5 New Hosting Features We Take For Granted

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Web hosting has come on in leaps and bounds over the last five years.

Some of the features we enjoy today were highly unusual in the last decade.

Let’s take a nostalgic look at some of the key improvements to hosting packages in recent years.

1. IMAP Email

Until recently, hosts favoured POP3 email. It was very unusual for a host to allow a customer to store email on a server.

IMAP is more taxing for the host, so most simply didn’t allow it.

Today, if your host doesn’t provide IMAP access, it’s a likely sign they are way behind the times.

2. PHP Support

PHP has been around since 1995, but it took around 5 years to become a common feature of hosting accounts.


  • PHP didn’t really take off until version 4.0, which was released in 2000. Version 4.0 was a huge improvement in terms of efficiency and its security.
  • Hosts didn’t want to take the risk of using a new language that was unproven.
  • Perl was fairly widely supported as an alternative.

But then came the CMS, and WordPress in particular. Hosts needed PHP to offer some of the most common scripts on the web.

Now PHP rules the roost; Perl has all but disappeared.

3. High Bandwidth and Storage

A decade ago, bandwidth and storage were astronomically expensive.

Today, hosting accounts offer terabytes of bandwidth and gigabytes of storage. It used to be more common to see storage measured in megabytes and transfer in gigabytes (if you were lucky).

Resources are now cheaper, and sites are also more demanding. Hosts have had to keep up.

4. MySQL

Like PHP, it took some time for MySQL to become stable and established. That happened around 2003 with version 4. And, funnily enough, it made the ideal companion for PHP, so the two evolved at around the same time.

As customers demanded CMS scripts, databases became a necessity and MySQL came into its own.

5. 24/7 Support

In the past, hosts didn’t tend to offer comprehensive support. Fewer customers meant less demand. The best you’d get, if you were lucky, was an emergency number.

Over time, the added costs of keeping front-line personnel on hand was minimal. Most hosts just added support as a logical progression.

How Hosting Has Changed

Technology has improved, resources have increased and costs have come down. All of these things work in our favour. It’s easy to forget just how primitive hosting was not too long ago.

And over the next 10 years, we might be surprised at the way web hosting evolves.

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