RSS Focus Shifts to Bandwidth Management

RSS is generating a growing volume of packets and debate, as bloggers, publishers and software authors seek ways to refine how web servers and newsreaders exchange syndication data.

The recent discussions were prompted by a report from Microsoft blogging evangelist Robert Scoble that Microsoft had altered its RSS feeds to reduce server load. While Scoble overstated the issues at Microsoft, the resulting chatter among blogging technologists surfaced numerous strategies to impose discipline on feed-hungry RSS clients.

Last month Scoble wrote that RSS feeds from Microsoft's corporate blogs were growing unwieldy. "Bandwidth usage was growing faster than MSDN's ability to pay for, or keep up with, the bandwidth," he wrote. "Terabytes of bandwidth were being used up by RSS."

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Outages Persist for PSIGate Payment Gateway

It hasn't been a good uptime week for payment gateways. While Paypal struggles with internal technical issues, Canadian payment processing service PSIGate is experiencing extended outages for the second time in less than a week. The downtime at Paypal and PSIGate is the latest in a series of recent outages for services that allow web merchants to accept credit cards, following outages at Worldpay and

PSIGate site performance

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Paypal Site Performance Improves

The Paypal web site is showing improved performance today after several days of outages and service problems. While the Paypal site is now available, some delays in other services persist.

Paypal site performance"A few residual issues are still impacting some users," parent company eBay said in a system notice. "PayPal system-generated emails, such as payment notification emails, password recovery emails, and confirmation emails, may be delayed. We are working to resolve these issues as soon as possible."

Paypal began experiencing performance problems Friday after a redesign and code revision destabilized its site performance. Company press reps have said that while eBay's infrastructure allows site changes to be rolled back, Paypal's does not. Paypal is powered by an Apache web server on Linux, while eBay runs on Windows Server 2003.

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Redesign Cripples Paypal Service

Problems implementing a site redesign temporarily crippled some operations of Paypal the popular payment processing service. The performance problems, which began after a site update Thursday night, escalated Monday as the Paypal web site became unreachable. The site returned to service early today, but was experiencing intermittent outages again by midday. Site PerformanceThe problems limited Paypal's ability to process payments for its parent company, the auction site eBay, as well as thousands of web sites that use Paypal to process online payments. The incident is the latest in a series of outages this month for services that allow web merchants to accept credit cards, several of which have been knocked offline by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Paypal's issues appear to be internal, and have had significant impact. "A technical problem with the PayPal platform has caused intermittent errors and availability for members attempting to use the PayPal site since Friday 10/8," eBay said in a notice to members. "Activities such as paying for ended eBay listings, using the Immediate Payment feature, using PayPal shipping functionality, and accessing account information have been intermittently available. Offline use of PayPal debit cards has also been impacted intermittently, and some members have been unable to use them."

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Worldpay Disrupted by DDoS Attacks

Online payment processors continue to come under attack, with the Bank of Scotland's Worldpay service becoming the latest provider to have its operations disrupted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Worldpay says it has been "adversely affected" by a DDoS that commenced over the weekend, with the service showing some signs of improved performance Tuesday. A dynamically updating performance chart for Worldpay is available here.

Worldpay web site performance

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Most Reliable Hosting Providers during September

Ranking by Failed Requests and Connection time,
September 1st - 30th 2004

Hoster Performance September 04

During September all of the sites monitored experienced some failed requests, with Energis, New York Internet, Express Technologies and INetU the most reliable sites during the period.
Outages caused by hurricanes and floods were absent from the list, however Alabanza experienced a major outage due to an underground fire near its datacenter.

The dominant operating system was Windows, with six of the top most reliable sites running on a Microsoft operating system, evenly split between Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000.

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