The world of web hosting has come a long way since its humble beginnings in the early days of the internet. In the past few years, we’ve seen a massive shift towards cloud hosting and faster, more reliable web hosting solutions. But what will 2023 bring?
It’s exciting to be part of an industry that continually morphs from strength to strength. Large and looming issues – like security threats, the expenses of downtime, and the need for improved performance – are continually addressed with new and innovative solutions.
In the spirit of greeting the New Year, I thought we’d take a look through some of the finest web hosting progressions seen in 2022; perhaps they give us a picture of what’s to come.
Environmentally-Friendly Websites (Green Hosting)
Take your phone out of your pocket and look at it. It’s hard to imagine that such a minimalist, unassuming piece of technology has the power to negatively influence our environment – and yet, digital technology now accounts for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to The Shift Project, the energy consumption of digital technology is increasing by about 9% per year. An enormous contributor to that figure is web hosting platforms.
You may not be aware of this, but the internet cannot exist solely in the cloud; every ounce of data is accounted for in physical infrastructure, which must be powered by electricity. It’s no wonder that companies have begun to advocate for a greener approach to hosting.
How Green Hosting Works
Green web hosting platforms can call themselves ‘eco-friendly’ because they are powered by renewable energy. This might come in the form of solar, wind, or even geothermal sources – all of which offer a more sustainable approach to powering the web.
HostPapa was one of the first web hosts to venture into the green hosting space by purchasing and using renewable energy certificates. But that’s only half as far as other companies have ventured since:
- GreenGeeks is recognized as one of the most eco-friendly web hosting services in the world. They purchase triple their power use in Renewable Energy Certificates, and if that wasn’t altruistic enough, they’ve got a global tree-planting project underway.
- Kualo Web Hosting servers are powered entirely by renewable energy from wind farms and other green sources in the UK. They’ve gone completely paperless, too, and their employees can stay home rather than use gas to commute.
- A2 Hosting has committed to recycling old hardware rather than adding it to a landfill. Around 2.3 million pounds of greenhouse gas have been neutralized through their efforts.
Since these companies have experienced raging popularity and success, I have no doubt we’ll begin to see more green hosting solutions in the near future.
Evolved Data Centers
“The amount of data created, captured, copied, and consumed worldwide is expected to grow from around 59 zettabytes (ZB) in 2020 to around 149 ZB in 2024.” That’s according to Statista – and if it’s a correct prediction, then the data centers of 2023 are going to look a lot different than in the past.
Up until recently, we were used to the traditional data center; the on-site, brick-and-mortar building filled with servers managed by the internal IT team. But this is gradually being replaced with cloud hosting and, more specifically, managed cloud services.
Managed cloud services are hosted by an off-site third-party provider – think Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure – rather than the company’s internal IT team. And they come with a host of benefits; improved scalability, reduced costs, and optimized performance, to name but a few.
We’re also seeing greater security measures being put into place. With cloud computing comes a heightened security risk as data is placed into the public domain. The cloud hosting providers of 2023 will be expected to have adopted advanced measures such as encryption and identity access management (IAM) to protect user data.
Better Website Building Tools
I still remember when web hosts and builders were quite rudimentary; you could customize them if you wanted to, but it was a laborious process. It’s truly impressive to see the leaps and bounds we’ve made in just a few short years.
Today, web hosting providers offer ever-more intuitive website-building tools to make the process of creating a website easier and faster than ever before. We’re also seeing more and more AI-powered tools that are designed to help even complete beginners create stunning websites with minimal effort.
For example, Wix now has a feature called Wix ADI which stands for ‘Artificial Design Intelligence.’ The user simply answers a questionnaire and their website is designed for them in around 3 minutes based on AI suggestions.
Web hosts like Zyro take things a step further by offering more AI capabilities; users can generate copy for each of their webpages using Zyro’s AI Writer. Not only that, but users can pretty much design their entire business using AI – logo, business name, slogan, and blog titles.
I feel as though fully AI-powered web hosting will become the expectation rather than the exception in the year ahead.
HTTPS Is An Expectation
A cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds, so more web hosting services are taking security protocols seriously. No company wants a data breach on its hands. HTTPS ensures that all data exchanged between a website and its visitors is encrypted, making it difficult for hackers to intercept the information.
It may surprise you to know that, until recently, HTTPS was a nice-to-have – not an expectation. 81.2% of all websites now default to HTTPS for the added layers of security, however. It’s finally becoming the norm, and it’s likely that we’ll see this figure rise closer to 100% by 2023.
AI/ML-Powered Hosting Services
Since Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have become intertwined with most industries on the planet, it will come as no surprise to you or me that they are now being used in the web hosting industry too.
AI and machine learning are now being used in the web hosting industry in a variety of ways – from dynamic scaling, performance optimization, security hardening, and cost reduction.
On the security side of things, web hosts can now use predictive analytics to detect anomalies that may indicate an attack. This can be done by monitoring and analyzing the behavior of a user or system in real-time and then flagging any suspicious activity – all without human intervention.
For example, tools like Sophos Intercept X or Symantec Endpoint Security use machine learning so that their security systems adapt to the behavior of threats over time, becoming increasingly effective. We can expect web hosting sites to begin launching their own in-house versions of this variety of tool.
Onwards and Upwards
It’s easy to feel optimistic moving into 2023; there are plenty of intelligent, mindful, and efficient changes being made to the web hosting industry, and these are sure to benefit each of us in some way.
Keep an eye on the latest hosting trends as we enter the new year, and be sure to take advantage of the improved services – you never know just how much they could help your business!