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10 Hosting Trends for 2020: Latest Predictions & What Lies Beyond

Category: B2B News

In all step-by-step guides on how to build a website, finding a web hosting provider is almost always at the top. With many individuals and organizations wanting to establish their online presence, several web hosting trends provide the solutions website owners need.

To keep up with the changing demands of the industry, web hosting providers are on a frantic race to offer a number of out-of-the-box user experiences. The key players in the web hosting market focus on product innovation, leading other market players to follow suit.

Henceforth in this article, we take a deeper look into the current hosting industry trends and see how it’s affecting the entire Internet landscape.

hosting trends main web feature image

 

There is a lot to consider to become a reputable and reliable web hosting company. Security is just one among many, what with 30,000 websites being hacked each day. Being able to offer website owners a 99.9% uptime is great and all, but it’s no longer enough if you want to stay in the game, especially with the big and leading players who are always several steps ahead of everyone else.

Meanwhile, the escalating e-commerce trade is one of the main factors driving the growth of web hosting industry. The e-commerce market frequently requires smooth website operations, maintenance, and data security, and these are some aspects where web hosting providers focus their product developments.

How many people are using the Internet?

2010

2013

2015

2017

2019

Source: Hosting Tribunal (2019)

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The growth of web hosting industry is not without disruptions, however. These days, the biggest threat faced by web hosting providers is the changing user attitudes toward hosting. In the last decade, the search term “web hosting” dropped by 60%, according to Google Trends. Aside from that, the gap between DIY and professional website creation continues to widen as many small business owners look for ways to start a website without a huge degree of technical knowledge.

That being said, let’s take a look at the latest web hosting trends and see how the industry is facing the challenges threatening its position in the market.

1. Green web hosting

If you’re not yet aware of how bad the hosting industry impacts the environment, it’s time to find out. For comparison, the Internet’s annual CO2 output is equal to 31 million cars driving around the world all at once. How did this happen? Well, think of the physical location where all your website data get stored. These are called data centers, and there’s definitely a lot going on at these places.

Apart from the web developers managing all the servers, all the hardware get their fair share of work too, if not actually more. Much like the daily gadgets we use, like our phones, tablets, and laptops, they tend to get hot when used for a long time. Thus, the hardware in data centers need to be stored in a cool and controlled environment. This, however, requires an incredibly energy-intensive maintenance and results to a significant amount of CO2 output.

Fortunately, web hosting companies are now investing in carbon offsetting schemes. In green web hosting, web hosts actively participate in eco-friendly initiatives to reduce negative impacts on the environment. They do this by gaining renewable energy certificates (REC) or carbon offset certificates (VER).

RECs certify that a hosting company helped in generating renewable energy. Companies who specialize in creating renewable energy generate these RECs and sell them to a hosting company. The money from this purchase then finances the operational costs for green energy initiatives. VERs, however, certify that a hosting company helped in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that the certificate states.

Green web hosting trends highlights

  • Web hosting companies are addressing environmental issues by investing in green energy initiatives.
  • Renewable energy certificates (REC) recognize that a web hosting company invested in generation of renewable energy.
  • Carbon offset certificates (VER) give accreditation to a web hosting company that practiced reducing greenhouse gas output.

2. Cloud hosting

The cloud is a concept utilized in many areas of technology, and it now enters the arena of web hosting. The cloud has no physical equivalent, and it doesn’t have a physical server. Instead, it stores data across multiple computers. Then it provides access via network connection like the Internet. Much like a physical computer, it has endless processing power and storage space.

Cloud hosting is a game-changer for many. Unlike the typical server configurations, cloud hosting is more affordable as it eliminates the constraints of physical servers. Much like the best cloud management software solutions, cloud hosting provides a more efficient platform for your data. In cloud hosting, your site’s resources can be pulled from multiple different virtual servers. It provides a hosting solution that is both scalable and reliable.

In the field of web hosting, cloud hosting trends served as a huge milestone. It is the latest form of hosting that allows a website to rely on a cluster of servers that work together. Cloud-based servers provide virtual resources that are available 24/7. It works on a pay-as-you-use mode, wherein website owners will only be paying for the space that they need.

Source: Compass.ie

Cloud hosting trends highlights

  • In 2019, the public cloud service market is about to reach $206.2 billion worldwide. (Forbes)
  • Right Scale’s annual State of the Cloud Report for 2019 reports that about 91% of businesses use public cloud. Meanwhile, 72% use a private one. (Flexera)
  • In 2021, cloud data centers are expected to process 94% of workloads.

3. Pricing competition

As the demand for web hosting spikes, the price wars follow suit and continues to heat up. The web host industry is getting extremely competitive day by day. Thus, apart from unique tools and features, web hosting companies often compete with their prices on the line. To attract new customers, they start to offer tempting and fairly discounted buy-in deals.

The costs in building a site vary greatly depending on the complexity or simplicity of your needs. The price of a website boils down to several items: web hosting, domain, content creation, graphic design, web development, and marketing among others.

In web hosting, there are different price schemes offering different features and options. Shared web hosting usually offers the cheapest prices. Nonetheless, finding the right features, the best hosting services software, and the right price for a website can provide a smooth platform for businesses on the web.

Shared web hosting services usually come cheap, and they provide excellent server performance and features. However, there is always a reason for cheap prices, so website owners will have to be wary and check if the web host provider can cover all the demands of the website they need. For a shared web host, it costs around $3 to $10 per month.

Here are a few examples of hosting services software:

  1. InMotion Hosting: InMotion Hosting provides web hosting services to business organizations. They guarantee a fast web hosting for their VPS and business class hosting customers.
  2. Hostinger: Hostinger offers fast, stable, and streamlined web hosting services. The software focuses on shared hosting and scalable virtual private servers.
  3. Hostwinds: Hostwinds is a customer-centered hosting company. They offer shared, reseller, Linux VPS, and dedicated hosting.
  4. Host Sailor: Host Sailor is a hosting solutions and services provider offering top-grade web hosting solutions. They are deemed as one of the best providers of VPS hosting services.
  5. Limitless Hosting: Limitless Hosting provides web hosting, cloud servers, and game servers to their customers. They boast of affordable prices but an excellent quality of services.

Size of the cloud computing and hosting market

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Source: Hosting Tribunal (2019)

Designed by

Pricing competition trends highlights

  • Web hosting services compete with each other with their prices on the line.
  • The price of creating a website depends on web hosting, domain, content creation, graphic design, and more.
  • Shared web hosting is usually the cheapest type of web hosting.

4. HTTPS as the norm

Last July 2018, Google Chrome started to mark non-HTTPS websites as “not secure.” To encourage sites to shift into HTTPS, Google Chrome even promised a fair rankings boost. This made offering free HTTPS the norm in the web hosting arena. Not shifting to HTTPS can greatly affect site rankings, and that can be costly for businesses on the web.

There are many benefits to using HTTPS. It helps a website rank higher on search engines, it builds customer trust, and more importantly, it protects sensitive data. Switching to HTTPS is crucial for a website’s security. This ensures that all information gathered on a website are secured and impossible to steal by most Internet thieves. Thus, search engines and site visitors tend to stay away from websites that don’t have HTTPS in them.

For web hosting providers, offering customers HTTPS is not just something that’s nice to have but also a must-have these days. Not doing so can make you lag in the race, especially now that there are many web hosting companies offering free HTTPS.

HTTPS as the norm trends highlights

  • It is now the norm for web hosts to offer free HTTPS.
  • As of May 2018, about 84.2% of pages loaded in Chrome, on all platforms, are over HTTPS. (Google Transparency Report)
  • About 90.2% of the browsing time on Chrome is spent on HTTPS pages. (Google Transparency Report)

5. Fewer data centers

Data centers, often hidden in sight, are the backbone of the Internet. However, a study by Gartner reports that worldwide spending on data centers will see a decline of 2.8 percent in the year 2019. This is the largest spending decline that data centers will experience, according to the Gartner research.

Nowadays, fewer organizations are building their own data centers. There are many factors contributing to this decline. One such factor is the split between enterprises investing in computers and servers, and the service providers choosing to go into the enterprise or the consumer space.

The cloud is also eliminating some of the data center roles. It is one of the driving factors behind the declining number of data centers. With the number of enterprises having the cloud on their side, they don’t require infrastructures setting up data centers. This also affects the number of people needed to manage servers, storage, and networks.

Source: ITX Design

Decreasing number of data centers trends highlights

  • Data centers are facing the worst spending decline this year.
  • In 2016, the number of data centers worldwide peaked at 8.55 million. (CBTNuggets)
  • By 2021, the number of data centers are expected to drop to 7.2 million. (CBTNuggets)

6. Security protocols

With the 1.9 billion records of personal data that was compromised between January 2017 and March 2018, web hosting providers are now putting more emphasis on security protocols. Several instances of data violations and cybersecurity meltdowns in the past years are forcing hosting providers to enforce more tightened security.

Thus, offering user privacy protection is now more crucial than ever among web hosting providers. A powerful web hosting solution must be able to provide the extra tools to protect the personal information of customers. Hosting security protocols, such as compliance checks for CMS vulnerabilities, the standard SSL certification, and encrypted data storage, are now more pervasive.

Domain privacy is also one of the best features a web host an offer. It is an add-on service offered by many web hosting providers. When a customer registers a domain name, their personal details are in WHOIS, a publicly available database. Domain privacy protection ensures that all the personal data of customers are protected and hidden from the rest of the world.

Top TLDs distribution by number of registered domains

In percentage

.com

.tk

.net

.de

.uk

Source: Host Sorter (2019)

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Domain privacy and security protocols trends highlights

  • In the coming years, there will be more focus on the protection of user privacy.
  • About 6.8% of the top 100,000 sites still support SSL 2.0 and SSL 3.0. (WatchGuard)
  • According to SSL Labs, 32.6% of sites have inadequate security. (SSLLabs)

7. Offering additional services

In all kinds of businesses, being able to offer unique and additional services can give you an edge over your competitors. The same goes for the web hosting industry. These days, more and more hosting providers are developing and investing in new tools and features that they can offer to their customers.

In today’s highly technological age, customer expectations when it comes to web hosting are also increasing day by day. Web hosting is no longer as simple as running a server and storing files. The basic services like web design, HTTPS, SSL, and taking advantage of e-mail marketing solutions may already seem a lot, but they’re no longer enough.

Web hosting providers are addressing the increasing demands of their customers by providing several value-added services. For instance, there are now many website owners needing online marketing platforms who face several unique challenges in e-commerce. Thus, e-commerce support comes in handy and can bring more customers for web hosting providers.

Another additional service that hosting providers offer is online training. This service helps the customer throughout each stage of executing their ideas for their website. Other services include marketing and SEO.

Offering additional services trends highlights

  • By providing additional services, web hosting providers not only help their customers but also give themselves a unique selling point.
  • Survival in the modern web host market depends on the ability of host providers to offer unique and additional services.

8. Managed web hosting services

Managed web hosting is a type of hosting service that is rapidly becoming popular in the hosting arena. For growing websites or online businesses, managed hosting trends have become a great solution, especially if you don’t have much technical know-how in the aspects of performance optimization and security.

In managed hosting, the web host provides and manages necessary operations such as help desk services, backups, and system updates. Some managed hosting providers rent out computer servers that are completely operated by the service provider. This allows website owners to focus on growing their business while the admins run the website on the web.

The demand for managed services is driven by several factors. This includes the pressure on organizations to keep pace with technological advancements, the need to meet the demands of regulatory compliance, as well as the lack of internal and technical knowledge. In managed hosting, the providers focus on the technical side of running your website, while the content website owners want to create is all up to them.

Managed web hosting trends highlights

  • Managed web hosting is a reliable option for businesses and organizations wishing to minimize the workload of handling internal IT operations.
  • In 2018, the managed services market is expected to grow from $180.5 billion in 2018 to $282.0 billion by 2023. (Daily Host News)
  • In 2018, the managed services market is expected to grow from $180.5 billion in 2018 to $282.0 billion by 2023. (Daily Host News)

9. Targeting markets

Web hosting companies, much like other businesses, run on continuous hard work and efforts of retaining old clients and attracting new ones. Nonetheless, not all market segments can be covered by a single web hosting provider. Finding a niche is still the best way to stand out among hundreds of competitors.

When it comes to pricing and variety of hosting services, it can be difficult to compete with giant and established web hosting providers. Thus, if you’re on to starting a hosting company, it’s a great idea to target niche markets. By doing so, your site rankings can improve on search engines due to less competition.

Furthermore, by focusing on a specific group of customers, you’ll be able to connect with your customers on a more personal level. Finding your USP can also help differentiate your web hosting company from the competition Nonetheless, it’s still just as important to pick an audience large enough to bring profits.

United States

%

Germany

%

China

%

United Kingdom

%

Japan

%

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Targeting markets trends highlights

  • Smaller web hosting companies are finding niche markets for less competition.
  • Having a USP attracts new clients.
  • By targeting niche markets, your site rankings can improve on search engines.

10. DIY website builders

DIY website builders make it seem that websites are easy to build and even easier to manage. This is the biggest competition that web hosting services are facing. Web hosting allows total coding-control of a website. Meanwhile, the drag-and-drop website builders present an easier and a wider range of features allowing users to command the customization of their websites.

Website builders and web hosting both provide powerful platforms wherein an individual or organization can create an online presence for their personal initiatives or businesses. Web hosting comprises the bandwidth, storage, server, network, and other resources necessary to create and maintain a website. However, DIY web builders allow the creation of websites based on visuals alone instead of codes.

The website builder market is booming across the globe, especially with companies blogging for leads. In 2018, its value is at $6.5 billion. In 2025, it would be generating about $13.5 billion. The increasing needs of businesses to establish an online presence one of the driving factors behind the growth of website builders.

DIY website builders trends highlights

  • Web hosting is facing competition with DIY website builders.
  • The website builder market’s value is at $6.5 billion. (The Ukiah Post)
  • Businesses setting up an online presence are driving the growth of website builders.

The Future of Web Hosting

There are a lot of new opportunities that lie in the web hosting industry, but you must pay close attention to where factors such as environment, cloud, and privacy protocols stand in relation to web hosting. Although the gap becomes clearer between managed hosting trends and  DIY website builders, there’s a thing or two to learn as you take a closer look at them, such as the benefits they both bring to website owners. Keeping track of website owner needs can help you find the right solutions you can develop and offer to your customers.

Evidently, the web hosting industry has no other way to go except forward–but only if it continues to evolve and adapt to the relentlessly changing digital market. The easy access to online videos and the rise of mobile browsing and apps, such as several mobile marketing platforms, all forced out the maximum capabilities that web hosting can contribute to the creation of websites. And if you want to stand your ground in the industry, these are the trends you’ll have to keep in mind as you craft your strategy. Good luck!

By Louie Andre

B2B & SaaS market analyst and senior writer for FinancesOnline. He is most interested in project management solutions, believing all businesses are a work in progress. No stranger to small business hiccups and drama, having been involved in a few internet startups. Prior to his for-profit ventures, he has had managed corporate communications for a Kansas City-based Children International unit.

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