Bruce talks about the three waves of hosting: ISP based to Web Host based to More user friendly systems. Many
web hosts sell the technical features of their services, which is great if you understand them, but they aren't
necessarily fiendly to the new person or layman.
Even though this article was written in '05 it's still timely since we're not quite 100% at Bruce's third
wave. However, there are a number of services that are pretty friendly to the new user, so we're getting
The First Wave - ISP Wave
The first wave of Web hosting started in the middle of 1990s. At the time, there weren't really many web
hosting companies. Web hosting was a part of ISP (Internet Service Provider) operation. Within two
years, the number of ISPs had grown from a few dozens to a few thousands in United States alone.
Many analysts predicated that the consolidation of ISP industry was unavoidable. But the analysts didn't pay
much attention to the future of the web hosting. The web hosting clients for ISPs were most small to
medium-sized organizations which couldn't offer to have dedicated Internet connection.
The Second Wave - One Plan Hosting Wave
As large telecommunication companies entered into the ISP industry and the prevailing of broadband
connection into both commercial and residential buildings, a few leading ISPs, such as AOL grabbed
residential users from small ISP companies, and telecommunication companies acquired commercial clients
from small or regional ISP companies.
Because of the economy of scale, ISPs couldn't compete with either AOL, Comcast or Qwest for Internet
connection service. Most ISP companies were disappeared as fast as they emerged.
On the other hand, the growth of the Web has pushed the second wave of web hosting. The web hosting
companies offer hosting services at a fraction of cost of what ISPs used to charge. In contrast to the Web
hosting service from an ISP, which is often customized for each client one way or another, the idea of one
hosting plan has helped grow the client base from a few hundreds to hundreds of thousands at a few leading
hosting companies in a few short years.
Todays' web hosting companies don't offer Internet connection service at all. It's unbelievable that early
ISP companies had never attempted to transform themselves into web hosting companies to survive the inevitable
consolidation of ISP industry.
The Third Wave - Hosting Plan for Users
Seasoned webmasters can easily setup a new website in minutes with one of their preferred hosting
Novice webmasters are often confused by the various web hosting plans - ASP Web Hosting, Budget Hosting,
Dedicated Servers, eCommerce Hosting, FrontPage Web Hosting, Hosting With Templates, Managed Web Hosting, PHP
Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting, Shared Hosting, Unix / Linux Hosting, Virtual Private Servers, Windows Hosting
or Co-location Hosting, and other options.
The size of the Web will continue to grow exponentially as more and more people join the crow to create
their own websites. If web hosting companies do not expect average Joe to understand operating systems,
programming languages or variations of web servers, they'll develop the service and sell the hosting plan
that'll make sense to the average Mary. New web hosting plans will be labeled in terms of what they can do
for the hosting customers, instead of technical buzzwords.
The Web hosting industry has been enjoying healthy growth as the global economy and IT industry revives.
It's too early to see the tide of the third wave in Web hosting right now. If the first and the second wave of
Web hosing were pushed by the start of a new economic cycle, the coming of the third wave may not be an
Copyright @2005, Bruce Zhang
Bruce Zhang has over 10 years of experience in web development, database design and managing web
servers. He currently manages dozens of websites using ASP Web Hosting, Budget Hosting, Dedicated Servers,
eCommerce Hosting, Managed Web Hosting, Reseller Hosting for web hosting needs.