The Fall of Microsoft Web Hosting — Will The Change Affect Small Businesses?

15 years ago, Avalon was one of the first to offer web hosting services on Microsoft technologies. Ever since Windows NT OS, Microsoft has been known for being a serious player in the web hosting arena. Back then, Avalon witnessed an almost 50/50 market share ratio between Microsoft IIS and Linux Apache web sites.

In the following years, the biggest underdog in tech, as they call it today, Microsoft has been overthrown from its 90s’ dominance by Apple and Google. Omitting the adaptation to new ways consumers use computer products, Microsoft has failed to make extensive changes in the technology space, one of which was mobile.

As for the web hosting technologies, nothing much has changed since the departure of Steve Ballmer (the former CEO). Luckily, Ballmer decided to do jobs that suit him better, leaving room for Satya Nadella whose first moves caused a significant turn in the philosophy of the sleeping and ignorant Microsoft. He decided to make Microsoft a productivity and platform company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world.

Photo by Matthew Busch, Bloom

However, we soon witnessed Microsoft’s complete upheaval to enterprise users, greatly focused on its public cloud platform — Microsoft Azure. It seems that the company has almost completely forgotten small users and businesses that were eager to get simple and integrated web hosting services. Today, we can see average web hosting users (whose websites have been created in ASP and ASP.NET) feeling a bit abandoned and disappointed. No wonder they have searched and found another solution — Linux web hosting.

Compared to 15 years earlier, when the ratio was 50/50 in terms of web hosting technologies for small businesses, the picture is strikingly different nowadays: only 10% of our users still use Microsoft development environment, while 90% users use some of Linux open source platforms — in most cases, LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and server side JavaScript environments, such as Node.js. Also, data from statistics provider Netcraft show that the number of active sites hosted on open source web server NGINX (pronounced Engine X) has exceeded the number hosted on Microsoft IIS.

Source: December 2015 Web Server Survey, Netcraft

There are also several other indicators of Microsoft’s crisis. Regardless of the positive feedback on Windows 10 OS, the research company Gartner presented some discouraging stats for PC shipments in 2015. Declining by 7.7% in the 3rd quarter, as explained by Gartner, the sales will continue to stay weak until 2017. One of the reasons for this downfall is caused by the rise of smartphones and tablets.

So Long Microsoft, Welcome Linux!

By turning its back on small businesses by focusing on enterprise clients in web hosting technologies, Microsoft has (unintentionally) created an even bigger space for Open Source Linux solutions. Performing abundantly on simple hardware, Linux’s reliable and safe functionalities provide all the important components needed for a flawless web hosting service, especially in the cloud environment. Thanks to its security, as well as its effective community of users and their support, Linux technologies have been THE solution for building and maintaining small businesses web sites. This applies to all development of web sites (from scratch) as well as using some of the popular open source CMS solutions such as WordPress.

By golly, I’m beginning to think Linux really *is* the best thing since sliced bread.
– Vance Petree, Virginia Power

Its reputation is built not only upon the high-class security level, but also upon its compatibility. Likewise, Windows ranks higher when it comes to cyber attacks and malware, which provides Linux users with a safer solution again. When it comes to performance, Linux is unbeatable. Furthermore, Linux is either free of charge or more affordable than Microsoft Operating System, which brings additional savings to more demanding web hosting users (VPS hosting licenses). It can go without (the annoying) rebooting for months, or even years. Also, its OS is less demanding, which provides a better uptime of the service than Microsoft Windows Server.

Unfortunately, for small business web hosting services — Microsoft is gone. After 15 years of support, Avalon will probably abandon the Microsoft web hosting platform and soon completely remove it from the hosting plans we offer. Things like low-quality control panel solutions, security and stability issues, lack of integration with other services, as well as an inconsistent user interface is not something we want to associate with our name and brand any longer. As for all our current Microsoft web hosting users, we will support the platform for as long as they use it.

You Deserve Better Web Hosting, and We Built a Perfect Solution For You!

Are you setting up your own business? Or perhaps you’re improving your current business. Either way, a week ago I introduced you to your first valuable investment in 2016.

Today, I’d like to steer your focus towards latest changes in technology (Microsoft vs. Linux) as the changes will, indeed, affect small businesses soon.

Avalon provides Linux hosting solutions for a small business that plans to integrate web, mobile and app in 2016, show off its impeccable website performance, and stand out among a thick competition. Moreover, we believe that we are a suitable partner for the kind of small business that is happy to follow the latest trends, happenings and changes; a friend to that business willing to fine-tune itself for the current tech flow.

Instead of waiting for preferable conditions, my advice is to adjust to the ongoing ones, to be the business chameleon that changes, reshapes and adapts on the go.

If you’re one of them, let’s connect!

This article was originally published at Avalon blog.

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