Million Dollar Homepage Hit By Downtime

The Million Dollar Homepage was unavailable for an extended period early today, as huge publicity accompanied the completion of Alex Tew's novel online advertising service. Tew, a 21-year-old UK college student, sold the final 1,000 pixels for $38,100 in an eBay auction that closed Wednesday, netting Tew a total of $1,037,100 in total ad sales. The winner of the auction has not yet been announced. Tew launched the site in September to pay his college expenses, offering 1 million pixels of ad space at $1 a pixel.

The gimmick has paid off in huge web traffic. Milliondollarhomepage.com has received up to 500,000 unique visitors per day, and uses up to 200 megabits per second of Internet bandwidth, according to its host, Sitelutions. The Million Dollar Homepage is scheduled to remain online for five years, and appears to now be back online after several hours of downtime, which can be seen in this performance chart:

milliondollarhomepage.com site performance

A dynamically updating performance chart is available for milliondollarhomepage.com. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides similar charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

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MacWorld Expo Site Falters During Jobs Keynote

The official web site for the MacWorld Expo was bogged down by heavy traffic today as Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at the Moscone Center for his annual keynote address. In a repeat of last year's keynote, the crush of surfers eager for details on the latest Apple products slowed macworldexpo.com to a crawl. The site was knocked offline Monday night, apparently from traffic chasing the latest rumors about new product unveilings. On Jan. 3 the site (which ironically is powered by Windows Server 2003) was shifted to new hosting digs at Level 3, perhaps in anticipation of heavy traffic during the annual MacWorld show.

Mac enthusiast sites adapted their sites to manage the extra traffic, as the Mac News Network went to an all-text, ad-free page as it live-blogged Jobs' speech.

macworldexpo.com Site Performance

A dynamically updating performance charts are available for the www.macworldexpo.com site.

Another Lengthy Blogosphere Service Outage

The shared bookmarking site del.icio.us was offline Monday as it struggled to recover from a data center power outage several days earlier. The downtime at del.icio.us was the latest in a series of outages for services that are widely used by bloggers. The TypePad blog hosting service was unusable for most of Friday, while the popular web-based RSS reader BlogLines was offline Monday as it shifted equipment to a new data center operated by its parent company, Ask Jeeves.

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Performance Problems Persist for TypePad

Problems persist at the popular blog hosting service TypePad, with numerous users reporting that they are unable to access their blog management system. In addition, a number of TypePad users report that posts from the past three days have disappeared from their blogs. While TypePad-hosted sites are visible, service operator Six Apart says the TypePad blogging application is currently unavailable and describes the status of TypePad sites as "degraded." In a subsequent update Six Apart attributed the problems to a disk failure during routine maintenance which forced them to restore blogs from backups that were several days old, which accounts for the missing posts.

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Hostway Most Reliable Hoster in November

Ranking by Failed Requests and Connection time,
November 1st - 30th 2005

hoster_performance_november05.PNG

Hostway is the most reliable hosting company site this month, marking the third time this year that it has been on top of the performance rankings, having shared the top spot in May and September. This month also was the first time since March that a single host stood alone as most reliable.

Hostway's showing was the bright spot in a rough month for hosting reliability. Of the 50 hosting companies whose web sites we monitor, seven had outages exceeding two hours, and another 10 had measureable downtime. That included a brief (3-minute) outage for managed hosting provider Rackspace, which has led the reliability rankings six times in 2005 and had gone more than 20 straight months without a measurable outage. An outage at Go Daddy was attributed to a denial of service attack.

Three Linux sites are found in the top 10 this month, three on FreeBSD, two on Windows and one on Solaris.

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Oil Depot Fire Knocks Web Sites Offline

The fires and explosions at an oil depot near London have knocked some prominent UK sites offline, and forced others to relocate to new servers. The explosions Sunday morning damaged a nearby data center operated by Northgate Information Services, which housed a number of popular UK web destinations. Among them was audio retailer Richer Sounds, whose site went offline at the time of the explosion:

Richer Sounds site performance

The site of the UK Labour Party was also out of service due to the fire. The party has set up a temporary site at PIPEX Communications while it seeks to recover the files for its site.

A statement from Northgate indicated that backup equipment was unusable. "The fabric of the building and the fixtures and equipment inside have been badly damaged," Northgate said. "The back-up systems that were in place have also been rendered inoperable. Northgate's ability to service its customers has therefore been temporarily affected." Northgate said its business continuity plan will allow it to restore services using other data centers.