Technology has promoted change across a broad range of sectors, but web hosting appears to be the one industry that has largely remained untouched — that’s if you’re only looking on the surface.
The fact of the matter is that the hosting field has been forced to adapt just like any other vertical. The only difference is that most of the change is being felt on the backend — by the data centers, service providers, and resellers.
2013 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for the web hosting business. What trends will command the most attention? Making a prediction in this unpredictable market can be challenging, but here are four we think will be worthy of monitoring.
1. Hybrid Clouds
Cloud computing has been among the hottest trends in web hosting for the last couple of years. The ability to offer solutions featuring on-demand resources, immediate access to data, and flexible storage options has created a rather lucrative niche market. Cloud computing isn’t going anywhere, but it is evolving. Organizations are looking beyond public and private environments in favor of hybrid models.
The hybrid cloud concept is all about enjoying the best of both worlds. One cloud, a private version, is hosted on-site, while another is hosted publicly with a third-party service provider. Hybrid clouds offer the advantage of leveraging the resources and cost effectiveness of the public environment while keeping mission-critical applications in-house. Hosting companies are already working diligently to develop solutions to accommodate organizations looking for hybrid models.
2. Niche Green Web Hosting
Green web hosting has been one of the fastest growing niches in the industry. Although some vendors are using it in gimmicky fashion, others are making genuine attempts to reduce the negative impact their operations have on the environment. These efforts represent individual trends that have formed their own niches.
SOLAR-POWERED HOSTING. A web hosting service that is powered by light and heat from the sun instead of the electricity used by traditional services.
WIND-POWERED HOSTING. A web hosting service that is powered by wind energy from wind turbines which produce mechanical energy.
CARBON-NEUTRAL HOSTING. A web hosting service that runs completely free of carbon emissions.
3. Mobile Accessibility
At one time, managing and updating a website from a desktop computer was the only logical option for the typical webmaster. Times have changed. These days, webmasters may have the need to administer accounts on a tablet, smartphone, or various other mobile devices. The problem is that the web hosting industry is far behind in terms of offering such convenient access.
2013 may very well be the year we see service providers step up and give their customers better access via the range of devices they may be using. Cloud computing can provide the connectivity, but it will be up to development teams to create the software tools that make connecting a safe and efficient process. We may only see small steps on this front, but any way forward is an improvement.
4. Better Backups
In the hosting world, backups are of critical importance to both service providers and their clients. Everything from hardware failure to security exploits threatens the integrity of data. Not having access to this data is bad for business, which is why organizations are strongly encouraged to plan for disaster recovery and operational continuity. It is up to the customer to backup their own data, but web hosting companies stand to score huge points when they provide a way to do it in convenient and effective fashion.
The good thing is that the web hosting industry recognizes the importance of backing up data and proves it through action. Many of the top firms have made basic backup utilities a common feature in their service plans. We have also seen the introduction of tools that give hosts the ability to backup control panels, databases, and other individual components. One of the latest trends is cloud-based solutions for organizations looking to backup and store data offsite.
When considering how essential having a website is, it is safe to say that the web hosting business is currently one of the most important sectors in existence. From virtualization to cloud computing, it has come a long way, yet has much more growing to do. The moves made in this industry eventually dribble down to everyone involved, so whether you sell services directly, resell them, or simply use them to maintain your web presence, it pays to keep an eye on the emerging web hosting trends.