(WebHost Blog) Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere you probably heard about that volcano in Iceland that has wreaked havoc with air travel across Europe since mid-April when it erupted. It happens to be called the Eyjafjallajokull volcano (please don’t ask me to pronounce that though). If you haven’t seen photos of the eruption, you should definitely check out these photos of the volcano. It seems that the ash can enter the intakes of jet engines and cause them to fail. In checking up with a few hosting companies across the pond I heard from them that the volcano actually had a significant effect on website hosting in Europe as well. Here are the reasons why.
Reason Number 1: People aren’t buying web hosting when they are stuck in an airport in another country or city for a week.
Although you might not think that the number of travelers impacted by the complete shutdown of airline travel across the whole of northern Europe would be include a large subset of hosting buyers, the numbers argue otherwise. According to published reports, a total of more than 100,000 flights were canceled outright and the affected airlines are on track to lose more than $2 billion. So that’s 100,00 flights with a few hundred passengers each – you do the math. Therefore, none of those people were buying web hosting during that period, which generally lowered hosting sales for the time of the flight cancellations.
Reason Number 2: Businesses were scrambling to get their people back in their own city.
Compounding the problem of actual travelers
seeking transportation was the issue that businesses now had key people out of the office for overly-extended and unplanned periods. Those left in the office were also often involved in helping arrange accommodations or alternate travel for the stuck passengers. That means that they too weren’t conducting business as usual. This further reduced the web hosting buyers pool during the airline shutdown.
Reason Number 3: Web hosting companies buy servers, routers and switches that are flown in from other cities.
Web hosting companies were also impacted by the disruption in the supply chain for key equipment needed in fast growing hosting environments. For example, Dell has a large manufacturing facility in Ireland. Those servers are generally flown around the UK and into northern Europe as well. It wasn’t just commercial aircraft that were grounded – cargo planes were also halted. UK website hosting company 34SP.com purchases part of its inventory from the Dell factory. The company had recently stocked up on server inventory, but was monitoring the situation in case a need arose for alternative server supplies. While the flight disruptions didn’t last quite long enough to put the true hurt on hosting operations, or to cause prices to go up for available servers – a few more days or weeks of no inventory would have cost hosting firms real money. The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece about these supply chain disruptions for small businesses as well.
In the end, things returned to normal fairly quickly. This is great news for travelers and also the web hosting companies in Europe. Don’t get complacent though – the Eyjafjallajokull volcano could easily spring back to full eruption at any time. Plus, there are many other volcanoes out there that can produce world changing eruptions at any moment. Here’s a photo summary of a few of these actively erupting or recently erupting volcanoes on our planet. You may want to stock up on a few extra servers if you live near any of these volcanoes – just in case.