If you’re one of the biggest web hosts in the world—especially if you just earned a new ranking—you’re going to get a lot of press. For example, DigitalOcean just got ranked as the second biggest host around the globe, and it’s also the fastest growing provider of cloud infrastructure. That’s pretty impressive, and earned the host kudos on Netcraft. Last year, this host was the third biggest in the world, focused on “simple hosting” and specifically serving software developers. “We concentrate on providing individual software developers with a fantastic user experience to empower them to build and scale web applications,” DigitalOcean’s Ben Uretsky told Netcraft. However, there’s an issue in this industry that doesn’t impact many others: Money (or lack thereof).
Web hosting (when you’re just talking about web hosting) isn’t like most other industries. Let’s take a look at big box stores for example. Ask anyone why they go to Wal-Mart instead of their local mom and pop shop, and the answer is usually more selection and lower prices. With web hosting, there are a few variances but for the most part every web host provides similar types of hosting options. Hosting is also a highly competitive market, and there’s a bevy of free and/or very low cost options available. When you take choice and price out of the equation, as you must with web hosting, what are you left with?
What Really Matters
For DigitalOcean, they’re really pulling ahead by focusing on a market that other providers aren’t explicitly serving: software developers. “That’s why we don’t consider big names such as Amazon Web Services to be a competitor,” explains Uretsky. The company has only been around since 2011, quickly shooting to the top of their market—because they focused on a niche (albeit a big, lucrative one). They make innovation simple and they cater to developers in the tools that matter to them: Applications.
DigitalOcean is growing at breakneck speed, already announcing a third massive data center slated for Frankfurt. This will be their tenth data center in the world. They have added 1,000 servers to their company since launching and get about 100 new customers each day. However, if you’re not a software developer, this doesn’t mean much to you. The reality is that everyone with a website needs a web host that caters to them.
Get Your Pampering
DigitalOcean isn’t doing anything that many smaller, boutique web hosts aren’t. What you get at smaller web hosting companies is the kind of personalized service you deserve. Big companies don’t “need” your business, so they won’t work for it. They might get you tangled up in a customer automation maze, not be available around the clock and not take the time to explain things in laymen’s terms. Web hosts are aware that their industry is confusing for anyone outside of it, and they can either take the time to educate their customers—or not.
With smaller or niche web hosts, you get all the hospitality of a mom and pop store but the convenience and pricing of a big box store. It’s the best of both worlds, and yet not a lot of people seek out smaller companies. A little research can go a long way, and you don’t know how much quality hosting matters until you’re in a tough spot.