One of the largest players in web hosting is taking to the cloud. Domain registrar Go Daddy today is officially launching its 4th Generation Web hosting (4GH), which uses a cloud environment to offer improved performance to its shared hosting customers. That's a huge potential audience, as Go Daddy has 9.4 million customers and manages more than 49 million domain names.
The new accounts offer dynamic scaling and load balancing to handle traffic spikes, a long-running problem on shared servers, where a wave of social media traffic can knock a server offline - affecting all the customers hosted on the server, not just the site experiencing heavy traffic.
Cloud Benefits, Flat Monthly Rates
Go Daddy is pricing its offering to be attractive to its huge existing base of shared hosting customers. Unlike most cloud computing plans, which bill based on resource usage, Go Daddy is offering 4GH on flat monthly rate similar to its shared accounts. The entry level account is $4.99 a month, while the "unlimited" plan promises endless web sites, disk space, data transfer and databases for just $14.99 a month.
"4GH was created to help our customers succeed," said Go Daddy CEO and Founder Bob Parsons. "For example, a customer would be mentioned on Oprah or CNN and suddenly their web server had more traffic than it was designed to handle. We'd quickly move them to a dedicated server to protect them, along with our other shared hosting customers. It was like an epiphany - we needed a new platform that could react immediately. You could say, with 4GH our customers who suddenly find themselves in the limelight won't miss their '15 minutes of fame.'"
An example: AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com, which has attracted several waves of mainstream media attention, including profiles on NBC's Today Show and ABC's Good Morning America. "Every time our site gets mentioned in the media, we notice a huge surge in Web traffic," said Mike Bender, co-creator of the site. "Go Daddy's 4GH ensures our site will be fast and stable, no matter what. It's critical to our success and we depend on it every day."
Go Daddy previously offered unlimited accounts on its shared hosting servers. In the shared hosting model, several hundred customer sites are housed on the same server. When one site on the server gets Slashdotted and begins using more resources, the server bogs down and the operation of one customer site begins degrading the performance of other customer sites – which isn’t allowed under most terms of service. This usually results in an offer to switch to a dedicated server that comes with a higher monthly fee.
Will these accounts now seamlessly scale, without being capped or turned off? That's how Go Daddy is positioning the service on its web site:
In a comparison to competing services, Go Daddy addresses these questions directly:
Q: When faced with large increases in traffic, will my site continue to load quickly at no additional cost?
A: YES, capacity automatically scales at NO additional cost.
Q: Do I pay more if I use more bandwidth?
A: No, we won't punish you for your success.