Hosting Experts on Hosting


Website hosting, vps, and dedicated servers are all shifting rapidly. The added uncertainty of the worldwide financial crises has created a new sense of urgency for hosting providers to adapt to this rapid change and thrive. What can we expect in the future for website hosting? Below are the expert opinions of four veterans of the web hosting, vps and managed server industries: Ron and David Dunlap – the esteemed publishers and editors of this blog and, Daniel Foster – co-founder of UK vps hosting firm, and William Toll – an industry veteran of Affinity Internet, Intermedia and now with managed dedicated hosting firm Navisite. We asked each expert to render an opinion on the current web hosting state of affairs and to look forward into the future to share their thoughts.

Ron Dunlap: ”We have always believed that as long as the web hosting industry is a vital part of the Internet, the handful of objective web host directories and resource sites like will be around. Even as web host companies go through the inevitable consolidation of smaller companies getting gobbled up by larger ones, web developers, businesses, and others will be looking at honest web host resource sites like ours to find the best web hosts that meet their needs. We tend to think the industry will shrink in terms of the number of companies, but not necessarily in the number of customers. Back when the Internet bubble burst and the web host industry had some hiccups, we saw the larger web hosting companies buying up smaller web host companies more and more. We believe this will likely happen again. This kind of thing tends to be the norm. Smaller companies do not normally have the resources to handle their services as well as their customer’s needs. Many will be eager to sell their assets (namely their customer base) to larger companies looking for bargains.”

David Dunlap: ”A lot hinges on the size of the host, what their overhead is like, and what type of customers do they have. Times like these will be lucrative to hosts who provide enterprise solutions since many companies will be looking to outsource their hosting IT infrastructure. I would imagine these hosts will be looking to increase their marketing in order to obtain those customers. Conversely, I believe smaller budget hosts will probably decrease their marketing budget in order to stay lean. But as Ron said, this will be a time where larger hosts may be looking to consolidate by absorbing the customers of smaller hosts.”

William Toll: ”NaviSite’s dedicated hosting business will benefit significantly from several trends in 2009. First, we expect an increased interest from small businesses looking for a quality full service managed hosting provider to move to deploy their services and applications with. Small, financially questionable providers are now seen as a risk – while companies with significant experience with the enterprise that provide an affordable and accessible service for the small business will win new business.

Secondly, the capital crunch, and the increasing needs for additional and upgraded CPU power and servers are combining to drive interest in hosted managed dedicated servers and virtual dedicated servers. Windows Server 2008 and open source Linux based applications require new hardware and new licenses. The ”rented” high-performance multi-core CPUs and virtual CPUs and monthly license rental model is far more conducive to today’s finances than the massive capital outlays and consulting services required for onsite upgrades and new deployments.

Third, the interest in hosted applications, SaaS etc., has not only crossed over to the mainstream, but is now a preferable model for ‘utility’ needs like email, office collaboration/file and information sharing and CRM. The increasing popularity of hosted Exchange is the best example. With hosted Exchange businesses of all sizes can stop worrying about SPAM, increasing needs for storage and archiving and multiple mobile platforms for BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and more.”

Daniel Foster: ”In 2009, I’m sure there will be more buzz about cloud and utility computing. I’m also sure that ”traditional” hosting companies which are good at what they do will continue to thrive. Not everyone has the technical expertise to manage a complex hosting solution so hosts that can provide solutions relevant to their customers should continue to see growth. At, we’re expecting to see our growth continue in 2009, and to be able to offer even better service and solutions to our existing and new customers alike.”

Ron Dunlap: ”We also see more web developers and business trending toward the grid and cloud computing options that are coming out. Each of these provide more security and reliability and as their costs come down, We can see them becoming dominant in more types of hosting services, including reselling and ecommerce.”

This content was written by Derek Vaughan exclusively for

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