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Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q2 2021

1 April 2021 00:00:32 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are increasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 5%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 345.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 230.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 435.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

A couple of issues today

27 January 2021 10:28:08 +0000

We, as well as some clients today, have received phishing emails advising the recipients to follow a link to deal with emails that have been quarantined or “suspended” on the mail server. These emails are scams, and do not come from addresses on the niner.net domain. Do not click on the links, and delete the emails.

Secondly, we are aware that the primary mail server’s IP address is in at least one new blacklist as a result of our data centre being blacklisted. If email you send is bounced for this reason, please advise us and we will re-route email to that domain via one of our relay servers.

Please contact NinerNet support if you have any questions or need to report something. Thank-you.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q1 2021

1 January 2021 09:06:44 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are increasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 7%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 330.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 220.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 425.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Christmas wishes and hours

21 December 2020 03:28:02 +0000

After a year like no other, worldwide, we look forward to a fresh start in 2021! Unlike in previous years we’re not using this opportunity to announce reduced hours over Christmas. NinerNet support is and will be available during the same regular hours you’re used to, and our systems continue to be monitored 24/7. Please contact us if you need us.

We sincerely thank you for your business this year. I know that for some of you it has been a difficult year financially, but with a COVID vaccine on the horizon I hope that you, your colleagues, employees and families will have a much better 2021 as you ramp up for an approach to normality in 2022. In the meantime we wish you and everyone in your organisation a Happy Christmas, and a prosperous New Year.

All the best.

Upcoming changes to mail servers

20 December 2020 12:52:47 +0000

The email world is constantly evolving. More to the point, spam is a never-ending arms race. We have made some changes to our email system, and in the New Year we will be making more.

So far all we have done is add a second alternative route for outbound emails. This gives us (and our clients) a third possible point from which emails can be delivered to your recipients. This action is the result of our data centres’ IP addresses finding themselves in more blacklists as a result of poor management, and the bad behaviour of their other customers.

Our use of this service will result in some very minor changes to the headers of some of these emails when viewed by the recipients. Almost nobody pays any attention to the headers of emails until there is a problem, but we are telling our clients this in advance so that you are aware of it.

There is nothing you need to change in your email programs or apps. The only thing you need to do is forward errors to us if a bounce message for an email you have sent refers to being blocked, as opposed to the destination address not existing or being full. If your email was blocked we can divert future emails to that domain via an alternative route. This option has always been available, but for the reason stated above we’re getting more reports now than in the past.

That addresses an immediate issue. Plans were already in progress for a scheduled upgrade to our primary mail server, but now they have an additional focus: We will be setting up a new mail server in another data centre where the reputations of their IP addresses are an explicit priority.

This plan will probably protect NinerNet for a couple more years. However, with the way the email world is moving, there are some predictions that all IP addresses will eventually be blocked from sending email except for a select few. I don’t believe I need to explain how this will concentrate power over email in the hands of a few, and how detrimental this will be, so we expect that reputable data centres will oppose this. Those are the kinds of data centres we want to work with, but we will maintain accounts with third-party relay providers just in case.

We will be posting more on the subject of email, specifically details of our migration, and information you need to know to ensure that your email will not be considered spam, either by us, our spam filters or your customers.

Please contact NinerNet support If you have any questions or concerns. Thank-you.

Zambian domain registrars again taking detrimental action

28 November 2020 04:23:18 +0000

In April we informed you that we had achieved ZICTA accreditation through our partner Preworx. The primary motivation for doing this was to provide reliable domain registration service to Zambians because, as is shown in this blog, the Zambian ccTLD (country code top-level domain) has been very badly managed by the accredited/registered ISPs that provide registrar service. By becoming an accredited registrar ourselves we hoped (and continue to hope) that we could bring our legendary customer service to dot-zm registrants, to give them peace of mind that their domains will operate as expected.

Since April we have taken a number of actions to provide improved service to dot-zm registrants:

  • We have rescued quite a number of domains that were registered through Coppernet,
  • We have helped the registrants of some domains that were previously hosted with or registered through Microlink,
  • We set up an example domain at example.com.zm,
  • We have updated the WHOIS information for all domains that we’ve transferred in from other registrars, so that they are using current and correct contact information and are compliant with all expected norms as far as contact information is concerned,
  • Many domains transferred in from other registrars had expiry dates as long as ten years ago, but all domains have been renewed up to the present, and
  • We have brought some domains “home” from overseas where they were managed by companies gouging Zambians for hundreds of US dollars per year for domain registrations.

We have also been able to use our status as a registrar with direct and established contact with ZICTA to address a number of situations where dot-zm domains were unduly taken offline due to actions taken by their previous registrars. Most recently this took place yesterday (27 November) when domains that are with the registrar AfriConnect (officially, but also known as iConnect and now “inq.”) were taken offline because their nameservers were changed by iConnect/inq without request or authorisation from the registrants. This took these domains offline all day yesterday until finally, at the end of the day, they were restored to working condition again.

Similar issues have taken place with Zamnet and Coppernet in the past, although the latter is no longer in business and the issues with the former took place before our accreditation, so we were not able to do anything except sit on the sidelines and shout! In one recent case a client’s dot-co.zm domain, registered with Zamnet, was down for over a month before it was sorted out by Zamnet! The expiry date on that domain still shows as 2015 in the WHOIS!

These situations are all examples of the fact that dot-zm domains registered with anyone other than NinerNet are in jeopardy of going offline at any time with no notice to the registrants or NinerNet. This is intolerable. Although it is not a technical requirement, ever since April we have insisted that new clients transferring in existing dot-zm domains to our hosting service also transfer their domain registration for management by NinerNet/Preworx. Any existing clients who choose not to transfer their domain registrations to NinerNet will be pointed to this blog post to ensure that they are aware of the risk they are taking if they leave their dot-zm domain registered with another registrar.

Finally, we are continuing to sell dot-zm domain registrations, renewals and transfers for K175.00 per year (50% off!) until 31 December 2020. Contact NinerNet today to arrange for the registration, renewal or transfer of your dot-zm domain!

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q4 2020

1 October 2020 00:00:19 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are increasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 8%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 307.50
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 205.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 389.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

Microlink has apparently shut down

14 September 2020 03:24:27 +0000

Microlink last week apparently sent an email to their customers stating that they were suddenly “shutting down their hosting services”. According to some reports, there weren’t many customers left to send the emails to. However, one of them contacted us and with cooperation from ZICTA we were able to transfer their dot-zm domain under our management, and we got them back online the same day.

However, another former Microlink customer who contacted us wanted to get their @microlink.zm email address working again. We had to inform them that we are unable to do that, because we don’t manage the microlink.zm domain and its DNS and email accounts. It remains under the management of Microlink, or whatever is left of it.

We did contact the (apparently) former IT manager at Microlink (Sanjeev) to offer assistance with moving clients to new hosting and to host email on microlink.zm, but we have not had a response … and quite frankly don’t expect one.

If you are a former hosting customer of Microlink — i.e., you have your own domain, dot-zm or otherwise — that was hosted with them, please contact us and we will assist you in getting your domain back online as quickly as possible. We have the expertise and experience.


Update, 2020-09-18: Although we can’t replace what you lost when Microlink shut down unexpectedly, we can try and ease your pain. If you contact us and sign up before the end of September 2020, we will host you for no charge for ONE YEAR (for a maximum of 25 email addresses), including bringing your dot-zm domain registration up to date. Click here to contact us by email now.

SSL/TLS certificate validation limit

22 July 2020 04:35:03 +0000

Effective August 2020, future TLS/SSL certificates we issue will only be valid for one year at a time. This is due to the fact that the major web browser vendors (Apple, Mozilla, Google, etc.) will only trust certificates issued on or after 1 September 2020 for a maximum of 398 days. If your certificate was issued before 1 September, it will be continue to be trusted.

If you have any questions about this, please contact NinerNet support and we will be happy to assist you.

Quarterly kwacha rate review, Q3 2020

1 July 2020 07:11:38 +0000

Based on the current value of the Zambian kwacha in US dollars and recent trends, we are increasing our retail kwacha prices effective today and until the next quarterly review by about 3%.

Some sample rates:

  • webONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 285.00
  • mailONE hosting plan (monthly): ZMW 190.00
  • gTLD domain (annually): ZMW 361.00

Our new kwacha rates will be online within 24 hours.

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This is the corporate blog of NinerNet Communications. It's where we post announcements, inform and educate our clients, and discuss issues related to the Internet (web and email) hosting business and all it entails. This includes concomitant industries and activities such as domain registration, SSL/TLS certificates, online back-up, virtual private servers (VPS), cloud hosting, etc. Please visit our main website for more information about us.

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