Hosting Provider Switching Analysis

Netcraft has developed a technique to identify 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.

Many sites’ location will be unchanged, but some will have moved from one hosting provider to another during the course of the month. Additionally, hosting companies may gain new sites that were not previously found by the survey, and lose expired sites which are no longer present in the internet’s DNS.

Analysing this information in the aggregate 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.

Excerpts from January 2015 to February 2015

Hosting Company Hostnames Jan 2015 Hostnames Feb 2015 +/- Change % Change New Sites Gained from Comp. Expired Sites Lost to Comp.
Love Cloud 590,869 7,036,988 +6,446,119 +1,090.96 1,904,046 4,968,560 415,840 10,647
Enzu, Inc. 42,893,071 48,695,656 +5,802,585 +13.53 14,326,125 4,652,227 9,330,388 3,845,379
Amazon 20,977,768 22,794,702 +1,816,934 +8.66 1,519,993 1,603,994 443,458 863,595
DigitalOcean 2,300,542 3,303,003 +1,002,461 +43.57 755,655 377,181 46,007 84,368
OVH Net 35,523,603 36,055,987 +532,383 +1.50 793,289 291,136 482,630 69,412
CloudFlare, Inc. 2,923,532 3,395,029 +471,497 +16.13 161,294 414,719 63,263 41,253
Linode 2,410,339 2,416,883 +6,544 +0.27 140,238 77,141 56,556 154,279

Using the dataset, a hosting company can see both where their new business came from, and the providers to whom it has lost business. One can also see the site switching information for any of the top thousand hosting providers on the internet.

DigitalOcean – Major Losses & Gains Feb 15


Top Losses


Top Gains


Detailed View

Data Trends and Themes

  • Pure domain registrars are natural losers of sites, as parked sites will eventually either be deployed or allowed to lapse. However, it is possible for a domain registrar to gain sites from other domain parking systems as domain owners may choose to switch registrar when renewing their domain. One of the largest gainers presently is Go Daddy, as people renew parked domains at a cheaper registrar.
  • The most likely explanation for a large and unexpected move is a single large shared hosting system moving from one infrastructure provider to another. Users can drill in on these to obtain a more detailed view of the moves based on DNS as shown.


  • Only sites found by the Web Server Survey will be included. The number of hosts found worldwide running internet web sites by the Web Server Survey is large [over 876 million in January 2015], but is not exhaustive.
  • Attributing a site to a hosting location requires successful DNS lookup on a site’s ip address. If a DNS lookup fails then the hosting location will be unknown to us.
  • All sites are considered equal in this analysis. Netcraft provides a view of hosting company market share within the Million busiest web sites as determined by accesses from users of the Netcraft Anti-Phishing Extension.

More Information

The dataset is updated on a monthly basis and is available on a company license basis.

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