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 December 2011 to January 2012

New Sites From Comp Expired Sites To Comp
OVH Net 22,384,671 22,688,508 303,837 1.36% 839,740 49.341 499,471 85.773
Google 18,494,694 18,969,401 474,707 2.57% 2,882,258 39,875 2,399,501 47,925
United Internet AG 15,993,218 16,295,510 302,292 1.89% 384,457 437,067 253,143 266,089
China Telecom 9,251,397 10,210,208 958,811 10.36% 1,257,251 142,351 245,373 195,418
Hetzner Online AG 7,592,924 8,866,908 1,273,984 16.78% 1,172,839 241,683 79,730 60,808
Leaseweb 6,369,058 6,601,288 232,230 3.65% 464,566 40,201 87,543 184,994
Rackspace 4,649,384 5,098,359 448,975 9.66% 459,660 260,620 202,824 68,481
SingleHop, Inc 3,807,367 4,312,539 505,172 13.27% 563,443 51,490 63,791 45,970
Amazon 3,731,448 4,259,015 527,567 14.14% 612,520 63,903 98,329 50,527

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.

Amazon – Major Losses & Gains Jan 12

Top Losses

Top Losses

Top Gains

Top Gains

Detailed View

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 182 million in October 2008], 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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