Investing in Web Hosting

Nearly everyone needs some kind of online presence these days. Over its short lifetime, the Internet’s already become an integral part of human existence. It is now almost impossible to imagine the world without it, yet one of its defining aspects goes nearly unnoticed. We all see websites – every day we browse through dozens, if not hundreds, of them, but what makes this possible? What is behind them?

The answer is the web hosting market and its key component – the datacentres. It is estimated that, currently, the global network consists of 260 000 000 sites. Of these, 60%, that’s 156 000 000 sites, do not have a properly functioning website.

What’s more, the number of websites is only expected to grow. In the next four years, we can expect to see another 26 000 000 sites. All of them must be hosted somewhere: on some hardware, on some software, in some location.

The web hosting market currently generates an annual income of 9 to 10 billion dollars worldwide, and is growing rapidly. For this reason, tech companies are investing billions of dollars in new and existing datacentres.

For example, let’s consider the case of Ireland, probably the fastest growing market in Europe. In the next year, it’s expected that investment in datacentres will exceed 2 billion dollars, including such era-defining companies as Google (150 million), Facebook (800 million), Microsoft (900 million), Apple (1 billion), and Amazon (1 billion).

Impressive numbers? Yet you need to remember two things: First, even combined, the big web hosting companies such as GoDaddy, BlueHost or OVH do not take up more than 15% of the web hosting market. They may be Internet Giants, but they are still drowning in a sea of medium and small businesses that are operating locally.

The other point – the true weak point of the web hosting industry – is that the investment primarily goes to the hardware vendors. It’s true, investment in software is yet in its infancy.

Of course, the Internet Giants themselves are investing massively in their own software systems and user-friendly interfaces, but the majority of the market, the 85% we rarely hear about, do not spend a single cent on software. They may currently be content with hardware vending, yet, in spite of all the investments by Google, Microsoft, Apple and all the other major players, this could soon change.

They all need software that anyone, regardless of their level of proficiency, can simply pick up and use with a minimum of background knowledge. Of course, they have the free C-Panel that is almost standard nowadays, but it needs extensive technical knowledge in order to be workable.

This is what we want to change with our Jaaz Portal technology. This is software that will automate every stage of the web hosting business – from the creation, through to the management of the site, to the billing process. Everything in a single, unified, web interface that’s so simple and convenient the average blogger or user of social networks can operate it with a minimum of instruction.

Unlike other players, we do not want to develop this system for only our customers, for only our personal use. No. We want to share it with others. Any of these myriad of small and medium businesses looking to embrace the future of web hosting will be able to download and deploy it.

The software will be licensed in three versions: Personal, Community and Business Editions accompanied by the Free Edition available as Open Source.

We consider that our revolutionary product will quickly capture the imagination of these small and medium web hosting businesses and their customers. We believe we can open them up to the mass market, so far reserved only for the Internet Giants.

I’d just like to leave you with one more thing to think about. Increasing numbers of non-technical ventures, such as traditional media outlets, are looking towards web services and, in particular, the web hosting market. They are losing their readers and advertisement base and now are looking to explore fresh markets and new horizons.

One such example is the Washington Post, which has recently launched a web hosting initiative. We believe that this media outlet is merely the forerunner of a game-changing new trend, and more and more newspapers will become interested in this lucrative market. Of course, they can develop their own web interfaces and systems, but they can also license Jaaz Portal...