The web hosting industry has seen many acquisitions over the past five years, with several major players acquiring smaller companies to expand their services, customer base, and geographical reach. Web hosting mergers are worth paying attention to because you can start to understand who holds some of the biggest market share in the industry. Those industry leaders are often leading the way in new offerings (and trends, if you will) that you will want to keep up with if you offer similar services. You can start to see the direction that web hosting companies are starting to focus on based on the type of companies they acquire and how they change their strategy. With that being said, here are some of the most impactful web hosting acquisitions over the last five years:
WP Engine acquires Flywheel
In 2019, WP Engine, a leading managed WordPress hosting company, acquired Flywheel, a popular WordPress hosting provider. The acquisition helped WP Engine expand its customer base and product offerings, while also increasing its position in the managed WordPress hosting market. According to WP Engine, “[The acquisition of Flywheel is] enhancing the WP Engine platform for WordPress with the best creative and business workflows for agencies, building upon their collective investments and leadership in WordPress and creating the largest Agency Partner Program in WordPress. These benefits are all driven by a shared set of cultural values and purpose aimed at better serving the global brands and agencies who build sites on WordPress.”
Liquid Web acquires Nexcess
In 2019, Liquid Web, a web hosting and managed cloud services provider, acquired Nexcess, a company that specializes in Magento and WooCommerce hosting. The acquisition helped Liquid Web expand its portfolio of products and services, while also gaining expertise in e-commerce hosting. Liquid Web says, “Nexcess is the premier eCommerce hosting provider for SMBs, and this union gives [us] access to more scale and capital to continue growth for the long term. With the combination of our two companies and strong expertise in Magento, WordPress and WooCommerce, Liquid Web and Nexcess will now be able to further develop the product and open source platform capabilities that SMB customers and their developers have been asking for.”
Hostinger acquires 000webhost
In 2020, Hostinger, a web hosting company that provides affordable hosting solutions, acquired 000webhost, a free web hosting service. The acquisition helped Hostinger expand its customer base and offer a wider range of hosting solutions to its users. It seems that Hostinger is the major powerhouse behind all of 000webhost’s services, that have now pivoted to offering affordable (or cheap) web hosting services instead of being a purely free service. A lot of their offerings are still limited compared to more pricey companies, but Hostinger primarily saw this as a way to acquire more customers.
In conclusion, these web hosting acquisitions have had a significant impact on the hosting industry over the past 5 years. Whether it demonstrated that web hosting companies needed more manpower, strategized for growth, or attempted to become the largest player in their niche, these 3 acquisitions have proven to be influential in web hosting news. As this industry continues to evolve, we can expect to see more acquisitions in the years to come with more long term impacts in terms of trends.