Step back with me if you will to the mid-nineties, back when Web 2.0 was a brand new phrase, the dotcom bubble was still growing, and web hosting was a self-service industry. A lot has changed since then and I’m not just talking about our outfits. Google has come to replace Yahoo, Facebook has done away with MySpace, and hosting a web site is easier than ever before.
Web 3.0 and Decentralized Web Hosting on the Blockchain
In 2018 it’s no longer about Web 2.0, we’re at the cusp of web 3.0. Blockchain technology is set to create decentralized web hosting by storing bits and pieces of websites all around the world on multiple small nodes with enough redundancy to stay online even if a node fails. The most interesting company in this decentralized web space is Shift, you can read more about what they’re doing at shiftnrg.org/#/.
You might be wondering why the URL has /#/ at the end, it’s because the file storage is done in a completely different way than any other website currently does. It uses a system called IPFS (Inter Planetary File System). It’s designed in a way that allows efficient, uncensored, and redundant access to web pages even as an inter-planetary species. AKA it’s going to work on Mars.
Shift’s website is the first one to ever be hosted on the decentralized web. As of March 2018 their Hydra content management system (CMS) has been available, which is an alternative to WordPress and allows users to easily create decentralized websites to be hosted on Shift.
Gone are the days where to build a website you needed to be able to code it from scratch (though knowing HTML certainly still helps). Thanks to WordPress and soon to be Hydra, website builders, and managed hosting, you can go from never made a site to having one up and running in under an hour.
When it comes to the future of website hosting, it’s all about the cloud and similar shared solutions. People have come to realize that a dedicated server is completely unnecessary for most web projects, and cloud solutions in particular provide a host of additional benefits. For more on that and what else to expect in the years to come, we asked a group of industry experts…
What’s The Future Of Web Hosting?
Here’s what they had to say…
Raghu Murthi, SVP of Hosting & WebPro at GoDaddy.com
“User attitudes toward web hosting are changing. More than ever, users are now demanding complete solutions rather than point hosting services. We’ve already seen a significant shift, with the term “hosting” being used less and less. In fact, according to Google Trends, the prevalence of “web hosting” has dropped by 60% in the last decade.
People are much more likely to say “I want a blog site and email” rather than “I want hosting”. I predict that the hosting world will continue to move towards a solutions focus in order to keep up with user expectations. Rather than standalone hosting services, customers will increasingly prefer more holistic offerings, with business applications such as email, SEO, and ecommerce offered in tandem with web hosting.
This solutions-based shift has been a major focus for GoDaddy and I predict that hosting companies will succeed by embracing this trend. Meanwhile, the traditional hosting players who provide nonintegrated services will become commoditized.”
Jason Cohen, Founder & CTO of WP Engine
“We’re used to thinking of “hosting” as being centralized — in high-tech warehouses with redundant wires of power and network. This results in a hub-and-spoke system where clients (laptops, mobile devices) talk to home base (the data center).
The world, however, is increasingly decentralized. Mobile devices are as powerful today as desktops were a few years ago. There is more computing power outside of data centers than inside them. The network is inconsistent. Billions of people are coming online with new technology. IoT promises that this trend will continue with every kind of device.
Thus, “web hosting” will itself become decentralized. You will store and compute as much data on client devices as central servers, which will increase the power and applicability of computation, but also mandate an architectural change in how software is written, just as HTTP and iOS has done in decades past.”
Brian Jackson, Director of Inbound Marketing at Kinsta
“SADA Systems recently surveyed 200+ IT managers and found that 84% of them are using public cloud infrastructure today, as opposed to corporate data centers. Cloud computing providers such as Google Cloud Platform, AWS, and Azure have all seen huge growth quarter after quarter as they compete for the same piece of the pie. 10 years from now there won’t be any need for businesses to use corporate data centers or in-house infrastructure for web hosting.
Cloud computing is already becoming more cost-effective, providing better redundancy (multi-regional), improved performance (autoscaling), and enhanced security (multiple encrypted layers on the biggest networks in the world). Cloud computing web hosting resellers will multiply over the next decade, which in turn will drive down costs for consumers and businesses.”
Anthony J. Biondo Jr. , CEO of Biondo Creative
“Web Hosting is only going to become more critical as people become more connected to the Internet. We will see a consolidation of web hosting and cloud companies and a shift in the consumer demand from cheap web hosting to high performance and high availability web hosting. Right now, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Oracle, Rackspace and others are the largest companies competing in this space. In the future expect these companies to come together more. The days of hosting websites on single web servers will be gone as consumers of content and applications have less and less tolerance for slowness and downtime.”
John Enright, CTO of Hostway Corporation
“In ten years, the term ‘web hosting’ will cease to be a part of the lexicon of IT departments. The Internet will evolve in the same way that the electrical power industry did. The power industry was once highly fragmented with hundreds of companies across the country providing power for specific regions, but is now dominated by a few regulated monopolies. In 10 to 15 years, more than 90% of all Internet traffic will originate from ten or so hyper scale hosting services that includes the likes of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. All other existing hosting services will evolve and prosper in specialized support, and consulting services that help companies run their applications efficiently on one of those platforms.
To no one’s surprise, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google will use their market share as leverage to stifle competition and will cease to innovate once they are in a dominant position. This will be followed by a frustrating period of price gouging and low service levels, similar to the high long distance rates imposed by the Bell System monopoly in the 1970s and early 80s. The high cost of bandwidth and compute will make it extremely difficult for startups and non-profit content providers to compete and survive.
Eventually, anti-trust laws will force these hyper scale companies to spin-out their infrastructure divisions as completely independent companies, which will then be operated as highly-regulated utilities. This will open the door for new startups and existing hosting providers to disrupt the market and usher in a new period of innovation as the whole cycle starts anew.”
Rishi Khanna, CEO of ISHIR
“In the current times, we know of the latest web hosting trends as managed hosting (not to forget some other trends like WordPress optimized hosting and VPS hosting). One of the trends, Cloud Hosting, will dominate the future of web hosting.
And why do we think it will dominate the future?
Look at the flexibility that cloud computing can offer. It provides quick and on-demand access to a number of computing resources like applications, networks, servers, etc. It can open the possibilities of rapid provisioning, minimal interaction with the service provider and little need to monitor. SaaS (applications delivered over web), PaaS (tools and services that enable quick deployment of services) and IaaS (provides virtualized cloud computing services) are all quite responsive to changing infrastructure demands. Businesses, which depend on web and app hosting, and have a vision to grow will rely more on cloud hosting services and cloud computing.”
Marcus Miller , Founder & Digital Marketing Strategist at Bowler Hat
“Web hosting will no longer exist in the way that it does today. Certainly for the majority of websites. This is already happening. Cloud based web platforms like Shopify & Wix have come so far in the last couple of years we can only imagine what they will look like in 15 years time. If we contrast the simplicity of a cloud-based system like Wix with self-hosted WordPress then the updates, maintenance and security of these type of platforms already feel archaic.
Currently, self-hosted options offer just enough in terms of flexibility to keep these cloud systems largely at bay – but for how much longer will that be the case? In the future websites will be designed and the hosting and code will just happen in the back end.
Hosting, back-ups, maintenance – who cares about these things? Real marketing will be at the forefront supported by smart, cloud-based technology and AI-assisted site builders.”
Wenceslao Garcia, CEO & Co-founder of MarketGoo
“More consolidation: this is inevitable and in 10-15 years we will see a much more consolidated space (a consolidation phase has already begun in the industry) and the economies of scale that come with that will be helping the big names turn a larger profit.
– Value-Added services via Bundling: every year we see that more hosting customers want a ‘one-stop shop’: they want hosting, domain registration, email services, security add-ons, SEO services and tools, social media tools, security, etc. I think that most hosting companies will be offering these and increase their non-traditional revenue streams with the most efficient delivery and pricing which is via bundling.
– WordPress : we’re going to see big investments in WordPress managed hosting as hosting companies look to beef up their services and take advantage of the huge user base that WordPress boasts.”
Shub Sengupta, CEO of Vidhub.co
“The future of web hosting is distributed. Where today we may have the cloud and global content delivery networks (CDN’s) to host our information, I believe the future holds a truly distributed, decentralized web hosting infrastructure (similar to the Blockchain). This includes having everyone support the network, and having changes propagated instantly (or as soon as you try to retrieve the website from someone else). This will be feasible by faster internet speeds, more readily available access throughout the world, and greater compression for online assets. In essence, it really is what they’re talking about in the HBO show, Silicon Valley (spoiler alert!).”
Kyle White , CEO & Co-Founder of VeryConnect
“Web hosting is going to carry on its current trajectory of an increasingly distributed Cloud infrastructure and reach an architecture of micro-services interconnecting and hooked together via recipes. Early signs of this are apparent via ifttt.com and Hive (hivehome.com/hive-actions) recipes. Net neutrality will die off with consumers paying for tiered bandwidth and resources as part of their micro-services setup.
Network softwarization and virtualization of the server infrastructure will continue with micro-services being able to be spun up and migrated in micro-container instances. Softwarized routing will configure optimal host configuration and perform global CDN-like caches of micro-services. Heavy-duty processing power will still be in demand for plug-in AI/machine-learning processing especially of audio, visual and VR content. Lastly, large cloud server farms will move onto and under the sea at geographically optimized points for global transmission speeds and cooling purposes.”
Aaron Mahnic, System Admin at Navigator Multimedia Inc.
“The Internet, in its current state, is very centralized. When you visit a web page, you connect to a single server and download that content. This leads to issues when the server goes down, or if the infrastructure between your computer and the server is compromised. Some hosting providers attempt to work around this by replicating websites over multiple geographical locations but this is costly and not practical for small websites that make up the majority of content on the Internet.
The solution is to decentralize websites that we host on the Internet. Split content up from single providers, so that small nodes on the Internet can be hosting tiny, redundant part of many different web pages, and these are all connected to the Internet. If one node goes down, its data is replicated enough all over the world that nothing does down. This is how blockchain technology is powering cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin today, and there is no reason web hosting won’t move this way. It’s more redundant and offers a more clear, secure data pipeline.”
Lindsey Havens, Senior Marketing Manager at PhishLabs
“Most commonly, most websites were typical shared/dedicated solutions, which limited load and control. In the future, web hosting will aim for shared-style hosting that will provide enough power to handle any type of site as long as you pay a GPU charge. Another development that may impact web hosting is security. Many companies and individuals battle against phishing attacks and internet fraud. These cyber crimes are predominant attack method used by cybercriminals to steal account data and carry out online fraud. Supported by a thriving underground ecosystem, cybercriminals can easily stage, launch and profit from phishing attacks targeting businesses and their customers. Web hosts will have to learn better techniques to help companies avoid becoming victims to these crimes.”
Bob Baird, President of Inverse-Square
“The trend is moving more and more rapidly towards a service based structure and away from leased machines. We’re very close to purchasing only the small specific components necessary for the specific time that we need them.
We saw this first move with Azure’s web role concept – you got the platform of a web server without any of the concern for managing an actual machine. Now we see Amazon introducing their lambda concept, where we don’t have any server we can count on at all. Just small tasks (serving a single component), scaled infinitely.
The upside on this trend is HUGE. Things will scale infinitely better, they will be more affordable. The downside is simply how quickly the landscape is changing; it requires expertise in a field that hasn’t been around long enough to establish any experts.”
James Braunegg, CEO and Managing Director of Micron21
“In the last decade – successful IT companies have expanded their product offerings to cater to a less technical user base, the rise of self-managed websites through the proliferation of easy to use CMSs has injected the industry with many more potential clients and has lowered the bar from what was once an expensive and technical journey to have an online presence. It’s reasonable to assume that it will change even more in the next 5 to 10 years.
The rise of cloud computing has done away with the attachment many business sectors had to mainframes and dedicated hardware and has increased the reliance of everyday businesses on online information systems – especially web hosting.
Web hosting has become ‘Mission Critical’ for many businesses. It is how they are recognised and how they generate revenue. The shift over the next decade will be businesses transitioning to a ‘Highly Available’ suite of services – a focus on uptime, continuity, and performance.”