search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Please note that most web designers in Uganda incorporate the cost of content creation in a web design quote. When your web developer gives you a quote, ensure to ask him whether the content creation cost has been included or not.
2. Brand identity
What is the cost of branding in Uganda?
Branding is about positing the image of your business in order to differentiate it from other competitors in the minds of your target clients. To uniquely stand out from the crowd, you will need a professional logo for your website. Branding goes beyond just logo, but for today we shall just focus on the logo.
The cost of logo design in Uganda is still low. Most professional graphic designers in Uganda charge from as low as UGX 150,000/- for a basic logo. A premium logo will cost you as UGX 1,000,000/- in Uganda.
If you already have a logo for your business, you won’t have to incur any logo design charges.
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Once your website is complete, you will need extra efforts to have it visible in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. This is achievable through a web optimization practice known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A website that is not optimized for search engines becomes useless because no one will access it via search unless they directly type your website address in browser URL bar.
What is the cost of Search Engine Optimization in Kampala, Uganda?
Search Engine Optimization in Uganda costs from as UGX 300,000/-. Remember SEO is a process; it can take up to six months to see results.
Note: You may incur extra costs resulting from additional features and services that were previously not stated in the initial web design agreement. These cost components are not in any way meant to scare you. Some like a promotional video can be foregone if you have a limited budget. You do not have to spend on each of them. If you are a small business starter and have some of these skills, you can handle some tasks yourself. You really don’t have to ignore them entirely.
Beware of fake web designers / developers in Uganda
Most fake and incompetent web developers in Uganda will hide behind the concept of cheap web design pricing and in most cases they end up misleading gullible clients who waste thousands of shillings in the name of saving. Many clients get scammed while others get substandard websites which are usually incomplete.
You will meet some unprofessional developers who will promise to do for you quality work for a very less amount, even as low as UGX 300,000/- for a full package, but at the end of the day, quality is what matters. Remember the more money you spend the better quality work you will get. A bad website can hurt your company reputation.
Avoid incompetent idiots that know just enough to make them very dangerous. In 2011 when I barely knew anything about web development, I hired a guy who claimed to be the best programmer in Uganda to develop for me some custom website. A few months later, it became clear that he didn’t know what he was doing. He played a good game convincing me to pay a 50% upfront which I foolishly did but he couldn’t deliver. I decided to fire him and counted my losses. While I understand it is becoming very difficult to detect these fake developers, try your best to carefully vet any developer/designer before hiring them to take on your website project.
When looking for the best web design company in Uganda, find a company that understands what they do. If you are looking for a full-service web development company that can do for you all the above, then I recommend that you contact Boomnet Technologies. Please note that part of the web development at Boomnet Technologies.
This blog post has explored the major factors that determine web design and hosting costs for standard websites in Uganda and this should be sufficient for individuals, small/medium sized companies looking to create websites for their businesses. For large business that need complex web apps (websites), the costs will be higher. It is advised that you contact several web design agencies in Uganda, get their quotations and do a comparison.
Frequently asked questions
This section covers common questions about web design cost and hosting in Uganda, asked by different Ugandans on the internet.
How long does it take to create a website?
The time it takes to create a fully functional website depends on several factors. A custom website developed from scratch can take anywhere from 2-4 months depending on it complexity and the number of revisions involved. A basic website (Template website) will take 30-45 days to be completed. Remember most web developers will not work on your project full time on daily basis as they always have other people’s projects in store. Most developers will do all projects they have simultaneously allocating a given number of hours for each project per day.
What kind of technology is used in designing and developing a website?
What platform are websites built on?
Most quality websites in Uganda are built on open-source Content Management Systems (CMS) such as Joomla, Drupal and WordPress. WordPress is the most popular CMS platform in the world hosting over 30% of the world’s websites.
I hope this article will also answer those who have been searching common queries such as;
- Cost of website design Uganda
- Website hosting in Uganda
- Cost of an E-commerce website in Uganda
- Cost of setting up a blog in Uganda e.g Dignited, Techjaja, Ugtechmag, PC Tech Mag etc
- Professional website designers in Uganda
- Cost of website redesign in Uganda
- Reseller hosting in Uganda e.g Hostalite, Lwegatech, Hataricloud
- Software development companies in Uganda e.g Webstar, Tera Tech, Javanet Systems, Webvator, Kweli Designs, Killasites, Vinaj Websites
- Cost of website maintenance in Uganda
It is just impossible for a developer to exactly tell you what exactly should be the price of a web design and development without giving him complete information about project scope. In short, there’s no universally accepted pricing packages for web design in Uganda.
If you have any questions about the cost of designing, developing and hosting a website in Uganda, please leave them in the comment box below.
Thank you for reading!