Six Hosting Providers Share Most Reliable Hoster

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

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For the second time in three months, six hosting companies share the top spot for the most reliable hosting company site, as Datapipe, New York Internet, AboveNet, Hostway, Rackspace and IPowerWeb finish in a dead heat for July. All six providers had just 0.01 percent of requests fail during the month, just a hair short of perfection.

Those strong performances came during a rough month for uptime, as late July power outages played havoc with some popular web destinations and hosting providers in data centers in California and the UK.

Five of this month's six leaders have previously finished atop the reliability survey at least once, but this marks the first appearance in the top spot for AboveNet, an IP services and connectivity provider with extensive operations in both the U.S. and the U.K.

Four of the 10 most reliable hosters run their sites on FreeBSD, while two use Linux, and Windows Server 2003, Windows 2000 and Solaris 8 all make one appearance.

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August 2006 Web Server Survey

In the August 2006 survey we received responses from 92,615,362 sites, an increase of 4.4 million sites (4.8%) from the July survey. This is the largest numerical gain yet for the survey, surpassing the 3.96 million site increase in June. The biggest one-month percentage growth remains the 8.5% jump in March 2003.

This month's data spotlights the fierce rivalry between Microsoft and Google, as the free blog services operated by the two Internet titans are seeing enormous growth. Microsoft's Windows Live Spaces (formerly MSN Spaces) grew by 858K sites, while Google's Blogger service added 568K sites.

Those huge gains helped Microsoft and Google's blogging services outpace Go Daddy and 1&1 Internet, the world's two largest web hosting companies. But Go Daddy and 1&1 also continue to grow at a rapid pace, having slashed prices and super-sized their account specs to compete with the free offerings from the Internet's best-known brands. Go Daddy added 368K hostnames this month, while 1&1 Internet added 264K.

The hosting arms race between these four companies continues to influence the web server market. Microsoft's blogs and Go Daddy's parked domains are hosted on Windows Server 2003, while Google's blogs and the vast majority of 1&1 Internet's sites are hosted on the Linux/Apache platform. Microsoft's strength this month helps it gain web server market share in both hostnames and active sites. In both categories, Apache leads with 62 percent share to 30 percent for Microsoft.

Total Sites Across All Domains August 1995 - August 2006

Total Sites Across All Domains, August 1995 - August 2006

Graph of market share for top servers across all domains, August 1995 - August 2006

Top Developers
DeveloperJuly 2006PercentAugust 2006PercentChange
Apache5562258463.095790681762.52-0.57
Microsoft2598809929.482790543930.130.65
Zeus5185030.595216190.56-0.03
Sun3470370.393448620.37-0.02

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eNom Buys BulkRegister, Passes Network Solutions

Domain registrar eNom has acquired rival registrar BulkRegister, LLC, which manages more than 1.5 million domains for its 35,000 customers. eNom said the acquisition gives it more than 6.8 million domain names under management, allowing it to pass Network Solutions to become the second-largest registrar after Go Daddy.

BulkRegister, which provides domain registration and management tools for the corporate market, is based in Baltimore and was owned by reseller hosting specialist Alabanza. Terms of the deal were not announced.

"We are excited about this significant and synergistic addition to our domain platform," said Paul Stahura, founder and chief executive officer of eNom. "Both eNom and BulkRegister have built up strong, loyal and successful customer bases, by providing great tools, high quality service, and a solid technology platform. The combination of the two companies is a natural fit."

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Hosting Deals Boomed in First Half of 2006

Mergers and acqusitions in the web hosting industry accelerated in the first half of 2006, as investment capital flowed into the sector, which just a few years ago was scorned by Wall Street. While most of the deals have featured private investors, the public may get the chance to get in on the action in coming months, as Go Daddy and Hostopia are planning initial public offerings.

The improved environment for hosting M&A was the focus of several panel discussions at last week's HostingCon 2006. "The acquisition market is heating up," said Hillary Stiff of Cheval Capital, an Alexandria, Va. investment banking firm that specializes in the hosting sector. "We're getting more buyers into the market. It's harder to get organic growth, so people are looking to buy companies. There are also a lot more companies looking to sell."

"We're seeing increased M&A activity," agreed Paul Stapleton of DH Capital LLC, a New York investment firm active in the ISP and hosting markets. "More people will be buying hosters. Debt is returning to the market, more private equity is returning to the market, and there are more and more exit strategies for capital in this sector. The capital markets are open for hosters."

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MySpace Outage Pinpointed at LA Telecom Building

The power outage that knocked MySpace offline was the second major failure in the past year at the telecom building in Los Angeles where MySpace houses much of its operations. The downtime at the Garland Building (1200 W. 7th) left MySpace users wondering how one of the web's busiest sites could go dark so easily. Adding to the headscratching was the fact that MySpace is a customer of Limelight Networks, a content delivery network that should (in theory) provide distributed caching and storage.

Other tenants at the Garland Building that were affected included DreamHost, which reported on the weekend power outages on its company blogs. The building lost grid power during a series of rolling blackouts that affected the Los Angeles area as California coped with stifling heat and record demand for electricity. The loss of power at Garland was blamed on the failure of a UPS system (uninterruptible power supply), which normally maintains power to equipment while generators start up.

Equinix said that reports that the outage may have occurred in one of its data centers were incorrect. "Equinix’s data centers were operating as normal over the weekend and this morning, providing consistent power to all customers," Margie Backaus, chief business officer of Equinix, reported in the comments section at GigaOm. "MySpace operates in Equinix data centers, but it also hosts operations in other data centers where we understand the incident occurred." MySpace recently announced that it would lease space in the new Equinix center in El Segundo.

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EurID Suspends 74K .eu Names, Citing Registrar Abuse

EURid has suspended 74,000 .eu domain names and sued 400 registrars for breach of contract, citing "abusive behavior from a syndicate of registrars who have systematically acquired domain names with the obvious intent of selling them."

“In this case we are convinced that the domain name holders of the 74 000 .eu names (Ovidio Ltd, Fausto Ltd and Gabino Ltd) are acting as a front for a number of registrars," said Herman Sobrie, Legal Manager of EURid. "The domain name holders and the registrars can be regarded as one and the same. Since registrars should only register domain names for existing customers and not 'warehouse' the names in order to resell them at a higher price, this is clearly in breach of the registrar contract."

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