Mosso Inc. wants to bring affordable utility computing to the masses - or at least to web designers and developers. The start-up, which is backed by Rackspace Managed Hosting, has just launched an innovative reseller hosting service that offers unlimited websites, databases and e-mail accounts in a turnkey service for just $100 a month.
Mosso uses a "hosting system" of clusters of specialized servers, an approach typically seen in enterprise hosting, which can offer advantages in redundancy and performance. The company was built from the ground-up as an alternative to discount dedicated servers, which have been enormously popular with hosting resellers and power users.
Mosso's $100 a month reseller account comes with 80 gigabytes of storage space and 2,000 gigs of monthly data transfer. Customer support and billing are available as paid add-ons, allowing customers to outsource both services for just $5 per domain per month. Traffic load balancing and mitigation of denial of service attacks are included in each account, along with the ability to combine Windows and open source technologies on a web site, running ASP and PHP pages from the same web directory. There are significant differences with dedicated server solutions as well, as Mosso offers FTP uploads but not shell or root access.
Several prominent weblogs have been hit with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in recent weeks, as the target list for digital attackers continues to broaden. While some of the attacks appear to be politically motivated, on Monday a DDoS struck one of the blogosphere's most financially successful bloggers.
Australian Darren Rowse confirmed that an outage Monday on his ProBlogger weblog was caused by a DDoS, but provided no details about the attackers or their motives. Rowse gained international attention last year when he revealed that he would make more than $100,000 as a solo blogger in 2005, primarily through earnings from Google AdSense advertising and commissions from affiliate referral programs.
Has the success of professional bloggers made them viable financial targets for professional DDoS attackers? Sites with large volumes of transactions are the primary targets for a cottage industry of digital extortionists using DDoS attacks, usually launched through large botnets of compromised computers. These attacks have previously targeted online betting sites, payment gateways, domain parking services and even online games.
Google has launched a beta version of a free hosting service, Google Page Creator. The service, which is currently limited to existing users of Google's Gmail, allows users to build a web page using a web-based interface. Each site has its own subdomain, with a web address using the structure of http://gmailname.googlepages.com, and users can choose among up to 40 page designs.
The introduction of Google Page Creator follows the recent launch of free hosting products by Microsoft and Go Daddy. Google is already a major player in the free hosting sector with Blogger, while Yahoo has several free hosting products, including its GeoCities brand. While several of these services are designed to generate revenue from advertising, Google's Page Creator beta doesn't include advertising on either its public pages or administrative interface.
Free web hosting is hot again. Rejuvenated by the growth in online ad spending, free web sites bearing advertising are emerging as the latest battleground between the Internet economy's largest players.
On Wednesday Microsoft launched the beta version of Office Live, its free web hosting service for small business owners who agree to view ads as they maintain their sites. Ad-supported web services are a key ingredient in Microsoft's family of "Live" web services, while Google and Yahoo report strong growth in their existing free hosting programs. That trio is being joined by the domain registrar Go Daddy, which is now offering free ad-supported hosting accounts and blogs with every domain name it sells.
The free hosting ramp-ups by Microsoft and Go Daddy are a response to surging revenue from contextual ads on web sites. In its most recent quarter, Google reported $1.1 billion in advertising revenue from its own sites, and another $799 million from third-party sites using its AdSense program. The rapid growth of domain parking services has also illustrated the earning potential of large portfolios of web pages bearing contextual ads.
Payment gateway StormPay is recovering from a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that has kept its web site offline for much of the past two days. The company, which provides online payment processing for thousands of e-commerce web sites, came back online Friday after a sustained attack that commenced last weekend. The DDoS on StormPay is the latest in a series of attacks on services that allow web merchants to accept credit cards.
The attacks flooded StormPay with up to 6 gigabits a second of data, according to Barrett Lyon, chief technology officer of Prolexic Technologies, which specializes in DDoS defense and is working with StormPay to mitigate the attack. Lyon said the DDoS involved DNS amplification, using bogus DNS requests to cause Internet nameservers to inundate StormPay's web site with traffic. The impact can be seen on the performance chart for StormPay.com:
A dynamically updating performance chart is available for stormpay.com. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides similar charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.
After a year of explosive growth, Go Daddy has surpassed 1&1 Internet as the world's largest web host - at least for the moment. With a net gain of 255K hostnames this month, Go Daddy's web infrastructure now houses 5,544,296 hostnames, about 95K more than 1&1, according to our Hosting Provider Switching Analysis. 1&1, which is based in Germany, has had the largest number of hostnames each month since the inception of the hosting survey in early 2003.
The milestone comes as Go Daddy prepares to advertise in Sunday's Super Bowl XL broadcast, which is expected to be seen by a global television audience of more than 90 million. Go Daddy, which will pay $2.5 million for each of two 30-second ads, had 13 of its edgy ad submissions rejected by ABC censors before gaining an approval on Thursday.
Why is Go Daddy so keen on advertising in the Super Bowl again this year? Did the company's controversial 2005 ad really help sell domains and hosting services? The numbers speak for themselves: Go Daddy has experienced powerful growth over the past year, adding 2.5 million hostnames since January 2005. Many of those hostnames represent sales of domain names, products that generate revenue once a year (upon the initial sale and each annual renewal). But domains are an important gateway to the sale of additional services such as web hosting and SSL certificates.