Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in September 2013

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.125 0.066 0.134 0.134
2 Kattare Internet Services Linux 0:00:00 0.003 0.193 0.125 0.250 0.515
3 Hosting 4 Less Linux 0:00:00 0.003 0.179 0.128 0.251 0.634
4 www.uk2.net Linux 0:00:00 0.006 0.158 0.087 0.179 0.309
5 krystal.co.uk Linux 0:00:00 0.009 0.151 0.100 0.208 0.208
6 Netcetera Windows Server 2012 0:00:00 0.022 0.073 0.088 0.185 0.357
7 iWeb Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.152 0.089 0.177 0.177
8 Hivelocity Hosting unknown 0:00:00 0.022 0.156 0.101 0.201 0.201
9 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.025 0.099 0.081 0.161 0.161
10 INetU Windows Server 2003 0:00:00 0.025 0.143 0.088 0.221 0.484

See full table

Qube Managed Services had the most reliable hosting company site in September 2013, with not a single failed request throughout the whole month, and an average connection time of only 0.066 seconds. Qube is based in London, but they also host services from data centers in New York and Zurich. Their New York data center is at 111 8th Avenue, which is adjacent to a trunk dark fiber line. This building is the city's third largest in terms of floor area and was bought by Google for $1.9 billion in 2010. Qube provides managed and colocated hosting services from each of its data centers, as well as virtual data centers based on VMware vCloud Director.

Including September, Qube ("Qualified By Experience") has made five appearances within the top ten so far this year, and also attained another first place result in May.

In second place, with just one failed request, was Kattare Internet Services. It is among the most reliable sites monitored by Netcraft, managing 99.993% uptime over the past year and 99.97% over the past seven years. On September 21st, it was predicted that a damaging storm would hit the Pacific Northwest (Kattare's base of operations), causing thunder and wind storms, with 50mph gusts strong enough to take down trees. The next day this storm took out Kattare's power supply; however, the use of generators meant there were no outages recorded during the storm.

Hosting 4 Less narrowly missed out on second place, as although it only had one failed request during September, its average connection time was 3 milliseconds slower than Kattare's.

Seven of September's top ten hosting company sites were running on Linux operating systems. Five of these (including Qube, Kattare and Hosting 4 Less) used the Apache web server software, while ServerStack and krystal.co.uk used nginx.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

中国云

[Read this article in English]

作为2012年度世界最大的贸易国,中国长期以来一直是一个劳动力和服务输出大国,即便是在信息技术领域,也和印度的差距越来越小。以亚马逊DigitalOcean为代表的欧美云计算服务提供商的不断发展壮大,预示着云计算基础设施会成为一种商品,而那些最廉价的提供商则会逐渐受到用户的青睐。

中国网民数量在2013年6月达到了5.91亿,超越了美国和欧洲。把互联网应用和其他内容放在目标用户所在的国家可以有效缩短访问所需时间并提高访问稳定性,所以日益增加的网民数量对本国的互联网基础设施建设提出了要求。

中国云主机市场的极速发展

在过去一年,在中国大陆境内直接连接到国际互联网的Web服务器数量增长了8.3%,且绝大多数增长都来自于云主机市场。在直接连接到国际互联网的Web服务器数量方面,阿里云是目前中国最大的云主机提供商。特别值得一提的是,阿里云拥有的直接连接到国际互联网的Web服务器数量在2013年9月达到了17,934,比去年同期增长了6倍。放眼全球,其增长量仅次于云计算巨头亚马逊

虽然中国的云计算基础设施建设尚处于起步阶段,但阿里云的未来还是很有希望的,因为它背靠着强大的阿里巴巴集团。阿里巴巴集团是中国拥有直接连接到国际互联网的Web服务器数量最多的公司,也是世界前30名之一,而且该集团旗下的淘宝网阿里巴巴交易市场等电子商务平台早已在中国家喻户晓。在阿里巴巴集团直接连接到国际互联网的Web服务器当中,有92%来自于阿里云。


Metric Sep 2012 Mar 2013 Jun 2013 Jul 2013 Aug 2013 Sep 2013
Hostnames 91,553 205,824 382,342 381,989 368,948 389,171
Active sites 23,596 55,654 119,089 116,835 146,310 150,089
Web-facing computers 2,670 8,038 15,931 16,846 17,670 17,934

Detailed view of Aliyun in terms of hostnames (web sites), active sites, and web-facing computers.

本土市场与中国防火长城

尽管中国云主机市场增长迅猛,但是Netcraft发现这些增长绝大多数都来自于面向中国本土市场的网站。把服务器尽可能安置在离终端用户较近的地方可以提高访问性能这一点在中国格外突出:可能是受到金盾工程(亦称中国防火长城)的影响,流入或流出中国大陆的网络数据有时候会很慢,不稳定,甚至被屏蔽。2013年9月,从阿里云连接到国际互联网的网站的域名有一半以上都在.cn顶级域下,有41%是.com,而在其他国家顶级域下的域名则非常少见。由此可推断,与亚马逊的全球化服务不同,阿里云目前还是比较局限于中国本土市场。

TLD share by domains of websites at Aliyun in September 2013


阻碍中国云服务全球的绊脚石

对于想吸引中国用户或访客的外国企业来说,使用中国境内的云主机是很有意义的,但是会遇到一些障碍。这些障碍也正解释了为什么中国云目前面向的主要还是本国用户且这种情况很可能还会持续一段时间:

  • 和最廉价的外国云主机提供商相比,中国云主机提供商在价格和操作系统等配置选择的多样性上都没有优势。以阿里云为例,除非选择2核或4核的CPU,否则按量付费的云主机不支持Windows操作系统,而且其价格也不比那些更成熟的竞争对手便宜。最廉价的按量付费的阿里云主机为单核CPU,512M内存,1Mbps带宽,价格每小时0.27元(约合0.04美金),几乎是亚马逊最便宜的云主机价格的两倍,而配置相近的DigitalOcean云主机的价格仅为每小时0.007美金。但是,由于定价模式的差异,包年包月的阿里云主机在某些情况下会比包年包月的亚马逊或DigitalOcean更便宜。
  • 从海外访问中国境内的网站有时不够顺畅 - 从英国发送到阿里云官方网站的数据包往返几乎要耗时半秒钟,而从美国访问的效果也没有好很多。在过去20天,有多达4%的来自荷兰的访问请求都以失败告终。

  • Performance of www.aliyun.com from a Netcraft performance collector located in the Netherlands


  • 很多中国主机服务提供商只支持中文。以阿里云为例,无论是官方网站、控制面板还是技术支持,中文都是其唯一的语言。不过,亚马逊云对中文的支持也几乎一样有限 - 只有首页有中文版。
  • 有些中国主机服务提供商只面向中国客户。例如:申请使用阿里云服务的用户必须要有一个中国的手机号来接收验证码以完成注册。按量付费的用户必须通过身份验证,而只有中国或个别亚太地区国家的公民或者中国的企业可以做这样的验证。想使用阿里云服务的客户还必须有一张与支付宝兼容的中国的银行卡。如果服务器需要通过域名访问,那么还必须在工信部备案,而这样的备案并不向外国企业开放。

这些障碍意味着中国的云主机服务目前还不太可能冲出中国,面向世界。但是,伴随着来自阿里云这样的本地提供商和微软、亚马逊这样的海外提供商之间的竞争,中国的云服务器数量很有可能会继续增长,来满足国内日益增多的需求。微软为了将其云主机服务打入中国市场,已经开始与中国的一家名为世纪互联的基础设施服务提供商进行合作,并且正在为中国市场定制极具竞争力的价格计划。也许通过这样的模式,其他外国企业(比如亚马逊)也可以将其云主机服务打入中国市场,不仅提供本地的数据中心,同时也争取在严格的监管环境下为中国客户提供支持。同样的,如果上述这些障碍能够在一定程度上得到解决,相信阿里云和其他中国云主机提供商也能够在国际大舞台上获得更多的市场份额。

Netcraft提供国际互联网基础设施方面的信息,包括主机服务提供商、网页技术等等。想了解更多关于云计算行业的信息,请访问 http://www.netcraft.com/internet-data-mining/


Building the Great Cloud of China

[中文版]

China, the world's largest trading nation in 2012, has long been a desirable location for outsourcing labour and services, even within the technology and IT sector where it is not far behind India. The growth of cloud computing providers in Europe and the United States — particularly Amazon and DigitalOcean — may foretell cloud computing infrastructure becoming a commodity and outsourced to the cheapest provider.

The ever-increasing number of internet users in China (591 million at the end of June 2013) requires the development of home-grown internet infrastructure: hosting web applications and other content within a target user's own country typically speeds up requests and improves reliability. The number of internet users in China is greater than either the United States or Europe.

Stratospheric growth in Chinese cloud hosting

Although the number of web-facing computers in China has grown by 8.3% over the last year — the majority of this growth has occurred within the cloud hosting market. Aliyun (云, pronounced 'yun', is the Chinese word for cloud) is the largest cloud computing provider in China in terms of the number of web-facing computers, and remarkably, Aliyun now has six times more web-facing computers than it did a year ago, reaching a total of 17,934 in September 2013. Worldwide, only the cloud computing giant Amazon gained a greater number of web-facing computers.

Although China's cloud computing infrastructure is still in its infancy, Aliyun's future looks particularly promising, as it is owned by the Alibaba Group. This group is the largest hosting provider in China, features within the top 30 hosting providers worldwide, and has already established a strong internet presence with its better known e-commerce platforms, Taobao and Alibaba.com. Aliyun now makes up almost 92% of the web-facing computers at Alibaba Group.

Metric Sep 2012 Mar 2013 Jun 2013 Jul 2013 Aug 2013 Sep 2013
Hostnames 91,553 205,824 382,342 381,989 368,948 389,171
Active sites 23,596 55,654 119,089 116,835 146,310 150,089
Web-facing computers 2,670 8,038 15,931 16,846 17,670 17,934

Detailed view of Aliyun in terms of hostnames (web sites), active sites, and web-facing computers.

Indigenous market and the Great Firewall of China

Despite the strong growth of the Chinese cloud hosting market, most of the growth seen by Netcraft is hosting sites aimed at the Chinese market. Hosting content as close to the end-users as possible increases the performance of the web site, and this effect is particularly prominent in China: internet traffic crossing the border can sometimes appear to be slow, unstable, or even blocked, perhaps as a side-effect of blocks enforced by the Golden Shield Project (also known as the Great Firewall of China). In September 2013, more than half of the domains of websites hosted at Aliyun were in the .cn TLD, around 41% in .com, whilst domains in other ccTLDs appeared to be very rare. Unlike Amazon's global reach, Aliyun's reach appears to be limited to the local market — at least for the time being.

TLD share by domains of websites at Aliyun in September 2013


Obstacles holding back the Chinese cloud

Using cloud hosting in China could make sense for non-Chinese companies looking to increase their presence in China; however, a number of obstacles remain. These explain why the Chinese cloud is still mostly indigenous, and is likely to remain so for some time:

  • Neither the pricing models nor the variety or operating systems are as attractive as those offered by the cheapest non-Chinese cloud hosting companies. Taking Aliyun as an example, its on-demand instances do not support Windows operating systems unless you opt for a 2-core or 4-core CPU, and they are not significantly cheaper than its more established competitors. The cheapest on-demand option at Aliyun is ¥0.27 ($0.04) per hour which buys you a single core, 512MB of RAM, and a 1Mbps internet connection. This is almost twice the price of Amazon's cheapest option and a comparable DigitalOcean instance can be had for just $0.007 per hour. However, as pricing models vary, reserved instances at Aliyun can be cheaper in some circumstances.
  • Internet connectivity from outside China can be patchy — packets sent to www.aliyun.com from the United Kingdom take almost half a second to make the journey and back again, and the performance in the United States is not much better. More than 4% of requests to www.aliyun.com from the Netherlands failed during the past 20 days.

  • Performance of www.aliyun.com from a Netcraft performance collector located in the Netherlands


  • Many Chinese hosting services are only available in the Chinese language. This is the only language available for Aliyun's brochure website, control panel, and technical support. However, Amazon's support for the Chinese language is almost as limited — a single marketing site appears to be the sole Chinese-language site for AWS.
  • Some Chinese hosting companies only accept business from Chinese customers. For example, Aliyun's customers are required to have a Chinese mobile phone number in order to receive a verification code to complete the signup process. Customers wishing to buy an on-demand instance at Aliyun must go through an identity verification process, which requires the registrant to be a national of China or one of a few other Asia-Pacific countries, or to represent a Chinese company. Customers must also hold a credit or debit card issued by a Chinese bank compatible with Alipay. Customers must also register with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology if they wish to associate a domain name with an Aliyun cloud server, but such registration is currently unavailable to foreign enterprises.

The current obstacles suggest that the cloud is unlikely to be outsourced to China yet. However, the availability of cloud computers in China is likely to increase to match its rapidly increasing local demand with competition both from local providers like Aliyun and overseas players like Microsoft and Amazon. Microsoft has collaborated with a partner company in China, 21Vianet, in order to bring its Cloud to China, and is making competitive price plans customised for the Chinese market. Perhaps by following this model, other non-Chinese companies such as Amazon could enter the Chinese market, providing local data centres and support to Chinese-speaking customers within the stricter regulatory environment. Equally, if some red tape were cut and network connectivity improved, Aliyun and other Chinese cloud providers could be poised to take a larger share of the global cloud computing market.

Netcraft provides information on the internet's infrastructure, including the hosting industry and web content technologies. For information on the cloud computing industry, please see http://www.netcraft.com/internet-data-mining/.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in August 2013

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Multacom FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.000 0.176 0.105 0.212 0.529
2 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.007 0.272 0.069 0.138 0.140
3 Bigstep Linux 0:00:00 0.007 0.303 0.070 0.144 0.260
4 www.dinahosting.com Linux 0:00:00 0.007 0.215 0.098 0.195 0.195
5 Netcetera Windows Server 2012 0:00:00 0.010 0.079 0.074 0.158 0.305
6 CWCS Linux 0:00:00 0.010 0.234 0.127 0.217 0.564
7 iWeb Linux 0:00:00 0.013 0.160 0.084 0.166 0.166
8 Swishmail FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.017 0.134 0.068 0.136 0.182
9 INetU Windows Server 2003 0:00:00 0.017 0.147 0.080 0.207 0.454
10 Server Intellect Windows Server 2008 0:00:00 0.027 0.095 0.096 0.193 0.480

See full table

Multacom had the most reliable hosting company site in August 2013, with no failed requests and an average connection time of 0.105s. Multacom operates out of two secure data centres in Los Angeles, and focuses on providing shared and dedicated hosting services.

In second and third place were Hyve Managed Hosting and Bigstep. Both sites had only two failed requests, but Hyve's slightly shorter time to connect gave it the edge over Bigstep. Hyve provides managed hosting options from data centres across America, as well as in Shangai, Hong Kong, and London. Hyve also handles hosting for several major international firms, including British Airways, Tesco and Nokia. Bigstep, which provides hosting services for "big data" companies, continues to maintain its impressive record since Netcraft started monitoring its performance, with a consistent 100% uptime over 5 months.

For the first time since May, hosting companies running Windows Server ranked in the top ten: Netcetera's website runs on Windows Server 2012, INetU use Windows Server 2003 and Server Intellect use Windows Server 2008. The most reliable hosting company site, Multacom, runs FreeBSD (as does last month's most reliable site, Swishmail). All other sites in the top ten run on Linux.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

Estimating the value of hosting companies by counting computers

Is it possible to estimate the revenue of a hosting company based on its public presence — that is, is the number of websites it hosts directly proportional to its market value? By using the market capitalisation (or acquisition purchase price, where appropriate) as a valuation and examining the number of web-facing computers, a striking patterns emerges.

Valuation of a hosting company against the number of web-facing computers found in August 2013.
Blue = "pure" hosting company; Orange = significant other areas of business. The dashed line is based only on pure hosting companies.
†Go Daddy’s valuation is based on its 2011 buyout offer, adjusted for growth in web-facing computers and for inflation.

Amongst the hosting companies examined, there is a fairly strong correlation between the number of web-facing computers and the valuation of the hosting company: the more computers visible at a hosting company, the higher the valuation. Considering only pure hosting companies (without significant other business, marked in blue), the average value per web-facing computer is circa $43,000.

An average company value per web-facing computer on the order of tens of thousands of dollars may seem surprisingly high, but there is, of course, more to it than the cost of a single computer. The number of web-facing computers does not take into account the potentially large number of computers used behind the scenes, which may vary from hosting company to hosting company depending on business model — there are likely to be fewer hidden computers at a shared hosting provider than at a cloud hosting provider.

Even with the same number of web-facing computers, the valuation of a hosting company can vary due to the quality of the physical hardware, the network infrastructure, and also sales and support staff. Most important is the current and future revenue, and hence profit, that each web-facing computer can generate.

This average value per web-facing computer masks a great deal of variation between hosting companies:

Hosting company Value per web-facing
computer (USD)
DADA $15.3k
Peer 1 $30.0k
SoftLayer $49.7k
iomart $52.3k
United Internet* $66.8k
Internap* $67.3k
Rackspace $68.1k
Go Daddy* $177.2k

Value (USD) per web-facing computer. Companies marked with a * have significant other areas of business.

Comparing two competitors in the managed hosting market, Rackspace and Peer1, highlights a significant difference in the valuation based on web-facing computers. Each web-facing computer at Rackspace is valued at twice as much as one at Peer1; perhaps this reflects the value of Fanatical Support and the flexibility of Rackspace's OpenStack-based cloud.

Go Daddy's valuation of $4.1bn is based on a deal in 2011 (adjusted for both inflation and computer growth), which reportedly amounted to $2.25bn for 65% of the company. This valuation is greater than expected from the number of computers at Go Daddy, but this difference could be explained by its equally prominent role as the largest ICANN-accredited domain name registrar.

SoftLayer is in the process of being acquired by IBM, who say the acquisition will strengthen their leadership position in cloud computing and help speed business adoption of public and private cloud solutions. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal is speculated to be worth more than $2bn.

The correlation between computers and market value can be used not only to estimate the value of private companies which have never been sold before, but also to estimate the value of the hosting divisions within much larger companies, such as Amazon.

Amazon's market capital stands at around $131bn today, but the majority of its revenue comes from online retailing. A valuation based on computer counting would suggest that its hosting division, Amazon Web Services, could be worth approximately $7.8bn, around 6% of Amazon's entire market value. Based on its Q2 2013 earnings report, Amazon's AWS division (within the Other category) accounted for 5.7% of its total revenue between 1st April and 30th June 2013.

Netcraft has developed a technique for identifying the number of computers (rather than IP addresses) acting as web servers on the Internet, providing an independent view with a consistent methodology on the number of web-facing computers at each hosting location worldwide. For more information, see our Hosting Provider Server Count.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in July 2013

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Swishmail FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.003 0.134 0.076 0.152 0.209
2 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.003 0.096 0.078 0.158 0.158
3 iWeb Linux 0:00:00 0.003 0.146 0.083 0.166 0.166
4 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.006 0.267 0.083 0.166 0.168
5 XILO Communications Linux 0:00:00 0.009 0.230 0.094 0.399 0.561
6 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.012 0.136 0.065 0.132 0.132
7 Virtual Internet Linux 0:00:00 0.015 0.164 0.089 0.383 0.594
8 Datapipe FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.018 0.089 0.031 0.062 0.095
9 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.018 0.142 0.079 0.159 0.491
10 Bigstep Linux 0:00:00 0.018 0.293 0.084 0.174 0.321

See full table

Swishmail had the most reliable hosting company site in July 2013. The New York based company failed to respond to only one of Netcraft's requests during the whole month, and had an average connection time of 0.076s. Swishmail primarily operates as an email hosting provider and uses three different data centers, run by Savvis, Level3 and Globix in New York City. Upstream connectivity is provided by Level3, Savvis, Cogent, AboveNet and Globix.

In second and third place, both also with only one failed request, were ServerStack and iWeb. ServerStack had the most reliable hosting company site during the previous month, and has data centers in New Jersey, San Jose and Amsterdam. iWeb's data centers in Montreal have a total dedicated server capacity of nearly 35,000.

For the second month in a row, none of July's top ten hosting companies were running on Windows operating systems. The most reliable hosting company site, Swishmail, was running on FreeBSD, as were two others sites within the top ten; the remaining seven were running on Linux. In terms of web server software, Apache was used by seven of the top ten sites, while nginx was used by three sites, including Swishmail's.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.