Hosting focus moving from space/transfer to applications?
Why I think web hosting will be moving away from focus on disk space and data transfer to focus on applications
Yet another package upgrade over at Easy CGI made my brain churn out some thoughts, besides the fact that you now get excellent value for money Windows hosting at Easy CGI. What I have in mind is the decreasing importance of disk space and data transfer. At $9.95 you now get 3000mb of disk space and 30 gb of monthly data transfer at Easy CGI. A quick look in my control panel reveals that I am using 20 mb disk space and far less than 1 gb transfer for this website, and most of that are files generated by log analyzers.
It's quite common for webmasters to mainly look at the amount of disk space and data transfer they get when they are shopping for new web hosting accounts. After all, there are normally plenty of web hosts offering the features they want, especially for those who are running normal CGI/PHP/MySQL based applications. And space/transfer is a way of separating them. But when an average website uses far less that 100 mb disk space and many web hosts are offering 1000 mb disk space in their entry level plans, it doesn't really matter. You won't be using a large part of your disk space anyway.
Factors like service level, number of accounts per server and the licensing fees (if any) of the software installed on the servers are now far more significant for the price level than disk space. This is something the web hosts have to comminicate to their customers to disinguish themselves from other web hosts. Expect more focus on this from non-bargain hosts in the future.
I also think that we will see more specialized hosting in the future. The blogging phenomenon is an example of this, with some hosts offering only blog hosting or special plans for blogging. The advantage of blog-only hosting is that it becomes easier for non-technical webmasters tho start a blog. Techies can easily set up blog software in a normal account, but blog-only hosting makes blogging more accessible for the average Joe and Jane.
Why stop with blogging? I think we will see more specialized hosting plans for websites focused on f.ex. news or websites for restaurants, that includes easy to use software for that type of website. HostingMenus is an example of this. Most web hosts are now targeting developers, so they are overlooking an even bigger market, the average Joe and Jane. To target the non-techies, web hosts will have to be responsible for maintaining applications so the customer only has to worry about running his website. Did anyone say accessible application hosting?