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Local website hosting and buying Zimbabwe

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The guys over at Candid Consumerism posted last week that the Buy Zimbabwe people were being hypocritical telling everyone to buy Zimbabwean products yet Buy Zimbabwe itself is not. Buy Zimbabwe won’t eat its own dog food. Its website is hosted in the United States. If they were being sincere, the article says, they’d just host it locally; Buy Zimbabwe would just buy Zimbabwean hosting.

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We have no idea why Buy Zimbabwe hosts their website in the US. And maybe this is a sign there are certain issues that need to be dealt with before Buying Zimbabwe becomes the default preferred option for the local buyer.

Techzim is not hosted locally.

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We tried buying Zimbabwe for several months until we just decided the problems were beyond our control and moved out.

The reason:

There’s this strange thing that happens sometimes with local ISPs where when you’re using a certain ISP’s internet service, you can’t get to sites hosted by a different local ISP. We experienced this like 5 times in a single year: we would complain that our site was down, and our host would say something like, “look, your site is up, must be something with your ISP”. And we would call up our ISP to tell them “we can access the Internet but we can’t get through to ABC hosted websites!” They’d do the typical, “It’s viruses on your end” thing that ISPs do when they can’t pinpoint the problem. Eventually they would admit and fix the problem.

This problem is frustrating because sometimes you just have no idea some visitors trying to access the website from XYZ ISP can’t reach you. Until, if you’re lucky, someone notifies you. But visitors rarely do this; they’ll just assume the website is down and move on. A their-website-is-always-down reputation is one every online business works tirelessly to avoid.

Now the worrying thing is this: The problem is not fixed yet. The traffic routing between the local ISPs still doesn’t work that well.

In May for example, Some Econet Zimbabwe websites were unavailable to everyone not using an Econet internet connection. They fixed it after we posted an article about it. www.econet.co.zw is hosted locally.

Just two weeks ago, around the time Sha launched, the new social network wasn’t reachable from the Africom (local ISP) network. We advised the owners of the site and they in turn advised Africom and it was fixed.

Just a week ago, we couldn’t access the Econet Zimbabwe main website. Yes, again. A friend said they couldn’t access it from SA as well. Reported the matter to someone we know at the company at it was fixed.

There are more examples out there of sites that sometimes are unavailable to local visitors depending on which ISPs you’re with. The ISPs of course just blame each other and use the opportunity to tell the complaining customer they have a lousy ISP and should just move to a different one.

Are you ‘buying Zimbabwe’?  If not, why?

Also read:Why web hosting is expensive in Africa (The Zimbabwe case)


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21 thoughts on “Local website hosting and buying Zimbabwe

  1. I’ll say it again … you can’t tell ppl to Buy Zimbabwe and host in USA. If there’s issues with hosting in Zimbabwe, then you 1) Make an informed choice after research and 2) Communicate your issues and try improve the situation.

    They’re trying to revive a problem economy in a problem country, Buying Zimbabwe may have issues no matter what product/sector you’re buying into. But with hosting, I reckon if people research properly instead of just jumping for any / cheap option, they’ll be perfectly alright!

    Anyway … amheno.

  2. Hi Techzim what are the prices like for hosting in Zim cause when we looked into it they were just not competitive, think you can host for around $30 a month (basic website) from places like server grove?

  3. pros and cons to both.

    hosting locally pros
    ——-
    * faster access for zim users
    * available when isp’s international links are down

    hosting locally con
    ——-
    * some isp’s do no connect or have poor routing to ZINX (the local internet exchange) and their customers have to go out (to europe normally) and back into zim.

    international hosting pro
    ——-
    * faster access for international usersinternational hosting con——-* international bandwidth for local usersimo the best solution is to host internationally for sites targeting international users, and host locally for sites targeting local users, and for heavily used sites that want the best of both get mirrored (local and international) hosting from webdev 🙂

  4. their site is so sh1tty, the developer put a fake link at the bottom of the page (
    Powered by e-stablish solutions ). so many spelling mistakes, funny background, oh, i remember using that animated gif flag about 5years ago. someone please tell the dev that html borders are not cool ha!

    not a good thing, arggghh, its zim! at least they have a site. 🙂

  5. If you are really serious about your online presence, you won’t host in Zim. Some of the reasons are:
    1) Support – i wont accept my site being down for more than 15 mins. NO2) Cost – I pay $200 a year for domain + UNLIMITED bandwidth and space.3) Domain Reg – takes me 10 mins to have my domain up and running.

    1. I have to disagree with you on all those points (I am not saying you are wrong, just that I have had a different experience through who I use).

      We host a number of online application (programs used by distributed companies) in Zimbabwe and for clients around Africa.  Traditionally we have used Webdev (both local and international varieties) and Go Daddy.  From my experience

      – Support from Webdev is much quicker because if something goes wrong I can get them on email, Skype, phone or at worst drive round there.  With Godaddy I get a support email saying it is with be addressed in up to 72 hours and there is nothing I can do but wait.  Also upload speeds for patches and updates are much much better to Webdev.

      – I pay $150 a year per site and have never come near by caps, but again this is for applications not general sites.

      – Never had a problem getting a non .co.zw domain through Webdev.

      I do agree with the article that the problem is an interconnect between the ISPs but this does not affect us as they are applications and not generally accessed by the public.

    2. lol, dude

      1 – it happens with overseas providers too, dont believe me? have a look at http://status.uk2.net/ and http://status.vps.net/ . UK2 and VPS.net are one of the biggest hosting, cloud and dedicated service providers in the US and the UK.

      2 – you might want to have a read through the terms and conditions of your service provider… especially the part about ‘fair usage policy’. its not as unlimited as you might think it is!

      3 – true fact, its not that difficult to register domains and have them hosted in zim. some service providers are slower than others!

      1. @kthaker:disqus   and  @504f6ea59b3d6ced7f3dc71b1d759565:disqus I proudly host with http://www.gridhost.co.za and i sleep very well at night.  6 domains and have never had a SINGLE serious problem that lasted more than 30 mins. So I will keep using my trusted hosts. 
        And if you have a cap (bandwidth & space) and you have never breached it, then your site has no serious traffic… I have one site that has average 15,000 visitors a day and chews over 500MB bandwidth a day (text & images)….and after some serious Facebook Ads and Google Adsense last weekend, we expect the number of visitors to rise to 30,000 a day within the next 3 months…So if you have a serious site to run, Zim is out or else you lose the business. My client in Australia wouldn’t understand if you tell them maServer adonha because Harare City Council guys vadimbura electric cable when they we digging some trenches…and the backup generator ran out of fuel… you dont wanna go that suicidal route.

        1. Mr Developer,so how much do you pay for your site in terms of hosting,say in US dollars ?Im building a site for Zimbabwean and international clients,what would you reccommend in terms of where to host as im currently living in UK ?

          1. Honestly hosting depends on ur needs. I can give a list of good hosting packages available across the world and you choose what best suits your organisation or website. Things to look at is cost, bandwidth cap (if any), support, speed of access, security and any other nice-to-haves

          2. Checkout http://www.rackspace.com. I use them extensively for cloud applications. You can even make cost calculations on their site to give you an idea what it will cost you to host with them. As for hosting in Zim, forget that daft idea. It’s only a good idea for sentimental and patriotic reasons, i.e. if you eat sentimentalism and patriotism. Some of us don’t! Fortunately.

  6. Can someone please explain about Telone broadband which gives ping speeds >500ms to a zimbabwean website? I did a traceroute and i get 15hops into a zimbabwean website.

    1. telone have decided to connect direct to international only, and not connect with other zimbabwe isp’s through zinx. who knows why, but it is a bad decision for their customers and zimbabwe as a whole.

  7. LOCAL HOSTING IS DRUNK FOR ACTIVE WEBSITES. CAN ANYONE PLEASE REFER ME TO AN INTERNATIONAL SERVICE PROVIDER WERE PAYMENTS ARE EASILY DONE, LIKE THE BEST INTERNATIONAL WEB HOST FOR A VERY BUSY SITE

  8. I like to visit this well post. It give a nice review of the Local website hosting which is  buying Zimbabwe. now i am student I got a some idea for the web hosting deal.

  9. zimbabwean service providers need to be serious and have a little proffesionalism. untill then i sure as hell aint buyin zim

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