Until recently, few accounts offered much more than 500 megabytes of storage. The huge storage allowances are more space than the vast majority of shared hosting sites will ever need, but are proving to have marketing value for comparison shoppers. The storage increases are one response to the appearance of discount providers offering full-featured shared hosting plans at $5 a month and lower, allowing hosts to add value to their plans without cutting prices and squeezing profit margins. Another factor is the storage arms race between webmail providers, sparked by Google’s introduction of 1 gigabyte of storage for its Gmail service this spring.
Hosting providers also continue to add features that will improve their competitive position. In today’s announcement, Go Daddy highlighted its addition of Microsoft’s ASP.Net scripting technology on its shared accounts. Go Daddy hosts only a small percentage of its sites on the Microsoft platform, but offering ASP.net differentiates it from Yahoo, which hosts its sites on the FreeBSD operating system and uses Perl and PHP as its scripting choices.