Hosting with Mosso Cloud Hosting

Sat, Apr 26, 2008

Cloud Computing

Photo by Johnnie W@lker

Cloud ComputingThe architecture is a massive network of "cloud servers" interconnected as if in a grid running in parallel.

Media Temple

Media Temple is a very good Web Host. It is just that it didn't work out for me. I was with MediaTemple for quite sometime, even returned back twice, gave up on the last one with their VDS after wasting a whole year's payment (they did gave me good discount though). So, I'm not asking people not to try out Media Temple, it seem to work flawlessly for many people and also disastrously for many other people.

A Dedicated Server

I did moved to a dedicated server with some real good juice -- those 2GB RAM, Pentium 4 thingy server -- but it was too costly, at about $250 /mo, for my site and I could never use all its power. It was from MediumCube and the technical guy whom I'm in contact with was the best, most fanstastic Sys-Admin ever. Its full power remained untapped during normal traffic but during some of the very few Digg Effects that I had, it could not handle the onslaught.

Mosso: the Cloud Hosting (My Current Host)

Scale with Mosso ClusterAfter desparately looking around for an economical yet better solution, Mosso came highly recommended by coupla friend. I went for it and till the time of writing this article, I'm satisfied and happily hosted with Mosso. Yes, it isn't as fast as my earlier Dedicated Server but it is good enough for my site. I particularly like the fact that I'm being part of those early adopters of new Technology, the Cloud Hosting in this case.

Mosso's earlier bad repuation

During the early days of Mosso, I think they had acute problems and I assume that was more from the fact that the technology was new and they were more or less in experimentation mode. So, if you google around, you'll find more bad opinions than good ones about Mosso.

Mosso is good and easy cloud hosting

Now, Mosso have improved a lot and is highly reliable, comes with attractive enough features. So, for the less-needed, not-so-techie who don't want to mess with Amazon AWS, etc, Mosso is perhaps the easiest and affordable solution.

Another notable features is that of their hybrid environment for your hosting needs -- Linux and Windows -- on a single account/site.

So how does it all happen? Right behind our firewalls (which keep your files ultra secure), we've employed quite possibly the most advanced load-balancing technologies ever. Going a step beyond traditional approaches, Mosso actually checks the type of each file, sending files to the native clusters where they will perform the best. So every Windows-based page is served from a cluster built and optimized especially for Windows, and every Linux-based page is served from a cluster built and optimized especially for Linux.

Their control panel is home-grown and might pose some extra time to master for those hard-core cPanel people. Otherwise, everything else is pretty much like your typical hosting environment. You can scale your usage requirements when the demand comes and don't always have to piggy-bg along those extra power ready for the 'just-in-case' moments. Mosso allows you to host unlimited multiple websites and they've their support, billing system to take care of your clients/customers.

But at $100 per month, is it economical?

Mosso's $100 /mo comes with 50GB Storage, 500GB Bandwidth and 3,000,000 request. Well, it looks very good to me except for that 3 million request ceiling. Even an extremely popular site will find it really hard to fill up that 50GB (unless there are lots of video, audio files), 500GB Bandwidth is sufficiently good enough even for most high trafficked site.

That 3 million request is where I really wish Mosso will do a re-thinking. Though Mosso claims that majority of the sites don't really hit this ceiling, I'm sure any well trafficked site can hit that easily. My site hits it roughly mid-way during its monthly cycle. However, I would like to disclose that my site is in operation for quite sometime and I do have lots of files for downloads, media files and of course the traffic. Not to mention the fact that my site is not the best optimized site that can boast of less-optimized HTTP request calls.

On lighter note, it is a different story that Mosso's Account Manager, Roland Barrera (roland (at), phoned me when I signed up with them. Further talks and emails were exchanged between us till I moved altogether to Mosso within a month's time of signing up with them. Everything was fine except for the request ceiling which when I calculated in a week's usage, I realized that my site will hit it pretty soon. Further talk with Rolan turn out to be fruitful, my limits were increased more than thrice at the same old $100 per month price. I'm currently enjoying their 10,000,000 request limit besides the increased bandwidth and storage.

Calculate the Cost to see how much will it cost you beyond Mosso's default $100 per month.

I would not be wrong to say that if you're hosting 10 or 20 odd websites, hosting it on Mosso is indeed economical. It is just $100 per month for all your sites and you can host an unlimited number of sites (Linux or Windows environment). And if you have a high trafficked site that crunch about 3 million request per month, Mosso's $100 is still economical.

Mosso's Cloud Hosting is evolving and improving rapidly.

Media Accelerator

One of the very interesting feature was their recently launched Media Accelerator (MA), some sort of an infrastructure feature that will improve the server response time for static media types. MA checks HTTP request at their load balancers and automatically directs request for static media files to a high performance cluster that's optimized for rapid cached delivery of the files.

The good part is that, this feature do not need intervention from the user end and is taken care of at Mosso's infrastructure. Some of file request they've initially enabled MA are -- JPG, GIF, PNG, MP3, WAV, WMA, and SWF files. Nonetheless, assuming Mosso's MA algorithm looks at file-type under the static category that can be cached, it should also serve the likes of FLV in the same fashion as the other static files. (No confirmation from Mosso yet.)

Though no user intervention is required at our end (not HTML change, etc), it may be noted that the cached media files stays for about 30 minutes before they expire from the cache. Files uploaded via FTP/SFTP are automatically flushed from the cache and the new file displayed immediately. It may also be noted that Cookie information is not stored in the cache nor are files that are protected by "HTTP-Basic" password protection.

If you manually would like to extend the object life in the cache or bypass the cache entirely, you can do so. It may so happen that some of your video, audio or image files don't need to be changed at all for weeks!

Here is a .htaccess fragment that sets expiration for 7 days for various media files. There are 604,800 seconds in a week. The leading A indicates that the Expires header should be set to 604,800 seconds after the time the image was accessed by the client browser. This will cause your images to be stored in the MA cluster for longer thus improving performance.

ExpiresActive on
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A604800
ExpiresByType image/gif A604800
ExpiresByType image/png A604800
ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash A604800
ExpiresByType audio/mpeg A604800

You can bypass the caching mechanism in various ways.

@@ will stop caching at the individual file level

Disable caching for all media files in a particular site without changing any HTML code, through .htaccess.

ExpiresActive on
ExpiresDefault A0

Disable the cache for a particular type of file, through the MIME type defined in .htaccess.

ExpiresActive on
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A0

Disable MA cache for a particular file.

ExpiresActive on
ExpiresDefault A0

Disable MA cache for a file matching a particular pattern.

<Files *.jpg>
ExpiresActive on
ExpiresDefault A0

More Mosso;

* Pricing
* Blog
* Status Blog (subscribe to this if you are hosted with them)


If you've read so far, here are few good things to sign-up with Mosso. Sign-up before May 1, 2008 and you can get a free Navicat License and the promo-code is NAV-Win, NAV-Mac or NAV-Lin.

If you don't care about the Navicat License, you can get a $20 sign-up discount by entering my coupon code: REF-OINAM.

You do get a 30 day money-back if you're not happy with them.