In previous blog posts (here and here) I’ve tried to explain why CDN hasn’t become a product for the masses, because it’s a technology most service providers are just not that familiar with.
Web performance is one of the top considerations when buying hosting from a service provider – but without a solid understanding of how to deliver that performance with CDN (a Content Delivery Network), and then sell the benefits to customers, service providers have struggled to find a way to put CDN to good use.
At the beginning of 2016 we launched a new module for the OnApp cloud platform that solved all these problems at a stroke: OnApp Accelerator. The Accelerator is a hands-free, one-click “instant CDN” solution for OnApp clouds. It made implementation of a CDN super-easy, by clicking a button – while behind the scenes Accelerator automatically optimizes and publishes static content to a CDN. No need to manage the CDN itself, or even understand how it works – we take care of that for you.
In production OnApp Accelerator has been proven to reduce system load, make hosts more scalable and dramatically improve web performance. Accelerator is capable of decreasing file size close to 60%, reducing load time by more than 50%, and delivering 75% fewer file requests to the origin server.
That was for OnApp clouds. But what about everybody else?
Accelerating shared hosting
Our vision is to make CDN a fundamental part of web, not an afterthought. Since we launched Accelerator, we’ve been humbled by the positive reaction from the market, and the number of service providers who wished it was capable of working its magic on other types of hosting infrastructure, not just OnApp.
The question we got the most was, “can we run this on a shared hosting server?”
While many service providers are now focused on cloud solutions, most of them still own a sizable legacy shared hosting business. Shared hosting is still very significant ‘bread and butter’ business, and protecting that legacy business is crucial to achieving revenue growth, with the help of other high growth businesses like cloud.
Making Accelerator available for other platforms has always been an option – and with this demand from the industry, enabling Accelerator for shared hosting servers seems like a very logical next step.
With Accelerator’s “instant CDN” capability, service providers can differentiate their shared hosting businesses to reduce churn, while at the same time increasing the attractiveness of their shared hosting offering by giving customers a feature they all need, will benefit from and won’t even have to think about.
Different deployment models
After talking with a cross-section of customers, from small hosts to ‘megahosts’, it was clear that it would be hard to offer a one-size-fits-all plan.
Accelerator monthly pricing for OnApp customers is $10/virtual server/month. That is inclusive of 2TB monthly traffic, accelerated through 20 high quality, SSD-based global PoPs.
For smaller hosters, it’s a no-brainer: it’s a cost-effective way to kickstart a differentiated, performance-centric web hosting solution that can be enabled with a single click – while OnApp takes care of managing and operating the high performance, scalable and cost efficient CDN that makes it work.
However, for the world’s large ‘megahosts’, this model becomes problematic owing to the sheer volume of servers they manage. So, we’re going to introduce additional deployment models to fit different company sizes and aspirations:
|PAYG||$10/VM/mo, 2TB traffic,
20 PoPs globally
|Hassle-free: just sell,
no technical knowledge required.
|Site license||Flat pricing on the number of virtual servers (or servers) being accelerated – using your own datacenter locations for PoPs.||No traffic included by default, but we’re happy to customize a traffic plan for you if you wish.|
How do we see Accelerator being used?
These flexible deployment models allows hosters to decide their web acceleration strategy – either to accelerate web performance with their own PoPs, or using our curated selection of PoPs.
In a shared hosting market where every cent counts, and every iota of differentiation makes a difference to the bottom line, some hosts are already intending to accelerate web content free of charge for their customers – as a kind of bragging right. Cost is obviously a consideration, but even accelerating performance across the US and EU (not globally) delivers a significant improvement to web loading speeds, compared to a non-accelerated website. For end customers in those markets, it’s a benefit they find hard to abandon.
For hosts that want to build a premium solution on top of Accelerator – i.e. launching premium web hosting packages that include acceleration by default – it makes sense to choose the best-performing PoPs – from either your own infrastructure, or our CDN Federation – as long as cost is within budget.
And for all hosts, offloading content delivery from the origin to the CDN (either your PoPs, or ours) helps increase customer density per server – another way to improve the bottom line.
What’s coming next for Accelerator?
Like all OnApp features, Accelerator is being constantly developed and improved. Some of the most commonly-requested features we’re working now include:
- SSL support
- WAF (Web Application Firewall)
- Ability to blacklist sites
SSL is due for release in OnApp v5.3, coming very soon now, while WAF is scheduled for Q1 2017.
We are truly excited to be making this happen for service providers, so everyone has a super-easy way to enable web performance for every single website. We believe speed is a right, not a privilege. And Accelerator is making this a reality.