Space On The Web: Thoughts On The Web Hosting Industry

 

Finding space on the Internet to post a website is relatively cheap and easy these days. Most people can use large blocks of space set aside for them by their Internet Service Providers, or ISPs. Users needing more options for their web projects and virtual businesses usually seek out a hosting service, often one that also offers domain registration such as GoDaddy.com or Network Solutions. These two are industry leaders with millions of customers around the globe, although initially they started out small in the traditional way of most IT success stories. GoDaddy is based in Scottsdale, Arizona and Network Solutions has headquarters in Herndon, Virginia. A much smaller concern, Rackspace Hosting of San Antonio, Texas, launched an initial public offering last August, one of the few venture-capitalized businesses to sell new stock to the public in these tough economic times.

In addition to access to plenty of space, expert help with technical issues, reliability in terms of the website being available at all hours to all viewers, one outstanding concern for many subscribing to hosting services is security. Recently in the news was something called Ghost Net, apparently a China-based system intent on spying on Tibet sympathizers around the globe but also gaining access to other sensitive information. This operation, discovered by a Toronto-based team, managed to steal or copy documents from many government and international corporate sites. Stories like this worry many website owners whether or not they harbor secret material. Another security problem is spam; and, interestingly, another fairly recent news item featured the shuttering of McColo, a California web hosting service which allegedly protected domain owners who deliberately, and with criminal intent, sent out spam and malware. But even more amazing than these two incidents is the case of terrorist groups, including possibly Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives, uploading their hate-filled websites onto American servers. Apparently the relative reliability of hosting providers such as, in one instance, The Planet which is based in Texas, is the draw for jihadist groups which additionally are able to remain, for a time at least, anonymous.

In general, posting a site on the web is not so fraught with hidden dangers. Many individuals, schools, and clubs make use of free web space offerings, complete with handsomely designed and user friendly templates, usually with the minor drawback of banner advertising, without undue angst or major problems. Young people experimenting with video software, camera buffs eager to display their latest digital images, convivial people interested in social networking, and dedicated bloggers with deep insights to impart all can find hosting services to meet their needs and desires. One emerging trend is referred to as green hosting, meaning a commitment to utilizing renewable energy resources for powering server electronics. Being environmentally friendly could prove to be a killer application for highly competitive hosting service providers.

A gathering of industry experts, Web hosting Day 2009, occurred in mid-March in Germany. This convention attracted exhibitors from Europe and the U.S. and featured talks on relatively esoteric topics like cloud computing. Of course, top level hosts and all their smaller rivals need to keep abreast of technological innovations, related trends, and any new ideas. And they do this to ensure that regular folks, those of us looking for space to set up a neat and easy e-commerce site or to display novelties, hobbies, and assorted talents, need not worry about technical issues, obscure threats, or intrusive spam, adware, and malware.

Web hosting has become a big business, with all the honors and headaches that comes with that status.

While there can be no denying the fact that business is indeed booming, most people, to be on the safer side, prefer affordable web hosting services to get a hands on experience in order to get to know whether it will prove to be a safe bet for the future.