Media Temple Crushes Shared Hosting

Media Temple launched a major new hosting service this morning called Grid Server. It matches low end shared hosting services in pricing ($20/month) but promises to grow along with the site, manage huge short term traffic spikes without a disruption in service or performance and avoid the “bad neighbor” problem common with shared hosting services. The basic $20 package includes 100 GB of storage, 1 TB of bandwidth and up to 100 individual sites.

I spoke to the Grid Server team yesterday. The podcast of the conversation is up at TalkCrunch.

Media Temple’s Grid-Server is a completely new hosting platform that replaces yesterday’s obsolete shared server technology. We’ve eliminated roadblocks and single points of failure by using hundreds of servers working in tandem for your site, applications, and email. The Grid’s on-demand scalability means you’ll always be ready for intense bursts of traffic; and the growing audience resulting from your online success. All of this power, controlled through our brand new AccountCenter, is available today for a price point unmatched by any competing service.

Customer sites are not hosted on a single (dedicated, shared or virtual) machine. Instead, they are managed by hundreds of clustered servers, and Media Temple monitors the health of the entire grid as well as individual sites. If a site spikes in traffic, performance is unaffected and the site owner will simple be charged for overage on bandwidth and CPU usage. If the grid begins to get stressed, Media Temple simply adds more machines.

Overage pricing hasn’t been put up on the site at the time of writing this post (and it’s important of course), although the company says that the basic package specs compare very favorably with low end dedicated server hosting at $200/month.

They’ve also added a number of other features to make hosting setup and maintenance as easy as possible for the novice, including one-click setup of WordPress, Drupal, Gallery, ZenCart and other applications.

Mosso (part of Rackspace) is an existing competing service that is comparable to much of what Media Temple is doing with Grid Server; however, Mosso starts at 5x the price, $100/month. The basic Mosso package offers slightly less storage and twice the bandwidth offered by Grid Server.

Grid Server can also be compared to Amazon’s new EC2 utility computing service, which we discussed in the podcast. The Media Temple team was quick to point out that EC2 isn’t really designed to deal with permanent virtual server configurations, and lacks customer service and the auto burst capabilities of Grid Server.

As a disclosure, we use Media Temple for some of our hosting (we have a couple of dedicated servers with them). Frankly Grid Server may be a better choice for us. We have a ton of excess capacity to handle traffic spikes, which we pay for whether or not we use.