At this time of year our thoughts turn to the past as we reflect on the events that have shaped our industry over the last 12 months, and to the future as we ponder how technology and markets will develop over the next year. It’s a cliché to say we’re at an exciting point in the history of the hosting industry. People always think that the events they are living through are particularly important, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that 2014 will bring major changes.
A New Domain Landscape
The final months of 2013 saw an explosion in the number of top-level domains, a development that will accelerate into 2014 as more applications clear the ICANN approval process. Opinions are mixed as to whether this is a good thing or not from a technical perspective, but there’s no doubting the opportunities new generic TLDs bring for registrars and web hosting companies. As clients seek to differentiate themselves with brand specific domains, we can expect to see a sea-change in the way that companies think about their online presence.
Servers Will Undergo Huge Changes
Throughout the year we’ve looked at many new technologies that will change the face of servers and the data centers that house them, including the upcoming 64-bit ARM-based microservers, and new storage technology and memory technology. While many of these aren’t going to hit the racks any time soon, we can confidently predict that microservers and servers with SoC’s optimized for specific tasks will be finding their way into data centers in the near future, changing the ways we think about architecting data centers and provisioning hardware.
It’s unlikely this one will have a wide impact over the next year: the submission for final consideration as a proposed standard won’t happen until the last quarter of 2014, but now’s the time that web hosting companies should be familiarizing themselves with the new HTTP 2.0 protocol and the various performance and security benefits it brings.
A Renewed Focus On Security And Encryption
2013 has been a year in which confidence in the security and privacy of data transmitted and stored on the Internet has taken some serious blows. The web hosting industry depends on the trust of online users and that trust is in short supply. We can expect to see providers adopting new technologies in an attempt to restore the trust of users and maintain the economic strength of the online ecosystem. It’s impossible to say whether we’ll see widespread adoption of SQRL, serious movement on FIDO, or even the implementation of across-the-board encryption of all data sent over the Internet, but it’s clear that a renewal of confidence is going to require some hard questions and serious answers.
Content Will Lead The Way
This is less a technical issue, and more to do with how companies market themselves. The web hosting industry is often rather more conservative than it should be when it comes to adopting new ways of communicating with users and spreading brand awareness. Some webhosting companies, like Digital Ocean and HostGator, are leading the way — creating valuable and high quality content for their potential clients.
We’d love to hear what your predictions for the webhosting industry are in the year ahead, so take a look in your crystal balls and drop us comment below.