A First Look at Third-Party Service Dependencies of Web Services in Africa

Aqsa Kashaf, Jiachen Dou, Margarita Belova, Maria Apostolaki, Yuvraj Agarwal, Vyas Sekar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Third-party dependencies expose websites to shared risks and cascading failures. The dependencies impact African websites as well e.g., Afrihost outage in 2022 [15]. While the prevalence of third-party dependencies has been studied for globally popular websites, Africa is largely underrepresented in those studies. Hence, this work analyzes the prevalence of third-party infrastructure dependencies in Africa-centric websites from 4 African vantage points. We consider websites that fall into one of the four categories: Africa-visited (popular in Africa) Africa-hosted (sites hosted in Africa), Africa-dominant (sites targeted towards users in Africa), and Africa-operated (websites operated in Africa). Our key findings are: 1) 93% of the Africa-visited websites critically depend on a third-party DNS, CDN, or CA. In perspective, US-visited websites are up to 25% less critically dependent. 2) 97% of Africa-dominant, 96% of Africa-hosted, and 95% of Africa-operated websites are critically dependent on a third-party DNS, CDN, or CA provider. 3) The use of third-party services is concentrated where only 3 providers can affect 60% of the Africa-centric websites. Our findings have key implications for the present usage and recommendations for the future evolution of the Internet in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPassive and Active Measurement - 24th International Conference, PAM 2023, Proceedings
EditorsAnna Brunstrom, Marcel Flores, Marco Fiore
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9783031284854
StatePublished - 2023
Event24th International Conference on Passive and Active Measurement, PAM 2023 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Mar 21 2023Mar 23 2023

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13882 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference24th International Conference on Passive and Active Measurement, PAM 2023
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


  • Africa Internet
  • Availability
  • CDN
  • Certificate authorities
  • DNS
  • Third-party dependency


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