You’ll find a lot of lists online of the best web hosting services, but rarely will you find one looking at the most popular. This is because, popularity does not always equal quality in every sense of the word. Popular companies can trade on brand recognition, virtual monopolies in certain sectors or attractive price points – without necessarily providing ‘the best’ services. So, regardless of how and why they do it, these are the three largest web hosting service providers by market share and what they offer to have got themselves into that position. Whether that’s technical importance, ease of use or simply excellent marketing, these are the web service hosts at the top of the popularity tree right now.
Founded way back in 1997 as the much less catchily named Jomax Technologies, GoDaddy currently has over 18.5 million customers and a market share of about 15% by some estimates. Chiefly, they are known for their widespread and often controversial marketing campaigns – often aired during the primetime slots at half time in The Super Bowl. Just a couple of examples include their 2015 commercial that saw them provide web hosting to a company selling the Budweiser dog in a puppy mill, or their 2013 advert that featured lingerie supermodel Bar Refaeli intensely kissing a bespectacled ‘geek’. Business wise, GoDaddy is known for offering super-cheap hosting plans in the first year of the contract, as well as a wide variety of options such as private server hosting, cloud facilities, e-commerce platforms, integrated marketing, security and much more.
Amazon Web Services
A subsidiary of the world’s largest online retailer, and prime source of the wealth of the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, Amazon Web Services is barely advertised in traditional media and many non-techy people might have never even heard of it. However, they have a huge market share – about 8.9% of websites and over 30% of the cloud computing segment – and even provide computing services to national governments and super high net-worth individuals. They include more than 90 different tools in various packages, including everything GoDaddy does plus analytics, internet of things services, databases, private networking and so much more. However, AWS is not focused on being 100% user friendly and doesn’t offer pre-packaged e-commerce or website building facilities. AWS is more aimed at established business with their own tech departments who can facilitate development of their own site – while using Amazon’s tools to improve and shape that design.
In the opposite approach to Amazon Web Services’ back-end approach, Squarespace is designed for the complete tech novice to create well designed and aesthetically pleasing websites in just a few hours – or even minutes. Using an innovative drag and drop front end system, it takes the complex coding, development and UX design out of the equation. This allows almost anyone to create a usable website and start selling their services or products online. Currently they’re the hosting provider for about 4.1% of all websites, which is not bad considering the other two on this list started nearly 10 years before Squarespace opened up shop in 2004.