Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Origin and Future of Web Hosting

The Internet and web hosting services that we know today are both far different beasts than those that originated almost forty years ago. Where that service was a system purely put in place to link computers of the company that was the precursor to NASA, today's incarnation has a multitude of services. Whether you're simply a single person looking for a website as a hobby, or a multi-million dollar company looking to prove more successful than your competitors, making sure you have the right web host is paramount. But what is web hosting, and what does the future hold for it?

What we know as web hosting today was first designed and used in 1990, by a single user, although it wasn't until 1991 that web hosting (where a company or organization will give you internet space to host your products or service) really came into its own. By paying a company a fee to host your services on the web, it takes a lot of the work out of your hands, such as admin, email accounts, libraries, etc, so that you can concentrate on the business at hand, whether that's writing a journalistic diary, or selling goods online.

Now, fifteen years later, web hosting is such big business that there are over thirty thousand companies offering some kind of web hosting service, whether it's space for a personal site or a business-heavy option. Such is the growth in this area that the traditional heavy-hitting companies like Microsoft and Yahoo are having to constantly re-evaluate what they offer their customers, who will quite rightly go to who offers the best package, not only now but for the future.

Yet surely this kind of growth can only accommodate so many people, or users, before it reaches its peak? Well, yes and no. With industry experts predicting that next year may see the highest yet for the web hosting industry, with over 100 billion dollars being spent on services, it's obvious that those web hosting companies who can adapt will come out the strongest.

It's no longer going to be enough to simply provide a service. Users have let it be known that they now expect a far more in-depth support back up; affiliate programmes are also becoming more popular, and by paying its "customers" to use their web space (via bringing other users on board), the web hosting companies that listen to their users will be the ones that continue to succeed and grow. And in an industry that's becoming more price-competitive than ever, it's this difference that will count the most.


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