Luna, the next generation hosting platform, is here! Luna is now open for early testing. Open a ticket in the control panel for early access!

Luna incorporates multi-tenancy and virtualization enhancements introduced with Sol, and introduces further refinement in the HTTP stack. Initial page response times (time-to-first-byte/”TTFB”) have improved nearly 5x and page loads 1.4x over Sol, its predecessor. What’s more interesting in these figures is that Luna shares the same hardware as Sol. That means it’s influenced by I/O noise to the same extent as Sol, but still yields these improvements.

A number of changes occurred under the hood to achieve this. Many of which would not be possible if not for a confluence of innovation over the last year. A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this platform.


Rebased off RHEL 7.2
Redhat Enterprise Linux 7.2 was released at the end of the year, and all software is built with at least RHEL 7.2 in mind, including TCP optimizations used to reduce TTFB. Likewise, any packages pulled off npm or rubyforge will compile without incident.

Event MPM
In an ongoing struggle to reduce TTFB, Apache has switched to a threaded model to handle incoming requests. Worker MPM adapts to demand better by keeping those lingering TCP sockets on a separate thread and, allegedly, will keep a consistent response time irrespective of load.

HTTP2 Support
Yep, it’s here! You’ll need an IP address + SSL certificate to utilize. Once those two prerequisites are satisfied, it’s automatic if the browser supports it. HTTP2 provides a tremendous boost over traditional SSL (10-80% depending upon content). Akami has more nitty gritty details if you are interested.

Depending upon benchmark, it’s 50%-290% faster over PHP 5.6. Regardless of which benchmark you follow, it’s a marked improvement.

aufs is out for filesystem layering, OverlayFS in. OverlayFS provides the same composition behavior, but around 5-40% faster over aufs with less CPU usage that can be utilized elsewhere.

Let’s Encrypt support
This will be implemented in February, there’s a PHP-based ACME client to make this a reality.
UPDATE February 1: Let’s Encrypt launched on Luna!

Phusion Passenger 5 introduced a caching layer called Turbocache – imagine sticking Varnish in front of your Ruby/Node/Python requests. Some configuration is necessary. Oh and our platform-specific changes in Passenger are public now, enjoy! It adds cgroup and jailing support.

sudo expansion
Account owners may now cp and chown as root with restrictions!

Multi-tenant Node
Complementing support for multi-tenant Ruby and Python, nvm has been included to allow you to use whatever Node interpreter you’d like!

Multi-host Benchmark

And for kicks, we compared Luna against Sol, GoDaddy, Dreamhost, and A Small Orange, because a healthy competition always drives innovation. Here are our results:

WordPress Load Time + TTFB Comparison
WordPress Load Time + TTFB Comparison

Luna not only blitzed through Sol, but its competitors. Hats off to GoDaddy’s SSD-based hosting, which held its own. Luna still edged out that platform by 3%, whereas subsequent viewings were 12% faster – and at half the cost on a month-to-month plan. All tests were conducted through from Dulles, VA using Internet Explorer 11. Each test was run 9 times and the mean used in calculating the statistic. A repeat request leverages keepalives by reusing open connections to send a request thereby eliminating some overhead. A repeat request accurately describes the time to download other assets like images, JavaScript, and CSS files.

Host Request (ms) Request Repeat (ms) TTFB (ms) TTFB Repeat (ms)
GoDaddy 993 279 168 123
A Small Orange 1264 577 392 391
Dreamhost* 2453 1152 849 455
Sol 1352 505 391 295
Luna 962 246 80 79
* Dreamhost benchmark ran twice because of extreme results
Luna Launched, Open Beta
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