Mobile site builder XTGem has been growing by leaps and bounds. According to CEO Povilas Musteikis, the free service now has nearly a million users. Of course not all are active but about 100,000 of XTGem's user sites generate page views every day. Total page views are running about 300 million per month and traffic is growing by 20% per month.
XTGem is built around an easy to use template driven site generator/editor. It's quite powerful with features like the ability to automatically generate thumbnails of uploaded images with the thumbnail linking to the full image.
All the features of the site creator are fully functional when used in a mobile browser. I believe that feature has helped make XTGem particularly popular in countries with a high percentage of mobile-only users such as Indonesia where it's the 7th ranked website overall according to QuantCast.
Another factor in XTGem's popularity is the degree of freedom it offers. Users aren't limited to just the options available through the site builder. There's a code editor lets you tweak the generated HTML or CSS or paste in your own markup. Povilas believes that XTGem has served as many users' introduction to coding.
You can also monetize your site using AdMob, InMobi, WebMobLink and other ad networks. And if you have your own domain you can point it at your XTGem site for free.
XTGem has a lively (and mobile friendly) support forum at xtgem.c.xtboard.com where users get help from each other and the XTGem staff including Povilas.
This month XTGem is putting the finishing touches on a new version labeled v2. It's been re-designed from the ground up to be more efficient and scalable in order to handle XTGem's explosive growth. It's also said to be 2 to 8 times faster. The site builder (screenshots) has been enhanced as well with new options including a full featured image editor that lets you resize, crop and apply effects to your images. There are also a number of usability enhancements in the builder.
Another thing that is changing with v2 is that there will be premium options. The free version will retain all its current features including unlimited bandwidth and disk space (individual files are limited to 2mb each), the ability to run your own ads and to use your own domain.
The premium new options will be:
Starter: (€ 0.99/month) removes XTGem's own ads from your site and lets you use up to 5 external domains.
Advanced: (€ 1.99/month) allows 10 external domains and adds PHP support!
Expert: (€ 4.99/month) increases the file size limit to 5MB and allows unlimited domains.
The PHP support is obviously the big deal here. There are very few, if any web hosts, that offer the popular server side scripting language with no forced ads and the stability and reliability of XTGem so inexpensively. Initially PHP support will not include a database and outgoing connections will be blocked. Povilas hopes to remove the connection restriction and provide support for MySQL and other databases once the new version is fully tested and tweaked.
v2 also introduces the XTGem Market which offers free and premium Widgets that publishers can use to add rich content to their sites. Free widgets currently include weather, quote of the day, site search and a hit counter. The Market will be open to third party developers who will be able to publish free and paid widgets to the XTGem user base
An invite only Beta of v2 is online now at yn.lt. If you'd like to try it I've been given an invitation code to share with WapReview readers. To join the Beta go to yn.lt and enter "wapreview.com" in the invitation code field or go to yn.lt/user/register?invitation=wapreview.com.
If you do try the XTGem v2 Beta please leave a comment letting us know what you think.
XTGem is looking for volunteers to help with translating the site into other languages. They are interested in any and all languages and promise "something extra on XtGem" for those who help. Visit xtgem.xtredo.com to get started.