Tom Fanelli, CEO and cofounder of Convesio, a scalable WordPress hosting platform designed for mission-critical websites.
It’s an exciting time in the web hosting industry. A number of different technologies and social trends are reshaping the traditional ways of hosting a website. In this article, we’ll take a brief look at what some of these are—and what you can expect to see from hosts in the near future.
First, we can expect to see continued growth in e-commerce-optimized hosting. The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated e-commerce and introduced millions to buying everyday items online. Although the dramatic rate of growth has slowed in 2022, it’s still continuing to rise, albeit more slowly, as consumers gain comfort in purchasing online. It also looks like remote work is here to stay—which means that e-commerce will be sticking around to cater to a distributed workforce, too.
Moving business online leads to increased security risks, which is why security is another big trend. Hardly a day goes by without headlines of a bank, website or business being hacked. Unfortunately, security has long been overlooked (and still is) by many websites, which means that you can expect the number of hacks and leaks to continue, especially for sites running legacy hosting systems. As such, hosts are placing extra emphasis on ensuring that their customers’ sites are safe and secure.
The increasing complexity of running an e-commerce website (including keeping it secure) has also sparked a rise in “full-service” hosting packages. Hosting itself is already inexpensive, and the differentiator is no longer price. Rather, hosts are starting to offer courses, extra services or features and other unique benefits that go beyond storage space, free email and other tech specs. New web hosts are specializing in everything you can think of, from the cannabis industry to high-traffic viral events.
Similarly, we’re seeing hosting companies target specific niches like influencers or live commerce streamers. In the past, these types of businesses needed to handle everything themselves when building a website. In the future, they’ll almost all plug into premade infrastructure offered by cutting-edge web hosts.
Hosts are also starting to care more about issues like the environment. Most larger web hosts now have policies in place to reduce their CO2 emissions and reduce their electricity use. A decade ago, this was a unique differentiator, but these days, it’s rapidly becoming an industry requirement as businesses demand more from their hosts.
One way that hosts are becoming more environmentally efficient is by implementing artificial intelligence (AI). Although AI has become something of a buzzword, the improvements provided are real. AI is allowing hosting providers to automatically provision and configure servers and optimize resources, lowering their total energy output.
AI is also being used for security, support and product recommendations, as well as to resolve issues before they cause downtime. In terms of security, AI can be used in various layers, whether at the perimeter (e.g., bot detection and spam prevention), via analyzing traffic patterns or just scanning for malware on the site itself. All of this can result in a better experience for the end customer, which means that you can expect AI tools to slowly become a must-have for any host.
Another innovation gaining steam is software platforms such as Docker and Kubernetes that allow the use of “containers,” which are lightweight, self-contained copies of a website. Containers are unique in that they include everything necessary to run a piece of software (in this case, a website) inside. This makes it easier to scale a website to handle more incoming traffic, as you simply need to “spin up” more containers.
Containers are significantly more efficient, effective and scalable than legacy hosting tech, so you can expect continued innovation in this space. They use fewer CPUs, memory and workers to get the same job completed. Containers can also make it easier for hosts to only scale resources when they’re absolutely needed, rather than keeping them running 24/7. This is a big win for the environment and customers.
Finally, you can expect long-term players like WordPress and Shopify to continue growing and incorporating new technologies and trends into their offerings. WordPress is nearly 20 years old, but it’s still one of the leading ways to create a website, with over 40% of all sites using it. In the future, WordPress, Wix, SquareSpace and other website creation platforms will shift more toward a page builder model and away from the open-ended, “code everything yourself” approach of classic web development.
The future is looking bright for web hosting. Over the next decade, you can expect exciting new technological developments—as well as social and economic trends—to continue shaping how businesses use the internet.