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3 cents for 1,000 hits

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As web-based, on-demand computing continues to grow in popularity, there will be plenty of twisting and turning as companies feel the market out.

Pricing, of course, is at the top of the service provider's minds — and we're bound to see a fair share of alternative cost models.

Take for instance Mosso, a startup backed by hosting provider Rackspace. Today, Mosso is changing to a pricing structure based heavily on site hits, rather than CPU cycles and storage consumption as you'll see with services like Amazon's EC2 and S3 or Sun Microsystems' rental programs.

Mosso's angle is that it monitors the site's resources and will scale hardware as needed automatically. If a website is being pounded, Mosso will adjust to accommodate the traffic. This is accomplished by selling space with standard pre-configured stacks of software like Apache, MySQL and PHP. Mosso also takes care of patching and updates of all the components. The downside is that Mosso doesn't allow customers root level access to their servers.

For $100 a month, a customer is allotted:

  • 50GB SAN storage
  • 500GB bandwidth
  • Three million requests

If a site goes over their limit, additional charges are:

  • $0.50/GB of storage
  • $0.25/GB of bandwidth
  • $0.03/1,000 requests

It's a scheme that's fairly unique in web application hosting, and not without its downsides.

On the plus side, a large business hosting with Mosso won't get their website cut off during a traffic spike. There could be a massive hosting bill in that company's future, but many would prefer to pay a premium rather than face downtime.

By contrast, pricing based largely on hit metrics may not be advantageous for a low-bandwidth site. A WordPress blog can potentially receive several times more hits than a graphic-intensive site and not eat up the same resources. Mosso also doesn't currently have a way to limit the amount of resources that will be automatically allocated to the site.

Current customers are being allowed to keep their 80GB storage and 2,000GB bandwidth resources, but will now be restricted to the three million request cutoff before additional charges after April 1.

Mosso supports Windows and Linux, PHP, .Net, MySQL, SQL Server, Python and Ruby on Rails. Support for Java is coming soon, the company said. ®

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