We have analyzed stats from the main hosting providers and studied the most common solutions to publish a website built with Wordpress Here’s what we’ve discovered.

With this article we want to analyze the actual situation of the worldwide hosting market with a comparison of the big players of this sector. As it often happens in the business world, the firsts are the ones with the biggest share of the market.

The global podium

GoDaddy is the first worldwide Web Hosting Provider, covering 5,8% of the market, followed by Blue Host (2,5%) and Host Gator (2,1) at the the third step of the podium (source: Host Advice). Note how those three providers are from the US. Another important fact is the neat gap between the leading solution and the followers: GoDaddy outperforms the others by more than the double the adoption percentage. This rank also holds on a country level within the US.

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The situation in single countries

GoDaddy dominates with 14% of the market, followed by Blue Host (6,5%) and Host Gator (5,4%). GoDaddy, both on a national and on a worldwide level, maintains the dominance with more than twice the percentage of the concurrent in the runner-up position. But despite this first analysis, the market in the US is quite open.
But where does Amazon, with its Web Services, fit in this rank? The Cloud colossus places fifth worldwide with 1,8% of the market, and fourth in the US (3,9%).
We can think about two big names in the Cloud sphere, as well: Microsoft and Google. As their offering are different than the ones we cover in this article, they aren’t kept into account in this rank about Web Hosting.

The Italian market is dominated by Aruba with a remarkable 325, followed by Register.it (12%) and several providers with shares way lower than the first two top players.

But are the Italians really that tied to local providers? It seems not so! Indeed we can state that, on the basis of data collected from 1500 Hosting Provider and 54 million websites, in many other countries the situation is similar and the most used hosting providers are national.

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For instance, in Germany Hetzner is in first position with 21,9% of the market, followed by 1&1 (16%). Only two companies within the top 10 German players aren’t from Germany: OVH (1%) and Lease Web (0,4%). Both companies are French.

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The leading provider in France is OVH with a overwhelming market quota of 65%. By analyzing the top 10 rank, we can find only two non-French companies: Gandi.net (US, 4,35%) and Planet Hoster (Canadian, 0,45%). OVH has a solid support from the French government which also finances, in part, its activities.

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An overview of offerings

Apart from abstract values on market share percentages, the analysis of plans by providers must also be about commercial offers, at least on a first level. A complete presentation of all options would require several pages, and for the sake of brevity we will only deal with Linux-based hostings (inasmuch also because the market is totally dominated by such operating system). In each case we have evaluated the cheapest solution capable of running a Wordpress website.

GoDaddy

The American colossus proposes 4 different offerings: Basic, Deluxe, Ultimate and Developer. These offer varies according to disk space and monthly visitors. How are visitors calculated? GoDaddy calculates the number of unique IP addresses of all sites of the plan in a 24-hour time span. Daily counts are summed to a monthly total. In order to understand better the offer, it’s better to adopt the number of hourly visitors. For instance, 25,000 monthly visitors -that’s the Basic plan- are about 35 visitors each hour (25,000/(24*30)=34.7).
GoDaddy doesn’t provide information about MySQL database size, and usually that means that the global space includes the DB, or guaranteed performances. Apart from the indications in the homepage, once added to cart, the Basic plan is €58,99 for the first year plus the cost of the domain of €11,99/year (total f €72,87 + VAT). When renewing, the cost if €8,52x12 = €102,24 + the cost of the domain = €114,23 + VAT.

Bluehost

When we evaluate plans from Blue Host, we immediately bump into a little surprise: selecting the Wordpress Hosting product we discover that we are buying a VPS, and we’ve given data about RAM and disk space. There are 4 offers: Blogger, Professional, Business and Enterprise.

Despite not being a web hosting product (and a VPS instead), we still include it in our analysis because it’s quite significant that Blue Host, for Wordpress hosting, opted for an higher level offering. The cited values lacks from indications about CPU and disk I/O, and there’s also no information about the max size of the MySQL database, however it’s safe to believe that 2GB is the max manageable size, given the fact that it’s a 2GB VPS.
Regarding prices, the Basic plan haas a discount for the first month at $12,5, and is $25/mo from the second month. The total price for 12 months is $227 + VAT.

HostGator

Host Gator has 3 offers for Wordpress hosting available: Starter Plan, Standard Plan and Business Plan.
Like GoDaddy, Host Gator too gives and indication about the numbers of visitors per month. The basic offer, Starter Plan, is for 25.000 visits per month. Other basic information are scarce. In the comparison table, the piece of information used to define hosting is the associated disk space, which is 50GB for Starter Plan, but there are indications neither about the max MySQL size nor performances guaranteed. The Starter Plan offer is $5,95/mo, but the price lowers when selecting the product and the 12-month period. The total for 12 months is $107,4. Still having selected Italy as country, we can’t deduce if taxes are comprised in the price.

Aruba

The choice for Wordpress hosting with Aruba is only one. A single plan that can’t be customized upon purchase. Unlike GoDaddy, Blue Host and Host Gator, information about the hosting plan are easily found on the product page and are also quite complete. Precise indications are provided for max MySQL size (1GB for only one DB), but not about performances guaranteed. The Wordpress hosting offering is on sale at €19,99/year + VAT instead of €29 + VAT. The cost also includes domain registration. Once added to the cart, it’s possible to add, at an additional price, a number of services like DNS management (about €10/year), which is one of the most useful services.

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Register.it

Register.it unlike the other providers doensìt have an offering dedicated to Wordpress, and, more generally, has only Linux offers: Smart, Advanced and Enterprise.

The basic offering that is suitable for Wordpress is Smart. Register.it too, like Aruba, clearly shows information about the hosting plan, like the max MySQL DB size: 2GB for a max of 10 databases. Information about resources dedicated to the Smart plan are stated. Processor resources is indicated as 1 vCPU but it really hasn’t got a real value as computing power isn’t stated (it could be a 100MHz vCPU or a 2GHz, for instance). Assigning 512MB of RAM while offering 2GB DB can be discussed in technical terms: the ratio between RAM and MySQL DB size should be at least 1:1.
The Hosting Smart offering is €54,85/year + VAT and includes domain registration.

Hetzner

Hetzner provides 4 Linux hosting offerings: Level 1, Level 4, Level 9 and Level 19. Hetzner too hasn’t got a Wordpress-specific offerings; the first offers with characteristics suitable for Wordpress is Level 4. Characteristics are quite detailed if compared to GoDaddy, Blue Host and Host Gator, but there isn’t a clear piece of information about the max MySQL database size, however it’s stated that the max number of DB is 10.
No information about dedicated resources or performances guaranteed are stated; there’s an indication about RAM but it’s based on Storage, so calling it RAM is not correct.
Despite that, an important piece of information, which other providers don’t provide, is Max Execution Time, which is 90 seconds for Level 4. After 90 seconds ifa process doesn’t respond, it’s automatically closed, in practice. It’s safe to say that without indication about reserved RAM of allocated CPU for the website, any Wordpress page could take several seconds before being loaded.
The Level 4 offering is €53,56/year and include domain registration.

1&1

3 offerings are available: 1&1 Managed WP Basic, Plus and Unlimited. Characteristics are poorly explained: there is no clear statement about max MySQL DB size, but it’s stated that you can have 1 DB hosted on an SSD unit. No indication about dedicated resources of guaranteed performances are provided. Under the Performance voice there are values that have few things in common with actual performances, as these are the service’s costs. 
The cost of the Basic package has a strong discount for the first year (€11,84), being €84 for the second year onwards. Total costs include domain registration.

OVH

OVH too doesn’t have a specific Wordpress offering, but there are 2 type of offerings that are suitable for Wordpress: Hosting Pro and Web Performance. As with the other cases, let’s take into account the cheapest offering capable of running Wordpress. Characteristics of this offerings are quite scarce. The Web Performance plan providers more detailed information, but not like Register.it.
The offering doesn’t provide indication about the MySQL DB except for the number of databases (4), or guaranteed performances. 
The cost of the Hosting Pro package is €59,88/year + VAT and include domain registration.

Conclusions

We have taken into account a wide spectrum of the Web Hosting market by briefly analyzing the offerings of top players from the US, Italy, Germany and France.

In the US information about characteristics and performances are really scarce, and in some cases are not even available. Clients probably trust providers or ignore what characteristics their Wordpress website need and purchase products relying on the brand.
You can read comments of all kinds about GoDaddy, which is the number 1 worldwide web hosting provider. In particular, several users report to have their website blocked because, in a totally anomalous manner, the number of users has been exceeded.
In order to have the website available again, one must purchase a superior offering.
If considering the first 3 American top players and considering their offering with the ones of the players from Germany, Italy and France, it’s easy to face starting prices for a Wordpress hosting plan that are way higher, if not even double.
The hosting market must grow up and evolve for sure. It’s not sound to provide offerings without clear information about the characteristics of the plan itself. Creating confusion is a strategy that has worked up to now but it doesn’t have a future given the fact that webmasters are increasingly gaining information and skills that help in making more aware choices. At the same time it perfectly makes sense that who creates a website delegates technical choices to those who are more skilled. The error in most cases is to think to have an excellent service for a tiny price. Top quality services, in particular if “managed” like a Web hosting, have costs related not to physical space or the number of databases, but rather to clients service and the overall reliability of the infrastructure.

 

Hetzner provides 4 Linux hosting offerings: Level 1, Level 4, Level 9 and Level 19. Hetzner too hasn’t got a Wordpress-specific offerings; the first offers with characteristics suitable for Wordpress is Level 4. Characteristics are quite detailed if compared to GoDaddy, Blue Host and Host Gator, but there isn’t a clear piece of information about the max MySQL database size, however it’s stated that the max number of DB is 10.
No information about dedicated resources or performances guaranteed are stated; there’s an indication about RAM but it’s based on Storage, so calling it RAM is not correct.
Despite that, an important piece of information, which other providers don’t provide, is Max Execution Time, which is 90 seconds for Level 4. After 90 seconds ifa process doesn’t respond, it’s automatically closed, in practice. It’s safe to say that without indication about reserved RAM of allocated CPU for the website, any Wordpress page could take several seconds before being loaded.

The Level 4 offering is €53,56/year and include domain registration.

About the Author

Lorenzo Bedin

Lorenzo graduated in Telecommunication Engineering and works as freelance IT consultant, after a period of training as systems analyst. Currently he provides hardware solutions, virtualized infrastructures and websites.

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