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 CompanyHostnames Jan 2015Hostnames Feb 2015+/- Change% ChangeNew SitesGained from Comp.Expired SitesLost to Comp.
Love Cloud590,8697,036,988+6,446,119+1,090.961,904,0464,968,560415,84010,647
Enzu, Inc.42,893,07148,695,656+5,802,585+13.5314,326,1254,652,2279,330,3883,845,379
OVH Net35,523,60336,055,987+532,383+1.50793,289291,136482,63069,412
CloudFlare, Inc.2,923,5323,395,029+471,497+16.13161,294414,71963,26341,253
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

do-detail-loss Top Losses
do-detail-gain Top Gains
do-detail-breakdown 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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