June 2006 Web Server Survey

The Internet experienced its strongest site growth ever last month, powered by a surge in blogs and free web sites. In the June 2006 survey we received responses from 85,541,228 sites, a gain of 3.96 million sites from the May report. This is the largest one-month increase in sites in the history of the Netcraft survey, surpassing a gain of 3.3 million in March 2003, although the 2003 gain was larger in percentage terms (8.5%, compared to 4.7% this month).

Microsoft continues to gain share in the web server market, chipping away at Apache's commanding lead. The number of hostnames on Windows servers grew by 4.5 million, giving Microsoft 29.7% market share, a gain of 4.25% for the month. Apache had a decline of 429K hostnames, and loses 3.5% to 61.25%.

Apache's lead over Microsoft, which stood at 48.2% in March, has been narrowed to 31.5%, a shift of 16.7% in just three months.

The largest movement of sites from Apache to IIS was once again at Go Daddy, with over 1.6M hostnames moving from Apache to IIS this month. While those parked domains were a major factor in Microsoft's gains, Windows also saw solid growth in active sites, hostnames that contain content and likely to represent developed web sites.

Blogging services enjoyed strong growth, paced by Google's Blogger, which added more than 660K hostnames. The global nature of the blogging phenomenon was seen in large increases in blogs hosted at Germany's Intergenia AG and Japan's Excite.co.jp, both of which run on Windows web servers. Windows servers also got a boost from Microsoft's Office Live service, as it began to open its beta offering to more users.

Apache's loss of hostnames is due to decreases for Linux at a number of hosting companies. In addition to Go Daddy, six hosts reduced their use of Linux by 40K or more, including leading UK provider PIPEX Communications, Lycos and Zipa.

Total Sites Across All Domains August 1995 - June 2006

Total Sites Across All Domains, August 1995 - June 2006

Graph of market share for top servers across all domains, August 1995 - June 2006

Top Developers
DeveloperMay 2006PercentJune 2006PercentChange

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Most sites ready for SSL progress

Despite the enormous success of SSL for securing web traffic, there has been little technical change in the way that SSL is used for secure HTTP in the ten years since SSL version 3 was introduced. Although it has been around since 1996, most browsers have continued to make connections compatible with the older SSL version 2 protocol. But now the major browser developers are aiming to drop SSL v2 completely; export-grade encryption ciphers are also to be dropped.

SSL version 2 was supported by Netscape 1.0, back in 1994, and it was made obsolete by SSL version 3, published in 1996. But while SSL version 3 was soon widely supported — and over 97% of HTTPS sites also support its successor, TLS — most browsers have continued to make SSL-v2-compatible connections, in order to stay compatible.

The Mozilla project first suggested disabling support for SSL v2 a year ago, and now also plan to drop weak ciphers. Internet Explorer 7 will disable support for SSL v2, and IE on Windows Vista will not support weak ciphers. And Opera version 9 will disable SSL v2 and weak ciphers.

Up until a year ago, when developers began talking about dropping SSL v2, there were still significant numbers of sites that only supported SSL v2. But server operators have got the message now. Out of the top 20,000 SSL sites (as ranked by users of the Netcraft Toolbar), only 20 sites (0.1%) require SSL version 2. This is reflected across the wider survey, with around 0.1% of sites requiring SSL v2.

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Cogent Network Outages Affect Some Sites

Network services provider Cogent experienced network outages this morning, which reportedly caused broader availability problems for web sites and networks that rely on Cogent for connectivity. Traffic on major backbones appears to have returned to normal.

Cogent's network spans 29,500 miles of fiber and connects with 1,750 networks in major U.S. markets. Our monitoring of Cogent's business web site (cogentco.com) shows a brief outage this morning:

Cogent web site performance

A dynamically updating chart of Cogent's web site performance is available. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides similar charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

Melbourne IT Buys WebCentral in Australian Merger

Domain reseller specialist Melbourne IT said today that it will acquire WebCentral Group for $61 million (about $45.7 million in U.S. dollars), combining two of Australia's most prominent Internet service providers. The deal is the latest in a flurry of acquisitions in the past month as consolidation accelerates in the web hosting and domain industries.

Melbourne IT manages domain names purchased by customers of Yahoo Small Business and Microsoft's new Office Live hosting service, along with many other hosting providers. WebCentral is Australia's largest hosting company as measured by active sites, with 25.8K sites. The deal continues a trend in which domain registrars and web hosts have expanded into one another's specialties.

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VeriSign To Buy GeoTrust, Combining Top SSL Providers

VeriSign, Inc. will acquire its leading competitor in the market for SSL certificates, GeoTrust Inc., for $125 million in cash, the two companies said today. The deal will solidify VeriSign's dominant position in the market for SSL certificates, which are used to secure web sites for Internet e-commerce. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the second half of this year, the companies said.

SSlMarket2.pngVeriSign certificates secure approximately 45 percent of the SSL-enabled sites on the Internet, while GeoTrust certificates are found on 27 percent, according to Netcraft's SSL Survey, which provides detailed analysis of trends in the SSL market. The companies have both announced their support for a new tier of high-security SSL certificates for e-commerce sites, expected to be introduced later this year.

This is the second time VeriSign has acquired its primary competitor in the SSL certificate market. In December 1999 VeriSign paid $575 million to buy Thawte, a South African company that gained popularity by selling certificates at lower prices. At the time the deal was announced, Thawte had a 38.5 percent share of all SSL-enabled sites, to 49 percent for VeriSign - meaning the deal gave VeriSign nearly 88 percent market share.

GeoTrust has been the strongest performer in the SSL market over the past several years, supported by a network of more than 9,000 resellers in 140 countries, including many of the world's major web hosting companies. That reseller channel will complement VeriSign's direct-sales SSL business, currently serving more than 3,000 enterprises worldwide.

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Blue Security Shuts Down, Citing DDoS Attacks

The founder of Blue Security says it has shut down its anti-spam service, citing the impact of powerful DDoS attacks on its web site that began in late April. "After recovering from the attack, we determined that once we reactivated the Blue Community, spammers would resume their attacks." the company said on its web site. "We cannot take the responsibility for an ever-escalating cyber war through our continued operations."

When Blue Security's web site was hit by a distributed denial of service attack attack (DDoS) on May 1, the company temporarily repointed www.bluesecurity.com to a blog on Six Apart's TypePad service. The DDoS shifted to the TypePad blog, knocking all of Six Apart's web sites offline for eight hours. The attacks also caused caused network outages for Tucows, which provided Blue Security's DNS service.

Blue Security's web site was unavailable for an extended period on Sunday and Monday, and again this morning, as shown on this performance chart:


A dynamically updating chart of Blue Security's web site performance is available. Netcraft offers a web site performance monitoring service that provides similar charts, along with e-mail alerts when an outage occurs.

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