World of Warcraft Plans Upgrade to Fix Performance Woes

World of Warcraft says it is planning to upgrade its authentication servers to address performance problems that have plagued the popular online game in recent weeks. With more than 6 million subscribers, World of Warcraft has been struggling with login problems since the game's authentication system crashed on April 7.

"For several months now we've researched potential authentication upgrades and evaluated how those system changes could be implemented with minimal impact on our service," said a message posted Thursday on the WoW forums by game operator Blizzard Entertainment. "We recently decided on a specific authentication solution and are currently taking the necessary steps to implement the associated hardware and software. The new platform should help alleviate the login issues that players have experienced, including both forum- and game-login processes."

The performance problems have also been visible in the performance of the worldofwarcraft.com web site:

World of Warcraft web site performance

A dynamically updating chart of World of Warcraft's web site performance is available. 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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Apache Now the Leader in SSL Servers

Apache has overtaken Microsoft as the leading developer of secure web servers. Apache now runs on 44.0% of secure web sites, compared to 43.8% for Microsoft.

SSL server developer share

As the original developers of the SSL protocol, Netscape started out with a lead in the SSL server market. But they were soon overtaken by Microsoft's Internet Information Server, which within a few years held a steady 40-50% of the SSL server market.

Apache has taken much longer to reach the top. Version 1 of Apache did not include SSL support : in the 1990s, US export controls, and the patent on the RSA algorithm in the US, meant that cryptographic support for open source projects had to be developed outside of the US, and were distributed separately. Several independent projects provided SSL support for Apache, including Apache-SSL and mod_ssl; but commercial spin-offs, like Stronghold by c2net (later bought by Red Hat), were more popular at that time.

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Outage for Wikipedia Web Site

The Wikipedia web site suffered an outage yesterday, caused by power problems at one of its facilities. The site was completely unreachable for 40 minutes, and experienced performance problems for much of the afternoon.

Begun in 2001, Wikipedia has rapidly grown into the largest reference website on the Internet. The online encyclopedia is a wiki, allowing Internet users to create and edit content. Wikipedia is the ninth-most popular web property, according to Netcraft's rankings of the most visited sites. Wikipedia's English language site is the 29th most visited URL by Netcraft toolbar users, but the higher-ranking URLs include related sites all associated with the eight top-ranked web properties - Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, the BBC, CNN, eBay, Fox News, and Amazon.com.

wikiapril20.png

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

Perens Launches Open Source Domain Parking Service

Seeking to offset recent gains by Microsoft, a leading open source evangelist has launched a service designed to boost domain parking on open source software. Author and developer Bruce Perens created OpenSourceParking.com in response to a 5 percent market share gain by Microsoft in this month's Netcraft web server survey. The shift was due to domain registrar Go Daddy shifting 4.5 million parked domains from Linux to Windows Server 2003. "It's time for the Free Software/Open Source community to fight back," wrote Perens, urging open source supporters to park their undeveloped domains with the new service, which runs on the Linux operating system and Lighttpd web server.

The project's goals are to increase the market share for open source software and generate revenue from advertising on the parked domains, which will be used to fund "political and promotional efforts" on behalf of open source software. A sample parked domain includes ads for Firefox, OpenOffice, and OpenSourceParking itself. "These banners will soon be joined by commercial advertising," the service notes, adding that "Open-Source-hostile advertisers will be excluded."

Perens downplayed the significance of Microsoft's market share gain via parked domains. "This is an 'appearance' change only, because the sites involved have no content," he wrote in announcing the service. "But managers believe figures like those in the Netcraft report, and act on them."

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Hostopia Most Reliable Hoster in March

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

hoster_performance_march06.PNGipo

Hostopia is the most reliable hosting company site this month, followed by Verio and iPowerWeb. This is the first appearance in our reliability rankings for Hostopia, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and specializes in the wholesale hosting market, offering private-label web and application hosting plans for resellers.

This month's results showcase the reliability of the shared hosting sector, which traditionally offers the most affordable hosting. Three of the providers in the top 10 - iPowerWeb, Interland and MyHosting.com - offer hosting plans for less than $10 a month, while another five have entry-level accounts priced below $20. While price competition in recent years has tightened profit margins for many providers, hosting customers are finding that peak reliability and connectivity are more affordable than ever.

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

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April 2006 Web Server Survey

There are now more than 80 million web sites on the Internet, as the April 2006 survey received responses from 80,655,992 sites, an increase of 3.1 million hostnames from March 2006. The web has doubled in size in the past three years, as the survey hit the 40 million mark in April 2003.

This month's survey brings one of the largest one-month swings in the history of the web server market, as Microsoft gains 4.7 percent share while Apache loses 5.9 percent. The shift is driven by changes at domain registrar Go Daddy, which has just migrated more than 3.5 million hostnames from Linux to Windows. Go Daddy, which had been the world's largest Linux host, is now the world's largest Windows Server 2003 host, as measured by hostnames. The company said it will shift a total of 4.4 million hostnames to Windows Server 2003.

Technology trends among registrars have a large impact on web server market share, as each registrar hosts large numbers of parked domains. Microsoft's last major upward surge in market share in 2001-02 was boosted by migrations at Register.com and VeriSign. Go Daddy is the second huge registrar to shift its sites to Windows Server 2003, following the lead of enom. Among other major registrars, 1&1 Internet, Dotster and Register.com host on Linux, while Network Solutions uses Solaris.

"It was clear from all of the testing we’ve conducted that Microsoft provides an efficient and scalable operating platform, while also providing the performance needed to handle our extraordinary growth," said Warren Adelman, president and COO of Go Daddy.

Michael van Dijken, Microsoft's Marketing Manager for Hosted Solutions, noted that Go Daddy's migration to Windows Server 2003 follows announcements of expanded relationships between Microsoft and several other major hosters, including Web.com (Interland), Verio and Rackforce. "We've seen a significant amount of traction in the past two months," said van Dijken.

Total Sites Across All Domains August 1995 - April 2006

Total Sites Across All Domains, August 1995 - April 2006

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

Top Developers
DeveloperMarch 2006PercentApril 2006PercentChange
Apache5328729868.705058843362.72-5.98
Microsoft1591242720.512034365625.224.71
Sun18815872.4319075032.36-0.07
Zeus5746070.745633810.70-0.04

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