Host Service

from Internet Business

A World Wide Web 'home page'[1] has rapidly become the norm for individuals and organisations wishing to present themselves on the Internet. Most get to that point well before they are ready to have their own computers permanently connected to the Net or to run Web 'server' software on their computers. This has created a substantial market for Web host servers which can provide the fast permanent connection to the Internet, the virtually limitless storage, and the commercial Web server software which is needed so as to efficiently serve thousands of Web pages.

While Access Providers may offer the facility to host home pages as an optional extra for their clients, the increasing market share of specialised and high volume Access Providers is creating space for specialised Host Services. A market price of the order of hundreds of dollars per year is starting to become established for hosting home pages. Specialised Web Host Services typically also provide design advice and or design services to their clients. However, semi-automated systems for production of personal home pages have recently appeared and these should reduce further the 'expert hours' consumed servicing Host Service clients.

With the capital cost of online storage dropping below $1 per megabyte, and the average storage space requirements of Web pages remaining well under a megabyte[2] there is clearly a potential for high margins. The capital cost of setting up a basic Host Service is of order $50,000, with running costs of order $100,000 per annum.

In addition to private/corporate Web pages, a Host Service may provide an increasing range of other services, e.g. a mailing list server. At this early stage in the commercialisation of the Internet, some of the more general services can be better understood in terms of their main target areas of application.[3] Meanwhile, the scope of specialised services available on the Net is expanding rapidly to include anything from 'multicast' audio channels to international casinos.
[1] or more often a cluster of 'pages'

[2] for transmission time considerations

[3] Several of these are discussed in more detail in other sections of this paper.