What is a #Zerodata URL?¶
A #Zerodata URL is a URL that when accessed by a user doesn’t use out of their internet data plan. In other words, if a user doesn’t have an active internet data plan when they access a #Zerodata URL, they would still be able to access the URL.
How do #Zerodata URLs work?¶
This works using a well understood internet technology called proxying.
Simplifyd #Zerodata proxy servers have been integrated into all major telcos in Nigeria and Kenya via a reverse billed model. This means that whenever users access any resource that is proxied via the Simplifyd #Zerodata service, the user’s mobile internet data isn’t depleted, but instead invoiced to Simplifyd and eventually passed on to the organization.
Types of #Zerodata URLs¶
There are two (2) types:
- Transparent URLs
- Rewritten URLs
Transparent #Zerodata URLs are used for Fully Qualified Domain Names (FQDNs) that you control for example your organizations’ website. The reason for this is that they work by updating your DNS settings for the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) in question.
Let’s take an example. Assume you own the example.com FQDN (when we say own, we mean that you are responsible and can change the DNS settings for the FQDN), and you want to make it datafree.
This is what it looks like before you go ahead to make it datafree. The FQDN, example.com has it’s DNS record (A or CNAME) mapped directly to the IP address of the Origin server that hosts the website for example.com. In this scenario users would need to have an active internet data plan to access the website hosted on the origin server.
Now, to the section that discusses how to make the website hosted on the origin server datafree for your users. What we need to do is ensure that traffic destined to our origin server routes through Simplifyd’s #Zerodata proxy servers. In this case, because we control/own the example.com FQDN, we can modify its DNS settings. We do this by creating a CNAME for example.com to
This means that example.com no longer points directly to the origin server., but is now mapped to Simplifyd’s #Zerodata proxy server. The effect of this is that when users access exmple.com their traffic gets routed through the Simplifyd #Zerodata proxy server resulting in a datafree connection.
Rewritten #Zerodata URLs, are similar to transparent URLs discussed above. They are used for URLs used by our apps that we don’t own or control. Examples of these would be third (3rd) party services such as an AWS S3 bucket. The FQDN for our AWS S3 bucket is controlled by Amazon meaning we cannot modify its DNS configurations. So the way around this is using Simplifyd’s #Zerodata URL rewrite feature. This works by creating a new FQDN that can be used in our apps but maps/points to the origin FQDN.
An example should make this clear. Assume we have a URL to an AWS S3 bucket as follows:
The FQDN from the URL is:
s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com, which we obviously don’t control or own. Therefore, we need to use Simplifyd’s #Zerodata URL rewrite feature.
Simplifyd’s URL rewrite feature would give us a new FQDN, for example:
[delta-bomadi-pqph949lx5.zerodata.works](http://delta-bomadi-pqph949lx5.zerodata.works) that maps to
[s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com](http://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com). The effect of this is that any request to
[delta-bomadi-pqph949lx5.zerodata.works](http://delta-bomadi-pqph949lx5.zerodata.works) gets forwarded to
[s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com](http://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com) meaning that access to our S3 bucket through the Simplifyd rewritten URL would be datafree to our users.
Install or update Edge CLI
curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/simplifyd-systems/cli2/main/install.sh | sh
Verify Edge CLI installation
tomi@tomis-MacBook-Pro ~ % edge --version edge version 0.0.1-alpha
Transparent #Zerodata URLs