Outages for MediaTemple Grid Hosting Service

Customers of MediaTemple's GridServer, which received widespread attention upon its debut last month, experienced significant downtime Tuesday. GridServer is among the many cluster-based grid hosting services, offering the promise of enterprise-level reliability and scalability in an affordable web hosting plan.

GridServer got a big boost when its launch was featured on TechCrunch, a leading technology blog. On Tuesday, bloggers who were among the early adopters to GridServer were airing their grievances as their sites were slowed by performance problems. MediaTemple provided regular updates on its efforts to stabilize the system, citing bugs in a third-party storage system as the cause for the outages and sluggishness. The performance problems began at 10 a.m. Pacific time and continued past 5 p.m. for some customers.

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Amazon’s Alexa Hit By Performance Problems

Alexa, the search portal operated by Amazon.com, is experiencing significant performance problems today, with outages and delays seen from all of our monitoring points. In addition to basic search, Alexa provides data on the popularity of web sites visited by users of its toolbar (Note: Netcraft provides a similar service).

The performance issues for Alexa come as Amazon is pursuing an aggressive expansion into the utility hosting business, leasing its infrastructure to third-parties to provide scalable storage and hosting. Amazon's hosting initiative received considerable media coverage tied to CEO Jeff Bezos' presentation at last week's Web 2.0 conference.

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A dynamically updating chart of the performance of Alexa.com is available. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides detailed uptime charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

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October Phishing Site Competition Winners

Netcraft's October phishing site competition saw many internet users continuing to battle it out to gain a top spot in our phishing site reporters list.

During October, alert members of the Netcraft Toolbar community discovered a clever attack against the popular social networking site MySpace. Other users of the Netcraft Toolbar were promptly protected against this convincing attack, which used MySpace's own servers to present a spoof login form.

To show our appreciation to the community, Netcraft will be sending a top of the range "Thanks for all the Phish" commemorative iPod to the five people who reported the largest number of phishing reports accepted during October.

The winners are: Les, Cori, Robb, DavidCh and Leo. Many thanks for your efforts! Each phishing site that is reported vastly reduces the number of victims falling prey to fraudulent activity on the Web. Netcraft has now received, reviewed and blocked 275,000 unique URLs reported to us as phishing sites.

The Netcraft Toolbar, which is available for both Internet Explorer and Firefox, serves as a giant neighborhood watch scheme for the Internet: members who encounter a phishing fraud can act to defend the larger community of users against the attack. Once the first recipients of a phishing mail have reported the target URL, it is blocked for toolbar users who subsequently access the URL and widely disseminated attacks simply mean that the phishing attack will be reported and blocked sooner.

In recent reviews Ziff-Davis comments "In testing on live phishing sites, IE 7 RC1 failed to identify as many phishing sites as Netcraft's free IE toolbar. " while the Washington Post remarked "I've visited countless phishing sites in the past few months, and Netcraft's toolbar has done its job almost unfailingly."

Lieberman Web Site Faces Election Day Test

As U.S. voters go to the polls for a mid-term election likely to decide control of both houses of Congress, analysts say voter turnout will be a critical factor. Political web sites are key tools in this effort - provided they can stay online.

Hosting uptime became a contentious issue in Connecticut's primary election in August, as the campaign web site for veteran Sen. Joseph Lieberman was completely unavailable on election day. Lieberman, the Democrats' 2000 vice presidential candidate, was defeated by challenger Ned Lamont. Afterward, Lieberman's campaign manager blamed the Lamont camp for the outage, alleging "coordinated efforts to disable our Web site." Other analysts said the Lieberman campaign had likely exceeded the bandwidth allotment on its shared hosting account at MyHostCamp.com.

Lieberman is back, running as an independent, and has a new web host as well. The Joe2006.com site is now hosted by Web.com, and is performing well through midday:

Joe2006.com web site performance

A dynamically updating chart of the performance of Joe2006.com is available. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides detailed uptime charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

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Microsoft Approved as ICANN Registrar

Microsoft has become an ICANN-accredited domain registrar, giving it the ability to sell domains directly to its customers. Microsoft has been reselling domain names from Melbourne IT, a registrar based in Australia that also provides wholesale domains to Yahoo and other hosting providers.

Microsoft's could use its new status to sell domain names for its Office Live small business hosting service, which is scheduled to come out of beta on Nov. 15 and provides a free domain name with each account. This would probably save Microsoft money on each domain sold, as wholesalers like Melbourne IT typically charge a small mark-up over the base fees from the central registry.

But not all companies that gain ICANN accreditation use it to sell their own domains. Google became a registrar last year but has yet to sell domain names to the public, preferring to use its status to focus on reducing spammy domains from its search results. Amazon.com also has ICANN accreditation, but has not pursued retail domain sales.

Rackspace and Tiscali Most Reliable Hosters in October

Ranking by Failed Requests and Connection time,
October 1st - 31st 2006

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Rackspace and Tiscali are the most reliable hosting companies for October 2006, followed closely by Jumpline, WestHost, the UK's Demon Internet and Germany's Deutsche Telekom. Jumpline is based in Columbus, Ohio and focuses on the virtual dedicated server market, while WestHost is a Utah provider offering shared hosting.

Industry-leading reliability has become business as usual for Rackspace, a managed hosting specialist based in San Antonio, Texas, which finishes atop our monthly survey for the sixth time in 2006. Tiscali, an Italian company providing a broad range of hosting and domain services, was previously the most reliable host in May of this year and August 2005.

Five of the 10 most reliable hosters run their sites on Linux, while three use Solaris, two run on FreeBSD, and Windows hosts are shut out of the top 10 this month. The strong showing for Solaris includes two hosts (Demon, Deutsche Telekom) running Solaris 9/10 and one (Verio) on Solaris 8.

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