The world famous SA PING OFF: Content Portals

The idea has been lurking around for a while now. And like everybody else I've considered hosting in various places. Some first world. Some not. :) So just how good are hosting solutions? Just how quick are they? Who hosts with who?

I guess when you're hosting Web 2.0 stuff / hosted applications like us, it's a little different. Fast response rates are important. Ever been changing an event on Google Calendar and the thing just went bonky? Mmm Hmmm. Client side stuff not catching up to slow net connection.

AND thus the intro to a novel little competition. From our offices (512kb Telkom ADSL - at the moment) - a horse race to end all horse races. A PING OFF. Yes.

Some disclaimers. Obviously, connectivity changes based on the bank balance / mood of the Telkom CEO (not really, but it changes). So, to be truly objective, we'd have to run this test a couple of times. Maybe. Later.

Also, Sandton is fairly congested to start with. It is, however, closer to SAIX international exchanges - so perhaps that evens it out.

Without further ado. Our contestants in the first PING OFF.

Introducing, in the grey and red jersey...
And... in the orange jersey...
And... in the blue jersey...
And finally, the white jersey belongs to...

And they're off!

Coming in...

FIRST PLACE: - Average roundtrip 95ms.
SECOND PLACE: - Average roundtrip 268ms.
THIRD PLACE: - Average roundtrip 450ms
COME ON DONKEY: - Packet Loss 100%

And just to prove it...

Some post match analysis tomorrow morning :)


  1. Ping times aren't conclusive evidence for anything, you know. The "ping" command sends a type of packet called "ICMP" to a host, and times how long it takes to get back. However, normal web traffic does not use ICMP packets, it uses TCP/IP packets. Some hosts block all ICMP traffic, which is why your news24 donkey didn't return any results.

    I took the liberty of doing some tcptraceroutes to the four hosts you used, although my results will be different to yours (I work at an ISP in Stellenbosch):

    12 ( [open] 51.734 ms 51.179 ms 57.911 ms
    13 ( [open] 54.282 ms 60.979 ms 51.945 ms
    11 ( [open] 50.863 ms 51.188 ms 53.017 ms
    8 ( [open] 43.941 ms 43.115 ms 38.827 ms

    All that this really tells us is that the IOL people name their machines after Pokemon ;-)

  2. Aha - exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. How Jeeky of me :)

    Interesting, so it's a much closer horse race using tracert's. Although, as you said, you're sitting on an ISP backbone?

    What is the actual reason the ping's would be so slow?

    And, could I use command line tracerts to get a better idea?

    Another question - we use Nagios to monitor server performance (very good international open source monitoring tool, linux based) and they use ping's to measure response rate...

    OR is there another way of telling (maybe by IP range) if any of our proudly SA tech companies are fiddling with offshore hosting "friends"?

  3. And apologies to the News24 donkey! For now... They still came 3rd in the improved race environment...

  4. could you also add in your ping off... would like to see how it performs as it is my news site that i visit every day...

  5. not a bad idea... might have a newspaper ping off. Need to also see what the best method is... tracert. or ping.


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