What's the most popular type of web hosting right now?Posted on 09 January 2017 -
It is not easy to work out what the most popular form of web hosting is at any given time. Short of surveying large numbers of businesses or compelling all web hosts to release data, there is no way of knowing for sure which web hosting services are convincing people to part with their money.
However, in recent years, it has become easier to gauge at least which types of web hosting appear to be increasing or decreasing in popularity. One way of doing this is via Google Trends, which collates the search engine's queries to allow you to see how many people are looking for them. While this method is far from foolproof, it does at least give some indication as to which web hosting services are making enough of a stir to make people Google them, presumably mainly as research ahead of a possible purchasing decision.
The graphic below charts the searches for some of the most popular types of web hosting and tracks how the number of searches has fluctuated (or not) over the past five years.
We’re looking at private cloud (blue), dedicated hosting (red), Virtual Private Server (yellow), colocation centre (green) and cloud hosting (purple). It is worth noting that private cloud and cloud hosting are at a slight disadvantage. Google Trends is tracking searches for those terms only, whereas all of the others are considered to be ‘Topics’, which means Google also factors in closely related terms and translations of the same term into different languages.
That said, the graph still offers some useful insights. Let’s take a look at some of those…
Judging by the Google Trends figures, virtual private server hosting for many businesses, our clients usually want a hosting setup that’s tailored to their exact requirements - that’s what we’ve built a reputation for and that’s why people seek us out - so that can sometimes skew perception. While the majority of people approaching us are not looking for VPS hosting, in the wider world cheap and cheerful is still the preferred choice. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that; for many small business and personal web hosting requirements, VPS is the best option. Find out if VPS is right for you.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the relative lack of searches for cloud hosting. Searches for cloud hosting and private cloud have been consistent and unchanged for the past five years. As we’ve already established, this relates to the specific search terms and not related trends (as is the case for some of the other terms). Nonetheless, you might still expect to have seen some growth in these terms given the cloud computing boom during that period. That isn’t borne out by Google’s figures.
In 2016, searches for colocation centre and related terms overtook searches for dedicated hosting on three occasions. The trend over the past five years has been that colocation has been closing the gap, and it edged ahead in recent months. If an indication of the cloud computing boom was absent in our previous point, perhaps the evidence can be found here. It is possible that people who knew they were looking for cloud hosting were knowledgeable enough to know exactly what form of cloud hosting they wanted (in this case colocation hosting). Equally, a gradual decline in the number of searches for dedicated hosting points towards people moving away from owning their own hardware.