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RapidSite: Web hosting service for entry-level to high-end environments

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Mar 1, 1998


RapidSite is not a Web server per se; rather, it is a virtual hosting service that runs on a personalized version of Apache. Because it is an extremely popular alternative to purchasing a dedicated Web server, RapidSite is commonly included in Web server listings for comparison purposes. In fact, RapidSite is the fifth most popular server according to the latest Netcraft Survey. It is also the the largest virtual Web site hosting system in the world with more than 45,000 domain names hosted on nearly 40,000 distinct IP addresses. When deciding which Web server best meets your needs, RapidSite is an option that you'll want to give careful consideration to as well.

RapidSite offers a full range of Web hosting plans designed to accommodate every situation from personal home pages to the most demanding of enterprise environments. The least expensive plan, the RapidSite Personal Plan, is targeted to individual users and small businesses with low volume accounts and a need for Web sites with standard HTML pages only. The next two steps up are the Professional Plan for low traffic businesses and the Corporate Plan for medium traffic corporate sites and entry-level commerce sites. The fourth level, the Commercial Plan, targets high traffic sites and mid-range commerce sites. The Enterprise Plan is RapidSite's fifth tier service and is designed for high traffic corporate sites as well as high-end commerce sites. The final RapidSite offering is the High Volume Plan, a plan for extremely high traffic sites and designed to be a cost-effective alternative to purchasing a dedicated Web server. RapidSite is not a Web server per se; rather, it is a virtual hosting service that runs on a personalized version of Apache. Because it is an extremely popular alternative to purchasing a dedicated Web server, RapidSite is commonly included in Web server listings for comparison purposes.

All six of the plans include domain name registration, detailed Web statistics, one or more POP3 mail accounts, e-mail autoresponders and forwarding options, and unlimited FTP uploading capabilities. From the Professional Plan and up RapidSite customers have access to a TrueSpeech server and can add anonymous FTP, Volcano Chat, and Excite search engine capabilities to their Web sites. Customers in the Corporate Plan and up have access to an SSL server, an electronic shopping cart (Mercantec Softcart), database requirements, and a RealAudio/Video server as well as support for CyberCash and Microsoft FrontPage extensions.

The most attractive reason for choosing RapidSite has to be its network infrastructure -- why spend the time and effort creating your own infrastructure for hosting a Web site when you can have the experts do it for you? RapidSite servers are connected to the Internet via multiple fiber optic T3 lines to three redundant and diverse Internet backbones (UUnet, MCI, and Sprint), which means that you'll never again have to worry about performance or reliability issues when you sign up with RapidSite. The RapidSite server environment consists of dozens of multi-processor Silicon Graphics Origin systems running under the SGI IRIX variant of Unix and using a customized version of the Apache Web Server. All of this results in RapidSite's ability to serve more than 20,000,000 hits each day.

RapidSite is an alternative that should definitely be evaluated when setting up a Web site. When you take into account the time required to set up a site (and its underlying infrastructure) as well as the cost of the server hardware and software, technical support, and connection to the Internet, serving your own Web site isn't always the best solution. And while in the long run it might be cheaper to host your own Web site, this isn't always the case either. This is especially true if your company lacks a server guru who can administer the server -- if this is the case, you might save yourself a massive migraine by choosing an alternative like RapidSite. While RapidSite may not always result in the best fit for every situation, it is an option that you should give consideration to when setting up a Web site as an alternative to the many Web servers currently available.

Pros: 7 A wide range of plans to meet entry-level, mid-range, and high-end needs, 7 Excellent performance and rock-solid reliability, 7 Save time and money by 'outsourcing' the hosting of your Web site, 7 Advanced features like SSL security, Excite search engine capabilities, and RealAudio/Video support available

Cons: 7 Not always the most cost-effective solution -- especially for many enterprise-level environments, 7 The operation of your site isn't in your own hands (which definitely isn't always a bad thing)

New: 7 Mercantec's SoftCart v3.0 is now available to Corporate Plan and higher accounts; 7 Plan Comparison

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Version Reviewed: N/A
Date of Review: 3/1/98
Reviewed by: Forrest Stroud