United Internet is most likely the largest hosting company in the world, and since United Internet is a public company I decided to take a look at their 2008-2011 end of year summaries.
[disclaimer - I'm still learning how to read these reports, so I apologize for any mistakes. ]
Total Hosting Contracts. Keep in mind they use this term to identify any contract, so it doesn’t mean customers. Especially post 2009 when they switched the term to application contracts (which is a smart move given they are really a saas platform that introduces themselves to customers through a website proposition).
2008 – 3.62 Million
2009 – 4.14 Million
Customer breakdown out of the 2009 number:
Germany 1.95 Million (47%)
UK 1 Million (24%)
France 0.26 Million (6%)
USA 0.82 Million (20%)
Spain 0.11 Million (3%)
*This is interesting as I didn’t know they were so huge in Germany but not quite so big in the USA.
After 2009 they switched to measuring this per application contracts instead of “customer contracts”, which inflates the number a bit…
2009 – 5.65 Million Fee Based Contracts
2010 – 6.13 Million
2011 – 6.59 Million
2007 – 3,954
2008 – 4,565
2009 – 4,571
2010 – 5,018
2011 – 5,593 (3,701 of those for the hosting/app group)
2008 – 65,000
2009 – 67,000
*After that nothing mentioned.
A couple interesting points:
1. For 2011 out of their “Application” aka hosting / software group their profit margins were 25%. For 2010 they were around 34% (ebita).
2. They describe a lot of their internal hosting setup in these releases. For example they split their hosting setup into frontend servers and backend storage. And in the last couple years have moved to spread these over multiple data centers so that if one goes lights out the other should serve their clients pages (although a few glitches in this in 2011 it appears).
3. In 2011 34.7% of the entire companies gross revenue came from the Applications / Hosting group. It grew 7% over the previous year on a financial basis.
4. The only hosting acquisition I could find was their purchase of FastHost’s assets from Dollamore Ltd in 2008. You can find more on that sale here.
5. In 2011 the Applications / Hosting Group of the company generated around ~$874 Million dollars. Making them the largest hosting company in the world to my knowledge. With EIG/GoDaddy a close second and third.
You can download the reports here. Google search for the year + Annual Financial Report United Internet.