Advanced Topics

Advanced Topics

Basic changes to your website

The main change you need to make to your website is to start using the new #datafree domain names that tell the MNOs that the traffic is #datafree (reverse-billed). This is usually a simple change to most websites and can be configured with a few parameter changes. To convert all the traffic to #datafree, every URL must use one of the #datafree domains. Fortunately for most websites most URLs are relative which means they just use the same domain as the top page. Converting one may convert them all. 

Some components of the website may be delivered from a range of additional servers. Links to these servers need to be modified to use #datafree domain names. biNu has developer tools accessed through the biNu Publisher Portal to quickly find and change all occurrences of these. Some sites will reference the domain in request parameters and the tools allow modification of request parameters to resolve issues caused by using the datafree gateway domain.

Some components of your website may be on servers run by third parties (e.g. SaaS services) and it is hard to change the URLs being used. Using the biNu toolkit you can write simple rules to change those URLs on the fly as content passes through the biNu #datafree Gateway. 

Key Features

You may not want to convert every feature of your site to #datafree. Some sections use too much data and deliver too small a benefit for you to pay for the data. Other components may not be possible to convert to #datafree due to contractual, technical or security reasons. A first step in converting your site to #datafree will usually be to determine what are the key features and how to get the maximum benefit for the data cost. 

Managing your Data Costs

Managing your data costs can be undertaken in 3 steps: 

1. Measure and Estimate. biNu provides a tool to help you determine the cost of each visit and to anticipate the monthly cost of providing #datafree content. Often 80% of the data cost is caused by 20% of the functionality, focussing on these areas can help cost management. Estimating the increased engagement that converting to #datafree generates will depend on your business. biNu has witnessed engagement growth of 1000% through the introduction of #datafree content. 

2. Optimisation. Your website may have been developed to be light on data but we have not yet seen a site where a little focus on optimisation would not significantly improve the ROI of #datafree conversion.   

3. Control. The biNu platform provides a comprehensive set of tools to ensure that the data you pay for is being used for the purpose you intended. You can write special rules to narrowly restrict the traffic based on URL, content type etc. You can set daily and monthly spend limits, define limits to block unexpected load peaks. biNu provides a suite of reports to allow you to monitor, analyse and optimise the cost. 

Always There

One of the advantages of converting your website to #datafree is that it will always work for a user, even if they have no data. Unfortunately, when they have no data, search engines don’t work and most users depend on them to get back to a website. Getting the user to bookmark your site will be more important and may require some changes to the website. If you want the strongest ongoing connection with your user you should consider using #datafree WRAP to offer your website as a #datafree Android App that the user can install and is always there. 

Keeping it #datafree

As you change your website over time you want to be 100% confident it remains #datafree. biNu provides Testing and QA Tools to help you maintain your website and ensure it is always reliably #datafree. This can be integrated with your Automated testing so there is no manual work required. 

HTTPS and Certificates

The #datafree REACH architecture establishes secure HTTPS connections between the Phone and biNu’s #datafree Gateway then separately from the Gateway to your web servers. The traffic is always encrypted while it is travelling on the networks but it is not formal 'end-to-end encryption' as the content is in ‘clear text’ while in the Gateway. 

When you need to send critical information securely within #datafree Reach this can be achieved using ‘Browser Cryptography’. The Browser and the web server both generate special new TLS keys and they encrypt the data with those extra keys before they send it. The encrypted content is then encrypted a second time under the HTTPS protocol as it is sent. The #datafree Gateway will un-encrypt the HTTPS level encryption but the content will still be encrypted in the gateway using the keys known only to the browser and the end webserver.   

If full 'end-to-end HTTPS encryption' is required then this can be achieved by delivering the website as an Android app using biNu’s #datafree WRAP. 


The system of cookies supported within Browser to store data for the user work by associating the ‘cookie' with a domain name. The biNu #datafree Gateway contains features to handle the translation from your #datafree domains and your web server domains. If the same user accesses your website both via the #datafree solution and sometimes directly the cookie data may not shared. biNu provides a tool to manage this that needs to be implemented in your website.

IP Addresses

The traffic to your backend will all appear to be coming from a single IP address (our server) rather than from IP address of the user’s phones. If your system uses IP address to identify or locate users you may need to make changes. The user’s IP address is available in the HTTP x-forwarded-for header and in a special ‘binu’ HTTP header. 

Some firewall etc limit connections from a single IP Address. These limits may be exceeded when all the traffic is coming via a single IP address (our server’s) and this will cause requests to fail. 

Replacing YouTube Videos with REACH Video Delivery

YouTube videos cannot play natively in a #datafree REACH App. YouTube (a Google product) wrap the video in a Javascript Player that enables ads, tracking etc but this Player cannot operate through the #datafree REACH Gateway. The Javascript also adds significantly to the data download required so adds to your cost. To overcome this, the #datafree REACH product can convert YouTube videos embedded in your website on the fly to play the videos directly from the #datafree REACH Delivery system. The videos must be pre-registered in the #datafree REACH system where they are pre-fetched and optimised. This also provides extra security that your data is only used by users to download the videos you wish to make #datafree and not any other videos in YouTube.

The steps to migrate YouTube videos to #datafree REACH Video Delivery are: 

1. Identify the YouTube URL for the video - in this case it is: 

2. Log into the biNu Publisher Portal as the application’s publisher

3. Click the Utilities Menu Item on the left side menu bar and choose "Media Collection Management"

4. Enter a new video collection or choose an existing one and then enter a new video item to be converted - the entry is the url to the video - 

5. The status of the video record is NEW and should change to CONVERTED when done

6. Then, in the #datafree Workbench go to the domain edit screen for the domain that has the embedded video

7. Open the  "Custom javascript code to apply to responses" section and choose the video collection in the "Replace YouTube videos in this Collection" field.

8. Rules are then automatically generated for the edited domain which replace the YouTube video link with the biNu video link

9. Ensure that and are not set up as paid domains in your domain mappings in the Gateway Definition for the App. This may have been created from processing your .har file and leaving it in place could allow users to watch other YouTube videos using your #datafree data. 

When using #datafree REACH Video Delivery, YouTube ads are not delivered and the reporting and tracking of ‘plays’ does not occur in YouTube, Google Analytics etc. 

Logins and other SaaS services.

There are some SaaS services that cannot be converted to #datafree due to technical, contractual and security reasons. biNu has experience supporting many such services and can provide guidance. Login services through Facebook and Google cannot be supported so if your site uses these services an alternative solution will be required. Most Content Distribution Networks (CDN) are supported, Google Maps is not. 

Experience it working

To experience a #datafree website go to in a mobile browser, the whole site has been converted to #datafree.

The best test is to browse the website on a phone that has zero airtime and/or data balance but few business people experience that. Instead, with WiFi turned off, check your balance before browsing, then again after browsing. As long as no other apps are using data, your data/airtime balance will not have changed. To confirm this you could use a third party data monitor such as 3G Watchdog.