Around 58% of British companies now have a Web site compared to 57% in the US. The findings are published in a new report by Ovum, "Web Hosting: Usage and Markets," which surveyed 5,100 user companies globally.
Report author, Christina Kasica said, "Upwards of 37% of companies in Western Europe with a Web site are using Web hosting.
That has enabled them to catch up with the US in terms of Web site ownership."
However, the worldwide Web hosting market is still immature, the report claims, and many companies are not ready for the Internet. Some 56% do not have a Web site and only 14% used external Web hosting.
Of the European companies with Web sites, as many as 70% spend less than £17,500 a year on Web hosting, compared with 83% in the US. At the high end, 13% of companies in Europe spend over £70,000 per year, while the figure is only 6% for those in the US.
By 2006, Ovum expects the global market for Web hosting to be worth £32.8bn, up from £7.2bn in 2001, and suggests that Web hosting offers the best value proposition for companies.
"There are two major factors. It is 50% cheaper than doing it yourself, and provides near bullet proof up time because that is what Web hosts are contracted to do," the report states.
Ovum warns against moving Web site hosting in house but recognises a strong do-it-yourself mentality among US organisations with 30% of companies intending to bring operations in house.
Ovum reminds users, "There is no such thing as perfection, but choosing a high-end provider can give you more guarantees than a local ISP providing you with a free Web site. It depends on your business needs, and the size of your budget."