The Monopolization of Internet Web Hosting Access

 
Have you ever wondered what’s in the future of Internet access – your ability to reliably gain access to the Internet with your own personal or business website – when an increasing number of popular web hosting companies are gobbled up by one giant owner? Have you ever considered how this trend adversely impacts the ability to communicate online?

Endurance International website image.

Endurance International website image.

The issue came quickly to reality last year when Hostgator, the enormous low-priced hosting company, was bought from its founder Brian Oxley by Endurance International Group, a private equity company located near Boston. Customers discovered changes practically overnight – web hosting resources suddenly were limited, online service slowed, and both customer and technical service were less responsive, less helpful.

Private equity companies exist to acquire other companies, reorganize them to wring out greater profits, layoff staff and reduce overhead for the singular purpose to realize greater profits.

Endurance International has quietly grown to become “one of the world’s largest website hosting companies,” according to Wikipedia. It’s a billion dollar company. They control approximately 50 web hosting companies – including Bluehost, FatCow, and Hostgator – with more than 3-million customers and 10 million online domains. Endurance International is reportedly owned, in part, by Goldman Sachs.

Website hosting is made profitable in several ways … and none of the options benefit customers -

  1. Crowding hosting servers with too many accounts which often results in slow website service.
  2. Limiting the power to host websites by restricting server CPU and memory resources.
  3. Cutting back on telephone customer service and tech support.
  4. Moving the jobs of customer and tech support off-shore, and/or
  5. Turning a blind eye to the lucrative business of providing Internet hosting access to the proliferation of pornography websites.

Whatever happened to all that idealistic talk about “democratization” of the Internet? Guess it was just a dream.

Web hosting servers.

Web hosting servers.

While there has been much political hand-wringing by politicians in Washington over the enormity of such companies as Apple and Google, we – as consumers and users – at least have alternatives to other options.

But, what’s the future of affordable, reliable and effective website hosting access when our ability to have a voice online through a website is under the thumb of a mega-conglomerate private equity outfit?

I wonder when Washington and other governments will wake-up to the monopolization of Internet hosting access … an ominous trend, with possible First Amendment implications, that is already expanding quickly. This, I believe, is an issue that mandates congressional and regulatory investigation.

(As an aside, I’ve found two web hosting companies – not owned by Endurance – that prohibit porn, and that enforced ban on porn is a big plus in my opinion for those companies. It demonstrates integrity. They are MDDHosting.com and Westhost.com.)

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  1. You have raised a serious concern that people should consider asking their elected representatives to look into. I want the internet to be free and open without government interference. That said, I do think the government has a role to play in ensuring that it does remain open and accessible to all. Monopolies in any area tend to limit and inhibit. A timely and important piece. Thank you!

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