Notably, the five hosting providers that gained more than 100K active sites during 2004 did so entirely through organic growth, rather than acquisitions. Leading the pack was German giant 1&1 Internet, which expanded into the American market even as it continued to gain customers in Europe. Next is The Planet, which experienced a huge year as it found a product positioning sweet spot with its customizable menus of managed services atop dedicated servers.
Top Hosting Providers By Active Site Growth, Dec 03 to Dec 04
Go Daddy continued its phenomenal hostname growth through its domain name registry, but also had strong performance as measured by active sites - those which contain actual content, an approach that excludes parked domains and one-page template sites and is therefore a better barometer of growth for a hosting business. Rounding out the top five are dedicated server specialist EV1Servers and Yahoo, which focuses on shared hosting.
The Planet showed the largest percentage improvement in active sites, with a 2004 gain of 490%. It was one of six providers to at least double the number of active sites between December 2003 and this month. The list showed some international flavor, with Lycos Europe and Komplex reflecting strong growth in Europe, while Japan's SRS/Sakura fcuses on the Asia/Pacific market. Rounding out the top percentage gainers are Go Daddy and Pegasus Web Technologies, which this year rebranded as Fortress ITX, and includes both the Pegasus shared hosting operation and the DedicatedNow.com dedicated server business.