[Read this article in English]


Continue reading

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in May 2015

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
DNS Connect First
1 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.008 0.079 0.066 0.133 0.133
2 Datapipe Linux 0:00:00 0.017 0.085 0.012 0.024 0.032
3 Anexia Linux 0:00:00 0.017 0.633 0.088 0.176 0.176
4 CWCS Linux 0:00:00 0.017 0.188 0.104 0.186 0.187
5 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.030 0.179 0.064 0.129 0.129
6 INetU Windows Server 2008 0:00:00 0.038 0.098 0.068 0.199 0.404
7 Netcetera Windows Server 2012 0:00:00 0.038 0.056 0.081 0.161 0.161
8 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.047 0.186 0.030 0.062 0.180
9 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:17:02 0.051 0.156 0.064 0.127 0.128
10 Umbee Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.076 0.072 0.064 0.481 1.231

See full table

EveryCity had the most reliable website during May 2015, responding to all but two of Netcraft's requests. Since Netcraft began monitoring its site in April 2014, EveryCity has maintained a 100% uptime record. Besides SmartOS-based hosting, EveryCity also specialises in Solaris hosting on both SPARC and Intel platforms.

In second place is Datapipe, with just four failed requests to its website during May 2015. Two other companies had the same number of failures: Anexia and CWCS. Datapipe's impressively quick average connection time (0.012 seconds) gives it the edge in the tie-breaker, fending off both Anexia (0.088 seconds) and CWCS (0.104 seconds). Datapipe has data centres in key technology and financial hubs including New York, Silicon Valley, London, and Hong Kong.

Anexia (3rd place) and CWCS (4th place), both with four failed requests and both of which are based in Europe, differ in their focus: Anexia operates 58 data centres across the world, whereas CWCS concentrates on the UK market, owning two "state of the art" British data centres. Anexia announced in early May that it had become an official Debian mirror, providing support to the open-source project.

Making it into the top 10 for the first time since its monitoring began in February 2015, Umbee Hosting's website responded to all but a handful of Netcraft's requests. Umbee Hosting has five data centres, spread across three continents: two in the London region, two in metro New York, and one in Sydney.

Linux remains a popular choice amongst the top 10 hosting company websites, powering six. The use of SmartOS and FreeBSD brings up the total of UNIX-based operating systems to eight. The remaining two are powered by Windows Server 2008 and 2012.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.

Aliyun cloud growth makes Alibaba largest hosting company in China

Chinese cloud hosting company Aliyun is growing faster than ever, with more than 8,000 more web-facing computers found in the May 2015 survey than in April's. This growth has launched Aliyun's parent company, Alibaba Group, into position as the 4th largest hosting company in the world, as well as the largest in China.

This reflects a positive change in Aliyun's fortunes, whose earlier impressive growth had started to stagnate towards the end of 2013. However, growth later resumed in earnest, coinciding with Aliyun's partnership with rival cloud computing company Inspur in July 2014. The growth has continued ever since, with the largest absolute growth being seen between April 2015 and May 2015.


Aliyun now accounts for 38% of the web-facing computers hosted by Alibaba Group, while 44% are operated by HiChina, which was acquired by Alibaba in 2009. If the latest growth trends continue, Aliyun will soon account for the majority of web-facing computers at Alibaba.

All of the web-facing computers at Aliyun are located in China, which offers significant advantages for the local market. Hosting a website close to its end-users generally results in faster page loads, but increased reliability is the most crucial factor in this case. Connectivity between China and other countries is often slow, unstable or even blocked, making China the most practical location for hosting websites aimed at local consumers.

However, this also means that Aliyun would be a troublesome choice for any company that has a significant user base outside of China. This is exemplified by the following graph, which shows the performance and reliability of www.aliyun.com when accessed from the Netherlands:


This connectivity problem has so far proven to be insurmountable, and is likely to be a showstopper for most companies with customers outside of China. Unfortunately, this problem only seems to be getting worse: Nearly half of the requests made from the Netherlands over the past 20 days failed, whereas only 4% failed during a similar 20-day period in 2013.

Globally, Amazon continues to dominate the hosting arena with nearly three times as many web-facing computers as Alibaba Group. DigitalOcean recently usurped OVH Net to become the second largest hosting company. Amazon, DigitalOcean and Aliyun are all similar in that they provide relatively low-cost virtual servers, but Aliyun's growth is likely restricted by the impracticalities of using it to serve content outside of China.

Considering this rather significant restriction, it is impressive that Aliyun's current growth rate is almost on par with DigitalOcean's (in fact, Alibaba Group as a whole exceeded DigitalOcean's absolute growth in May 2015). This growth perhaps demonstrates the scale of the Chinese market, and if it were practical to use Aliyun to host websites for a global audience, Aliyun could well give Amazon a run for its money.

Amazon and DigitalOcean are likely to remain ahead for a fair while, particularly as they both provide a variety of hosting locations in several different countries. This gives customers flexibility over where a website can be hosted, providing not just performance benefits, but also regulatory ones — for example, German data protection laws limits where companies can store personal data, in particular making it unappealing to do so outside of Germany or the EU.

Amazon is perhaps still best known for its retail operations, but recently surprised some analysts by announcing that its Amazon Web Services segment is profitable. This segment generated sales of $1.57bn in the first quarter of 2015, and operating income of $265m, demonstrating that it can now operate without having to fall back on Amazon's other revenue streams.

Aliyun operates under a similar safety net, with its parent, Alibaba Group, having significant revenue from other business areas, including business-to-business trading via alibaba.com and an eBay-like consumer-to-consumer marketplace on taobao.com. Both Aliyun and Amazon Web Services have had opportunities to grow in this relatively risk-free environment, where – if necessary – they can be supported by the parent group's other business areas.

With this safety net in place, Aliyun is well placed to continue its growth within China, and could even contemplate adding datacenters abroad. Notably, its ability to invest in new datacenters is not likely to be a problem: Alibaba Group (NYSE:BABA) has a higher market capitalisation than Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Aliyun has already tried to attract foreign customers by offering support and site content in English, and aliyun.com also mentions that it is "preparing to support more languages to improve user experience". New customers must provide their phone number when creating an Aliyun account, which is verified by text message in the 23 supported countries. Customers in other countries can also register an Aliyun account by following a slower offline registration process.

However, any plans for global expansion could be scuppered unless Aliyun can solve the connectivity issues and also match the low prices offered by DigitalOcean, where the cheapest virtual machine costs only $5/month, including up to 1TB of data transfer. A somewhat-similar Elastic Compute Service instance at Aliyun (1-core, 512MB memory, 20GB storage, bandwidth limited to 3Mbps) costs ¥109/month, making it more than three times as expensive. This instance costs only ¥38/month if the customer chooses Aliyun's pay-as-you-go option for bandwidth (which would cope better with bursts of traffic), but this could work out far more expensive for heavy users — at ¥0.80 per GB of outbound public network traffic, 1TB of traffic would cost over $120 at Aliyun, whereas it is included in the price of DigitalOcean's $5 droplet.

May 2015 Web Server Survey

In the May 2015 survey we received responses from 857,927,160 sites and 5,281,889 computers. The number of sites detected increased by nearly 9M this month after two consecutive months of losses. The number of web facing computers also increased by 54k.

Microsoft had the largest growth of web sites, gaining more than one percentage point of market share. Apache, the current leader with a market share of 39.26%, remained stable. Nginx, however, experienced the largest loss amongst major web server vendors and consequently saw a small loss in market share.

Nginx is performing well within the million busiest sites, and when counting the number of web facing computers using the web server — being responsible for the largest growth in each category. Nginx gained just over 2k of the million busiest sites, giving it a market share of 21.64%. Almost 16% of nginx's market share (or 3.4% of the top million sites) in the top million busiest sites is due to CloudFlare. While nginx is used to serve requests at CloudFlare, they may be proxied to backend servers running other web servers. Nginx contributed over half of the total net gain of web facing computers this month, with an increase of 27,500 computers.

DigitalOcean recently became the second largest hosting company by the number of web facing computers, overtaking OVH. Apache, with 48% of publicly visible DigitalOcean computers, is the leading web server, closely followed by nginx with 45.5%.

As the remaining IPv4 address space dwindles, companies are more often resorting to the emerging transfer market to acquire additional IPv4 ranges — for example, DigitalOcean recently appeared as one of the leading inbound receivers of IPv4 addresses from transfers within the RIPE NCC Service Region. With prices expected to increase as IPv4 becomes a more valuable asset, the adoption of IPv6 could accelerate. Netcraft currently finds 740k IPv6 addresses, an increase of 25% compared to the same time last year.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperApril 2015PercentMay 2015PercentChange
Continue reading

Counting SSL certificates

The SSL/TLS protocol — used to protect sensitive communication across the internet — combines encryption with authentication, providing a private connection to the intended recipient. To achieve this, SSL certificates bind together a cryptographic key and a domain name, and are digitally-signed by a trusted certificate authority (CA). Commercial CAs compete to sell certificates to the general public and account for the bulk of the SSL certificates seen on the internet.

Netcraft's SSL Server Survey has been running since 1996 and has tracked the evolution of this marketplace from its inception — there are now more than one thousand times more certificates on the web now than in 1996. As CAs issue certificates, and most charge (or not charge) accordingly, the number of certificates issued becomes the natural unit of measurement. Our survey therefore counts valid, trusted SSL certificates used on public-facing web servers, counting each certificate once, even if used on multiple websites.


Two types of certificates make the distinction between counting sites and certificates most apparent: multi-domain certificates and wildcard certificates. These two types now account for almost a quarter of all certificates found.

  • Multi-domain certificates (or UCC certificates) use the Subject Alternative Name extension to specify additional hostnames for which this certificate is valid — CloudFlare uses this technique heavily, having dozens of unrelated sites share the same certificate.
  • Wildcard certificates are valid for all possible subdomains of a domain, for example *.netcraft.com would be valid for www.netcraft.com, host-a.netcraft.com, host-b.netcraft.com, etc. Our methodology counts a wildcard certificate once, no matter the number of sites for which it is valid.

Netcraft also counts certificates used by subdomains. For example, if foo.example.com, bar.example.com and baz.example.com are all using different SSL certificates, Netcraft will count all three certificates that have been issued.

Although the global SSL ecosystem is competitive, it is dominated by a handful of major CAs — three certificate authorities (Symantec, Comodo and GoDaddy) account for three-quarters of all issued SSL certificates on public-facing web servers. The top spot has been held by Symantec (or VeriSign before it was purchased by Symantec) ever since the survey began, with it currently accounting for just under a third of all certificates. To illustrate the effect of differing methodologies, amongst the million busiest sites Symantec issued 44% of the valid, trusted certificates in use — significantly more than its overall market share.

However, nothing ever stays still forever — Let's Encrypt could shake up the market for SSL certificates later on this year by offering free certificates with a simplified installation process. Whilst free certificates and automated tools are nothing new, the open approach and the backing of Mozilla, IdenTrust, the EFF, and Akamai could change the SSL ecosystem forever.

Beyond counting certificate numbers, Netcraft's SSL Survey also tracks the list and reseller prices of the most popular certificate authorities. This provides another useful market share metric, as it allows us to estimate the total monthly and annual revenue of each certificate authority attributable to public SSL issuance.

As each type of certificate — multi-domain, wildcard, or Extended Validation for example — is available at a distinct price point, the estimated revenue of a CA can vary significantly, despite initially appearing similarly sized by the total number of certificates. For example, GlobalSign comes in third-place when considering its estimated annual revenue (by list price) in 2014, despite accounting for approximately 6% of all currently valid publicly-visible SSL certificates.

For additional information or details on how to purchase Netcraft’s SSL Server Survey please contact us at sales@netcraft.com or visit our web site.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in April 2015

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
DNS Connect First
1 Datapipe Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.094 0.012 0.025 0.033
2 GoDaddy.com Inc Linux 0:00:00 0.004 0.106 0.009 0.170 0.170
3 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.009 0.076 0.069 0.136 0.136
4 Bigstep Linux 0:00:00 0.013 0.117 0.064 0.130 0.130
5 Netcetera Windows Server 2012 0:00:00 0.017 0.061 0.084 0.168 0.169
6 www.dinahosting.com Linux 0:00:00 0.017 0.182 0.088 0.177 0.177
7 Kattare Internet Services Linux 0:00:00 0.022 0.181 0.119 0.268 0.576
8 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.026 0.088 0.065 0.131 0.131
9 Codero Citrix Netscaler 0:00:00 0.026 0.175 0.096 0.200 0.396
10 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.030 0.229 0.066 0.130 0.132

See full table

Datapipe had the most reliable hosting company website in April, responding successfully to all of Netcraft's requests; Datapipe has now featured in the top ten for eight consecutive months, and has maintained 100% uptime over the last nine years. In April, Datapipe announced that it had become one of the first AWS Managed Service Provider Partners, certifying that Datapipe "[offers] proactive monitoring, automation, and management of their customer's AWS environment".

With just a single failed request, GoDaddy came in second place. GoDaddy, the world's largest registrar, recently listed on the New York Stock Exchange, bought the GDDY.com domain name to match its stock ticker symbol, and will announce its first quarter 2015 results on 12th May.

ServerStack came in third place in April, narrowly missing second place with just a single failed request separating it from GoDaddy. ServerStack provides managed hosting services to enterprises, targeting companies spending more than $10,000 per month on hosting. Its data centres are based in San Jose, New Jersey and Amsterdam.

Once again, Linux was the most popular operating system for hosting company sites, powering 7 of the top 10 websites. Windows Server 2012, SmartOS and Citrix Netscaler all appear once each.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around forty leading hosting providers' sites. The performance measurements are made at fifteen minute intervals from separate points around the internet, and averages are calculated over the immediately preceding 24 hour period.

From a customer's point of view, the percentage of failed requests is more pertinent than outages on hosting companies' own sites, as this gives a pointer to reliability of routing, and this is why we choose to rank our table by fewest failed requests, rather than shortest periods of outage. In the event the number of failed requests are equal then sites are ranked by average connection times.

Information on the measurement process and current measurements is available.