Dotster Tops 1 Million Hostnames With .info Landgrab

Domain registrar Dotster surged past the 1 million hostname mark this month with a net gain of 312K sites, topping our monthly Hosting Provider Switching Analysis. The huge increase had little to do with customer demand, however, as Dotster became the second registrar to snap up a huge block of .info domains associated with its customers' brands, a practice known as "info-cloning." Dotster registered 343K .info domains for which its customers owned the .com or .net name. The .info domains are apparently still being offered free to registrars to build interest in the top-level domain extension.

Go Daddy added 145K sites, including 246K new sites, as it grabbed headlines and heavy web traffic from its edgy ads during the Super Bowl game on Feb. 6. This month's data includes activity in the first six days following the game. Discount ISP United Online gained 105K sites, including 101K switching in from, which was sold to the New York Times for a reported $410 million on Feb. 17.

Top Hosting Providers By Percentage Growth, Feb 05 to Mar 05
Hosting Company Feb Mar Growth %
Dotster 714,936 1,027,175 312,239 43.7% Americas
Go Daddy 3,171,653 3,316,655 145,002 4.6% Americas
United Online 37,902 143,402 105,500 278.3% Americas
1&1 Internet 4,674,430 4,779,503 105,073 2.2% Europe

1&1 Internet and Yahoo continued their strong organic growth in the shared hosting sector, as 1&1 added 148K new sites and Yahoo had 100K new signups, helping both companies post strong net gains.

MCI, which is the target of a takeover battle between Verizon and Qwest, gained 54K hostnames last month, including 45.3K hostnames switching in from Netfirms. The telecom company now houses nearly 1 million hostnames in its hosting business.

Netcraft's Hosting Provider Switching Analysis identifies movements of sites from one hosting provider to another on a monthly basis. Netcraft compares the hosting location of each site found by the Web Server Survey as indicated by the DNS with the equivalent information for the same site in the previous month. Analyzing this information presents a unique bird’s eye view of the hosting industry, identifying winners who are able to take sites from other hosting companies, and persuade people developing new sites to host those sites with them.