It was a banner year for hosting companies based in Germany, home to the fastest-growing host and three of the top six in hostname growth. Leading the pace was IP Exchange GmbH, which lived up to its motto ("where the server lives") with 352 percent growth in hostnames on the year.
The top American performers demonstrated that there were successful growth strategies in virtually every market niche, including colocation (Hurricane Electric), dedicated servers (EV1Servers), shared hosting (iPowerWeb), small business e-commerce hosting (Yahoo!) and domain registration and hosting (Go Daddy).
When looking at growth by total number of hostnames, rather than percentage growth, European hosting companies fare even better, with 5 of the top 10 top performers located in Europe. This reflects the figures as a whole, with 42 percent of the 46 million sites worldwide hosted in Europe. While 1&1 Internet didn't make the top percentage gains, it solidifed its status as the largest hosting company, adding more than 800,000 hostnames to top 3.5 million.
While the industry consolidation continued in 2003, both charts are dominated by companies that have grown organically, rather than through acquisition sprees. Some of the most energetic "consolidators" of recent years are conspicuous by their absence, and focused on integrating or even unwinding earlier purchases.
The other clear trend was the power of price, as the top three performers each featured low price points as a core strategy. Go Daddy's $8.95 pricing on domains and expansion into shared hosting helped it add more than a million hostnames on the year.
Our Hosting Provider Switching Analysis identifies movements of sites from one hosting provider to another. The analysis is updated monthly and is available on a company license basis.