WebCentral is offering a new value-add to its hosting services to make its Australian customer sites more accessible to international surfers.
Tagged "HttpAfterBurner.com", it is essentially a caching service which submits locally hosted URLs to servers in Asia and America. WebCentral CEO Lloyd Ernst believes locally hosted Web sites suffer from slow data feeds to the US and has taken in customer concern that overseas users are clicking off these sites when they take too long to load.
"It came about from dealing with our customers," he said. "People from software distribution and tourism companies, for example, can't have slow files downloading from overseas."
The service was developed internally at WebCentral, based largely on the staff's caching experience from when the company was an ISP. While the remote servers are managed by WebCentral staff, Ernst said they are not necessarily hosted in WebCentral's own data centres. "We see ourselves as providing value-added services from within data centres," he said.
Ernst said the only other alternative to speed up overseas traffic is to physically maintain replicate Web sites from servers in international locations. He believes the HttpAfterBurner.com solution is more cost-effective, even for small-to-medium enterprises.
"This is not just pitched at the MSNs of this world - there are SMEs out there with a lot of potential customers overseas," he said.
The service is charged on a per-user, per-month basis, rather than volume. The only restriction is that individual files cannot exceed 20 megabytes in size. There are three separate levels of pricing, ranging from $25 per month for low traffic sites to $150 per month for sites with less than 100,000 visitors per month. Companies with higher volumes can be accommodated on request.