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Nigeria is an emerging economy of over 170 million people and a leader in business and information technology, on the African continent. The country needs to develop despite its challenges. The local hosting industry needs to grow and blossom.
It is well documented that electricity generation and distribution is a perennial challenge in Nigeria.
Web Hosting servers on the other hand need power. Lots of it. A good web hosting service would be online 24 hours every day of the year. For this to be possible, power supply has to be reliable. It has to be very reliable.
Web4Africa’s hosting presence in Nigeria is located in a Tier-III award-winning world-class datacentre. The datacentre operates 100% off the national power grid. A chain of technical redundancy in their power supply setup guarantees an uninterrupted supply of power to our servers and network equipment. There are also layers of monitoring systems to reduce the chances of power disruption. All fuel supplies for the power generating plants are tested and only ones that meet their stringent quality standards are accepted. Scheduled and routine maintenance of all power equipment are vigorously followed. Also, the datacentre supplies power to our rack via two independent feeds.
On our part, all our servers have redundant power units and tap from the independent power feeds supplied by the datacentre. Some equipment without dual-power units are powered through an automatic transfer switch. Thus, the chain of power redundancy and reliability is complete.
While all of these come at a premium, the benefits of local hosting far outweighs the initial cost and at the right scale, the cost becomes more accessible to all.
Web4Africa had commissioned some web hosting equipment in a Tier-III datacentre in Lagos Nigeria a few months ago. We own and manage our network infrastructure and are peering locally at the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN). This gives us direct IP connectivity to the networks of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Carriers that are peering locally in Nigeria.
Local hosting is critical for any country that wants to develop its internet infrastructure. An Internet Exchange is therefore pivotal to local content development and hosting. This is the role the IXPN plays. Two key technical benefits of local hosting are ultra-low latency and high speed connectivity to the local hosting servers.
Our 1Gbps connectivity to the IXPN meant we could test local Internet traffic flows and performance.
This article brings the potential network performance to fore. This is in no way an endorsement nor a critique or any particular ISP but an objective analysis of the potential speed offered by local web hosting. The tests were conducted in the early hours of the morning. Thus, performance during peak business hours could be slightly varied.
The speed tests below were done using Ookla’s ubiquitous Speedtest.net tool from one of our servers in Nigeria. Only Nigerian networks that are part of Speedtest.net and actively peering in Nigeria are highlighted below:
How does this apply to an Internet user in Nigeria?
I’ve always been a proponent of internet performance and one of the major issues with the performance of internet applications is that of latency. Latency is the amount of time it takes for you to send a request and to get a response. Back in the days when all the Internet access we had in the country was via satellite, it was not uncommon to have round trip times of 3000ms and above (i.e. you send a packet to a server and you only got the acknowledgement 3 seconds later). This was okay back then when Internet traffic was mostly bulk data transfers. These days, you deal with applications that require sub-second response times (hello the realtime web) and latency has become an all too important factor in the drive to satisfy Internet users impatience in getting what the want as quickly as they can.
Web developers have had to rely on web hosting companies with servers hosted in other data centers around the world. At best, our applications couldn’t do better in round trip times of at least 100ms. No longer do we have to put up with this and neither should your users do the same. We now have affordable servers in our country! You can put your development environment now on a server in Ikeja or Victoria Island and work directly from the terminal and have a near realtime experience (it’s as though you were working locally on your computer’s terminal).
Oluniyi gave me early access to his server infrastructure and I’ve been using it for a few months now and my experience has been a somewhat bittersweet one. I assumed that I would ping the server and get at most 40ms (given that I was using wireless Internet, that was an acceptable RTT). My experience was mixed.
Like in other countries, there is a local Internet exchange in Lagos providing peering for ISPs with infrastructure in the state and (like every properly configured data center) the data center that Web4Africa’s local servers are colocated is connected to the local exchange; however not all ISPs are connected or have properly configured routing to leverage the exchange and so on the well engineered networks of some ISPs I would get RTTs of 20ms or even 13ms and on the badly configured or no-peering ISPs, I would have even worse RTTs (200ms) because data has to transit through London before coming back to Lagos. So packets will originate from Lagos, transit through routers in London and then terminate in Lagos again.
I currently only host a local bitcoin node on this development server and the network performance and uptime has been stellar. Web4Africa is a very competent hosting service and I cannot recommend them highly enough. High server specs and solid state drives will ensure that your applications perform at their optimum.
Pricing is not as you would expect when comparing it to foreign providers and the reason is a simple one: the cost structures are different – data center operators have to generate their own power which increase the cost for service providers. Nonetheless, they are competitively priced and if you’re a performance nut like me, then you should definitely sign up and start testing your applications with them. Your users will definitely be happier and thank you for it.
Even though I mentioned worse performance while testing the services from some other ISPs, what’s important to note is that, this will only get better. When sufficient content is hosted locally, ISPs will start to optimize their networks to take advantage of peering arrangements provided by the local exchange.
Written by Tim Akinbo. He is the Founder and CEO of TimbaObjects Company.from Lagos Nigeria.
Note: The high latency on a few networks mentioned above is due to their inactive local peering. Web4Africa is already engaging the management of IXPN for improvement in the user experience.
Web4Africa, a leading pan-African web hosting company and accredited domain registrar has extended its web hosting infrastructure to Nigeria, making it the first web hosting company to do so.
From an award-winning Tier-III data centre in Lagos Nigeria, Web4Africa is poised to offer its regular services from its West African network Point-of-Presence. These services include: shared Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting and Cloud Hosting.
To offer the very best experience to residents of Nigeria, Web4Africa is peering openly at the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN), with a 100Mbps connectivity to all the leading operators openly available at the exchange point in Lagos.
From the Nigeria data centre, Web4Africa has access to clean, 100% stable and redundant power supply, as well as top-notch physical security.
In the words of Oluniyi Ajao, M/D of Web4Africa:
We are in Africa and Africa is in us. We are committed to bringing world-class web hosting to Africa and Africans, meeting the needs of businesses and other entities. Our extension to Lagos Nigeria is one of the first steps towards this goal.
The installed infrastructure has been carefully engineered for excellence with speed and redundancy built into every layer of the hardware.
Residents of Nigeria would have access to low-latency and high-speed data hosting services with varying service options targeted at developers, SMEs, NGOs, corporates and government departments.
Web4Africa has the experience and credibility to drive the need for local web content development in Nigeria. Web4Africa currently serves existing clients from its own server hardware in a Tier-III data centre in South Africa, powered by its own multi-homed resilient IP network. Web4Africa currently peers openly at 1Gbps on Africa’s first internet exchange – the Johannesburg Internet Exchange (JINX) and enjoys direct connectivity to some major South African and pan-African IP carriers.
Established in 2002, Web4Africa is a leading pan-African web hosting company and ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar offering web presence services to clients worldwide.
Web4Africa is offering .HOST Domain name for your web hosting / domain name business on promo at $39 for the first year till 17th October 2014. That means you have less than 48 hours to take advantage of this limited-time offer. If you have no plans to switch to .HOST immediately, you can still register the domain name for future use. $39 is the lowest pricing for .HOST Domains on the Internet today.
Visit https://www.web4africa.net/domain-name/host/ to order now.
.CD Domain Name Registration is now available from Web4Africa, a leading domain registrar in Africa. Web4Africa recently became accredited for .CD, but the CDNIC domain registry.
.cd is the country-code top-level domain name system for the Democratic Republic of Congo and is originally intended for use by entities in that country. .cd is however available for registration to anyone worldwide.
.cd due to its similarity with CD (abbreviation for Compact Disc), is popularly used for music-related websites, social networks and entertainment websites generally.
Web4Africa is able to offer .cd domain registrations at a price of $50/year, the lowest price on the Internet. No special promotional code is required to take advantage of the pricing offer.
With South Africa being the most developed country in Africa, it is not much of a surprise that 3 cities in South Africa are joining world-class cities like London (.london), New York (.nyc), Tokyo (.tokyo), Bayern (.bayern) etc, to own their own city top-level domains (TLDs). Much credence has to be given to Africa’s largest domain registry, ZACR, for their forward-thinking and hard-work.
With almost 1 million domains registered under 2nd-level .za (.co.za, .org.za, .net.za etc), choices are a bit limited for new businesses who intend to have a web presence. Thus, city-level domain extensions like .joburg, .capetown, .durban have a gap to fill. More so, not every website in South Africa targets the entire country. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses in South Africa only need to target their respective cities.
Example: a small plumber targeting residents of Randburg would find a .joburg domain name most appropriate.
In essence, new website owners don’t necessarily need to come-up with compounded words just so they can find an available domain name under .co.za
City-level domains would also serve as an easy means of identifying the target audience of a website. While that could have mixed results in itself, a multi-national can still identify itself with a specific city-domain name, for a specific event or promotion.
I was attending ICANN 47 conference hosted in Durban, in July 2014. A cab driver I had been using for a few days asked about what conference I was attending. I explained the conference was related to domains and he remarked to my amusement and astonishment:
“…No more .co.za, .durban, straight!”
Ah. A cab driver in the city of Durban already knew of .durban and had already proudly taken ownership of the .durban TLD. It made me wonder how many more indigenes and residents of Durban had the same attitude.
.joburg, .capetown and .durban domains would be available from Web4Africa from 1st November 2014.
Web4Africa is an ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar.
Web4Africa, an ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar, is offering .host, .press and .website domain names at discounted prices for 1st year registrations, in a special deal as offer by their respective domain registries.
— Web4Africa (@web4africa) September 18, 2014
The limited time offers end at varying dates as highlighted below:
Several large companies in the hosting community have welcomed .host with open arms. Why go for a .com/.net when there is a dedicated TLD for your industry! Let the TLD showcase what you do, while you get creative with your brand name!
.PRESS is a meaningful platform for information sharers & opinion makers, world over! Its semantic relevance to
the news & media industry makes it the ideal extension for your online presence.
Companies can give their PR efforts a facelift by using companyname.press as a dedicated PR portal, to interact
with the media, their customers & key stakeholders.
.website is the first truly generic domain extension to be launched in the new era of the internet – a real alternative
.website perfectly embodies and symbolizes your online identity. .Website is intuitive, meaningful & self-explanatory
.BID is undoubtedly the TLD of choice for online auctions and market place sites online. An intuitive generic Top Level Domain (TLD) name makes .BID distinguishable from the broad auction-related content found across the Internet, and there are clear benefits to auctioneers, buyers and sellers .BID Top Level Domain (TLD) owners include a spectrum of online auctioneers running various types of auctions from English auctions to penny auctions, across a range of general markets and niche genres, and more traditional auction houses wishing to strengthen their online identity.
This domain extension acts as a magnet to all businesses interested in growing their business on an international level. As a short, clear, and globally understood term for commerce, it is a natural home for start-up businesses, high-growth industries and emergent international trade. By owning a .TRADE name, you are sending a clear message to prospective customers, suppliers, and resellers of the commercial nature of your website.
Personal online broadcasting (webcamming) is more popular now than it has ever been. The Internet allows anyone the opportunity to be a “star” in their own right. Whether you are looking for love online or late night entertainment; whether you are checking out potential vacation spots or the weather at your favourite skiing resort; if you want share your life online or show your latest movie creation. The answer is simple, add .WEBCAM to the end of your domain name and what else could be hosted there than your unique broadcasting talent.
You can register any of these domains with Web4Africa today. Web4Africa is Africa’s largest ICANN Accredited Domain Registrar.
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