A recent study carried out has shown that, majority of websites registered on the .ng and .com. ng domain names, have their websites hosted in the United States of America and this is making Nigeria to lose about 72 per cent of the revenue that should ordinarily have been generated and retained in the country, through the hosting of such websites in this country.
The report on the use of domain names in the national domain of Nigeria named, .ng, was carried out in this December 2017 by a web-hosting company, HUB8.
According to the report, out of the 34,000 sites that were sampled, less than 1,000 are hosted in Nigeria, which is only about 2.3 per cent of the total.
The country of origin for the remaining sites could not be identified, so Nigeria’s share may still be slightly higher, if some of those sites for which their hosting countries could not be identified are hosted here, though still not comparable with the number of those hosted abroad.
“The dominant countries where site hosting often occurs were determined for the .NG and .COM.NG domains. The overwhelming number of sites are located in the United States (72 per cent),” translating into loss of 72 per cent hosting revenue for Nigeria, according to the report.
The .ng is Nigeria’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), which is the country’s digital imprint on the World Wide Web (WWW).
This is coming just as the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), managers of the country’s domain names system (DNS) ecosystem, declared that it has, so far, registered 100,973 domains in the .ng domain zone as at November 30, 2017. This is in spite of the fact that Nigeria has about 37 million SMEs, majority of whom have websites with domain and hosting outside the shores of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, HUB8 report was based on 89,165 domain names in the .ng domain zone, with particular focus on the details of the usage of .ng domains as it relates to website hosting.
The report, however, does not include data on premium domains (about 2,000) and some special domains that are technically registered, though, not used by end users.
On the distribution of the domain zones, the report reveals that the most popular domain zone is .com.ng, having almost 70 per cent of all national domains registered.
The .ng domain zone, the report says, comes next, although, within the zone, a domain name is shorter, “but domain registration here costs several times more than in .com.ng, while .org.ng, which is usually used by non-profit organisations, ranks third with an age backlog.
“The number of zones identified by the study include, .com.ng; .ng; .org.ng; .gov.ng and .edu.ng, with the number of domains being 61,609 (69.1 per cent); 15,353 (17.2 per cent); 6,077 (6.8 per cent); 1,738 (1.9 per cent and 996 (1.1 per cent) respectively,” the report said.
Other domain zones include, .net.ng; .name.ng; .sch.ng; .i.ng; .mobi.ng and .mil.ng, all which have less than one per cent market share.
In terms of active websites, the HUB8 report notes that there are currently 38,864 websites in the .ng domain, not including the sites that fail to open to the connection timeout, redirects and the ones throwing an error, (page is not found). “The existing sites are hosted only in half of the .com.ng and one-third of the .ng domains,” the report says.
According to the report, operating sites are reported on 45 per cent of .com.ng and .ng domains.
Also, 15 per cent of registered domains are said to be with errors indicating “connection time-out” presumably for some temporary problems regarding hosting or channels. About 3 per cent of domains are redirected to other sites and the same number displaying error pages such as ‘404 Page Not Found’ or “500 Server Error.”
The Director for Emerging Markets at HUB8, Mr. Dmitry Deniskin, commented further on the finding. He stated that Content Management Systems, (CMS), was often used on the existing websites of the .com.ng and .ng domains, stating that the most popular CMS is WordPress, being installed on every one in three sites in the .ng and .com.ng domains.
“WordPress has a 78 per cent share of all used CMS. Blogging is currently very popular in Nigeria: almost 1, 500 domains are affiliated with Blogger.com”, he stated.
“Specialised CMS utilized for e-commerce; such as Magento, Prestashop, Shopify, WooCommerce, nopCommerce, oSCommerce and X-Cart use on about 500 sites in the .com.ng and .ng zones”, he stressed.
Deniskin also explained that, what HUB8 intends to do is to help Nigeria reverse the current situation in which 72 per cent of .com.ng and .ng domain names hosting that is lost to the US. He stated: “HUB8 is a global web hosting company helping brands and individuals to easily set-up a website. Our ultimate goal is to become a Growth Partner for individuals and small enterprises in emerging markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”
“We are providing free web hosting in Nigeria because, we are aware that people postpone launching a website due to the investments involved”, he stressed. “Hosting domain names locally will curb capital flight and bring greater economic value”, he emphasised.
“We want to make it possible for all, to have a personal or business website without worrying about the costs. We have created this report to promote the national domain of Nigeria .NG. Register your .NG domain on the HUB8 Nigeria website,” he urged.
HUB8 also created a page on their website dedicated to the .NG domain – https://ng.hub8.com/ng-domain. There is a directory of all active .NG websites made up as a Nigerian flag. By clicking on the flag you will be redirected to the one of the active .ng websites so you can understand how the typical Nigerian website looks like.
Meanwhile, President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA), Mr. Sunday Folayan, who has continuously rued the poor local content in the county’s DNS ecosystem, stated that the association would support any initiative and policies aimed at deepening local hosting of .ng domain names.
“Over the years, NIRA has made conscious efforts to populate and to continue to populate the country’s DNS system. It is our belief that increased adoption of .ng domain names by individuals, businesses and government agencies would help the country to reduce the capital flight being recorded with the preponderant use of foreign domain names such as .com, .net, .za, .ua, among others”, he noted.
“We also need to encourage local hosting with the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria, (IXPN), and similar organizations. With this we reduce the cost of accessing the internet and curb revenue flight to foreign lands,” he concluded.