Updated back-end will help 'viral' developers manage traffic surges, claims VPS provider

Cloud hosting company Linode rolls out upgrade

Linode has announced an upgrade to their cloud-based load balancing service Node Balancer aimed making configuration and operation for websites that handle sensitive data easier.

The Linux-based VPS service made the announcement soon after Amazon rolled out its new GPU-backed instances that already have some big names like Agawi and Autodesk on board.

While all eyes might be on the the new hardware from the gargantuan cloud company, Linode has gone with a subtler change that lets its NodeBalancer service – which previously worked only with http – handle SSL as well.

“On November 7th, Linode NodeBalancer with enhanced SSL upgrades will be released to the public which will now allow you to automatically terminate and switch secure socket layer (SSL) connections, allowing users to manage incoming traffic much better,” said Linode spokesperson William McCormick.

“So basically if your game goes viral, it allows you to manage high loads of traffic in a short period of time, without the game going down or crashing.”

The changes are particularly pertinent to those who use a secure socket layer (SSL), as the new NodeBalancer can automatically terminate and switch between connections.

“With NodeBalancer SSL, users can efficiently distribute workloads that require the transmission of sensitive data—such as credit card and banking information—so when traffic spikes they take full advantage of online sales opportunities,” said Linode founder and CEO Christopher Aker

Considering the rising number of attacks against game developers this could be an important feature for attracting more from the industry to Linode’s virtual servers, especially given the low price point.

At the moment, Linode is best known for hosting sites like The Onion and Creative Commons, but McCormick claims that thousands of games and games-related sites use Linode servers.

Part of this might be the fact Linode offers a pre-built Minecraft server, but the big pull for most fans of the service is speed. Offering 8 cores as part of the standard architecture, the company’s instances are some of the fastest around. In one round of A/B testing, Linode proved to be at least eighteen times faster than Amazon’s EC2 servers.

It isn’t easy to find game developers giving advice on VPS providers, but one half of Purple Pwny studios took to the forums at gamedev.net to suggest other indies use Linode for their web hosting.

“Linode is the best host I’ve ever used, VPS or otherwise, hands down,” said the developer, who goes by the handle ‘Nox’.

“Their customer service is top-notch and fast. I’m currently running a Node.js websocket server, an RTMP server, and NGINX, across multiple nodes, and have never had any issues with resource contention. Their service is very straightforward and self-directed…you’re simply given a shell with 1-click access to a variety of Linux distributions. You can do basically whatever you please, as long as its legal.”

While Amazon’s EC2 servers are wildly popular, there are several other solutions for developers who want to go with a VPS. Dreamhost, Softlayer, and LiquidWeb are all good options, and there are several others with a solid reputation.

Those who are currently looking for a VPS or considering a change can find a lot of good information on Pixel Prospector’s guide to choosing a web host.

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