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Search for free website hosting surges as economic downturn bites

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Combined search for free website builders and free web hosting is at its highest in almost two years as people come to terms with the cost-of-living crisis and wider economic downturn.

From May to June 2022 alone, the search volume for free web hosting doubled, with there also being a sharp increase in the number of people looking for free website builder services.

This is reflected in the number of site visits some of the top web hosting and website builder services have received. 

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The shift towards free web hosting 

There is also some evidence to suggest this shift may have been playing out over a number of years.

According to data shared exclusively with TechRadar Pro by Similarweb (opens in new tab), GoDaddy has lost roughly 20 million site visits in the last two years while cheap web hosting provider Namecheap gained around eight million.

It’s not just GoDaddy that has taken a hit; popular hosting providers such as Bluehost and HostGator also experienced a significant drop in website visitors from May 2019 to May 2022.

Along with Namecheap, affordable hosting provider Hostinger also saw an increase in site visits as monthly visits increased steadily from just over two million in 2019 to 8.2 million in 2022.

Interestingly, the search for cheap web hosting took a significant drop in June 2022 as free web hosting became an increasingly popular search. Although, in the last twelve months, there has been a 30% increase in the number of searches for cheap web hosting, a 44% increase in the search for cheap website hosting and a 20% increase in the search volume for cheap website builders.

Last year, our research found that web hosting and website builder traffic slumped post-COVID. Coupling the damage from the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has magnified the slowdown in the global economy, which is entering what could become a protracted period of feeble growth and elevated inflation, according to the Word Bank’s statistics, which is reflected in the shift in web hosting needs from online users. 

Abigail Opiah
Abigail Opiah

Abigail is a B2B Editor that specializes in web hosting and website builder news, features and reviews at TechRadar Pro. She has been a B2B journalist for more than five years covering a wide range of topics in the technology sector from colocation and cloud to data centers and telecommunications. As a B2B web hosting and website builder editor, Abigail also writes how-to guides and deals for the sector, keeping up to date with the latest trends in the hosting industry. Abigail is also extremely keen on commissioning contributed content from experts in the web hosting and website builder field.