Web hosting, domain registration and incredibly high bids for the hottest domain names is a big business in the US—and around the world. More and more people, businesses and agencies are moving solidly into the Digital Era, with brick and mortar establishments seguing to online only. This means more dependency on the internet, and all the necessary services that go along with it. Most people with a website pay a flat fee for web hosting and domain registration on an annual basis. Until 1995, domain registration was free, and then the government saw that this was a prime area for fees (as well as a solid arena for the entrepreneurial spirit—today many sole proprietorships and startups are web hosts).
Companies can charge rates for domain registrations, renewal fees and hosting based on the competitors and extra services they offer. It’s internet users in general that are bolstering the web hosting industry, and it’s happening on a global scale. In Bangladesh, for example, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Company notes that domain registration was over 0.8 million in 2014, compared to .05 ten years ago. Many domains are depending on hosting from 1,000 go-to companies, but a generous amount of domains are sitting (dormant), “waiting” for hosting. Individuals now own a generous portion of domains, and many of these dormant sites might actually be investments as the owners wait for someone to make an offer.
A Domain of Your Own
Domain registration is a relatively easy business to operate, but the competition is stiff. In 2015, 15 companies on a global scale get most domain registration revenues. These include the biggies that most people have heard about, such as GoDaddy. However, internet users—just like all clients—now want more. They want more speed, more service, more features and more transparency. This shift, including the trend of supporting local, has more customers seeking out nearby solutions where there’s no customer service automation and the “host” is put back into hosting.
To keep up with demands, web hosting companies are now offering a smorgasbord of accessories, such as web design, mobile readiness, archiving, search engine optimization (SEO) and the like. It’s also made it much more feasible for countries outside of North America to compete in such a saturated market. The trend of “flipping” domains has also boosted business, which is just what it sounds like: Scoring a seemingly popular domain name for a reasonable price, then selling it for a profit. Some of the most expensive domains can sell for millions, like VacationRentals.com which was snagged for $35 million in 2007.
Big name hosting companies aren’t known for their customer service, but they might have to re-focus their attention if they want to keep their customers. However, some are relying on the ignorance of the average internet user. How many people could actually explain what a web host does? How domain registration works? Usually, when a person decides to “get” a website, they’re already overwhelmed with the idea of taking their business online and go with the most readily available option (which, with deep pockets, big name hosts can be the first stop). As education about hosting grows and Luddite tendencies dissipate, it’s likely that—just like with many other sectors—clients will be more inclined to suss out local, smaller hosts for the quality they can provide.