November 2017 Web Server Survey

In the November 2017 survey we received responses from 1,819,412,110 sites and 6,893,323 web-facing computers, reflecting a gain of 4.17M sites and 6,961 computers.

This month’s web server survey saw Microsoft’s market share amongst all sites fall by 12.64 percentage points due to a loss of 228M sites. Despite this, Microsoft still retains its place with the largest market share by this metric of 36.80%, with Apache trailing at 24.38%. The majority of the loss occurred at just one hosting provider where over 190M Microsoft sites were lost.

This change isn’t reflected in the active sites metric which only saw minor changes amongst the main web server vendors. Microsoft lost only 0.03 percentage points of its market share with a drop of 261k active sites. Apache leads in the active sites metric by a considerable margin, increasing its share slightly this month to 44.55%.

Amongst the top million busiest sites Microsoft experienced a small increase in market share, pausing its general decline in this market. nginx experienced the largest growth with an increase of 2,133 of the top million sites.

nginx also saw the largest increase in number of web-facing computers, gaining 25k and pulling 1 percentage point of market share clear of Microsoft, which it overtook last month. Apache also experienced a gain in computers, albeit smaller at just 7k. It remains considerably ahead with a 42.38% market share.

New gTLDs Seen for the First Time

This month the controversial new .search gTLD being run by Google’s Charleston Road Registry subsidiary was found for the first time, with responding to the survey. Google hopes it will be able to run .search as a dotless domain which will automatically redirect users to their search engine of choice. This proposal has been criticised for going against ICANN’s own rules, which prohibits this functionality due to the potential for conflicts with existing names on internal networks. This feature could also cause confusion for users who have come to expect that typing words into their address bar will perform a search query for that term.

It is currently uncertain whether or not Google will be allowed to run the .search TLD as a dotless domain, however with the launch of the first site on this TLD this month Google is one step closer to the provision of this service.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperOctober 2017PercentNovember 2017PercentChange
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Major update to Netcraft Anti-Phishing Extension for Firefox

An update to the Netcraft Anti-Phishing Extension for Mozilla Firefox is now available. This release replaces the Toolbar interface with a modern Button interface to sit alongside the browser's address bar.


The upcoming Firefox 57 — to be released on the 14th November — represents a major overhaul of the browser, and removes support for legacy XUL extensions. Future versions of Firefox will only support the new cross-browser WebExtensions API.

The Netcraft Anti-Phishing Extension (known then as the Netcraft Toolbar) was first made available for Internet Explorer in December 2004. A Firefox version followed in May 2005. The current button-style Anti-Phishing Extension was released for Google Chrome and the Opera browser in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The new extension enjoys a 4.5 star rating on the Google Chrome Store.

The Extension runs on any operating system supported by the desktop version of Mozilla Firefox and displays the hosting location, country, longevity, popularity, and an abstracted risk rating for each site visited. In particular its key features are:

  • Protection against phishing sites — The Netcraft anti-phishing community is effectively a giant neighbourhood watch scheme, empowering the most alert and most expert members to defend everyone within the community. As soon as the first recipients of a phishing mail report it, we can block it for all users of the extension providing an additional level of protection from Phishing. Netcraft processes reports of fraudulent URLs from a diverse variety of sources and proactively searches for new fraudulent sites.
  • Detailed site reports — simply click the Netcraft logo to access a wealth of information about the sites you visit, helping you to make informed choices about their safety.
  • Risk Ratings — we evaluate the characteristics of the site compared against those depicted by fraudulent sites. The result is a simple visual summary displayed on the site report.
  • Conveniently report suspected phishing & fraudulent sites — At the click of the button you can report suspected web forgeries to Netcraft, helping to protect the community. Netcraft operates an incentive scheme for Phishing site submissions, including iPads, backpacks, mugs, and more... Over 38.4 million phishing sites have been detected and blocked by Netcraft since the anti-phishing service was launched (November 2017).
  • Protection against cross site scripting (XSS) — The extension optionally traps XSS and other suspicious URLs which contain characters highly likely to deceive.

The Extension is available for download from the Firefox add-ons page and requires no special administrator privileges to install. Users of the existing Netcraft Anti-Phishing Toolbar will be upgraded automatically to the latest version.

Versions of the Extension are available for other browsers on the Google Chrome Store and Opera add-ons page.

Customised versions with corporate branding and navigation are also available.

Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in October 2017

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
DNS Connect First
1 Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.273 0.005 0.200 0.201
2 vXtream Ltd Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.137 0.058 0.117 0.117
3 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.088 0.060 0.126 0.126
4 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.119 0.063 0.125 0.125
5 Rackspace F5 0:00:00 0.000 0.161 0.074 0.150 0.150
6 Linux 0:00:00 0.004 0.192 0.038 0.108 0.108
7 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.004 0.216 0.066 0.132 0.132
8 Webair Linux 0:00:00 0.009 0.141 0.052 0.104 0.106
9 Memset Linux 0:00:00 0.009 0.144 0.062 0.234 0.362
10 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.009 0.106 0.066 0.305 0.306

See full table

ViaWest had the most reliable hosting company website in October 2017, successfully responding to all of Netcraft's requests with an average connect time of just 5 milliseconds. This is ViaWest's third appearance in the top-ten this year, and its first time in the number-one spot. ViaWest was acquired by Peak 10 Inc. in August, and now operates as the combined company Peak 10 + ViaWest. It boasts 40 data centers connected by a 100 Gigabit core network backbone.

vXtream and Hyve came in second and third respectively. Both sites successfully responded to all of Netcraft's requests, but vXtream clinched second place with a marginally quicker average connect time of 58 milliseconds. Both companies are on a top-ten streak: vXtream appearing every month since April, and Hyve appearing every month since February.

ServerStack and Rackspace also had no failed requests this month, placing fourth and fifth based on their average connect time. ServerStack's site has had a 100% uptime record over the past two years, and has appeared in Netcraft's monthly most reliable hosting company sites more than 40 times since 2012. Serverstack operates three data centers across the US and Europe, and offers a 100% uptime SLA.

Linux remains the most popular choice of operating system, with eight of this month's top-ten hosting companies using it. F5 and SmartOS also make an appearance.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around thirty 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.

October 2017 Web Server Survey

In the October 2017 survey we received responses from 1,815,237,491 sites and 6,886,362 web-facing computers, reflecting a gain of 10.2 million sites and 88,300 computers.

Web-facing computers: nginx takes second place from Microsoft

nginx made the largest gains in websites, active sites, and web-facing computers this month, as well as increasing its presence among the top million sites. Most notably, the additional 42,100 web-facing computers it gained has taken its total up to 1.55 million computers, putting it ahead of Microsoft for the first time.

Overtaking Microsoft means that nginx is now the second largest server vendor in terms of web-facing computers. With its remarkably consistent growth, nginx is likely to retain this newfound position for some time – not least because Microsoft's web-facing computer share has been on a general decline since 2010.

In the other metrics, nginx gained 18.4 million sites, 941,000 active sites, and slightly increased its share of the top million sites to 29.43%. It stays ranked in 2nd place within the top million sites and active sites, but 3rd in all sites.

While Microsoft's loss of 3,470 web-facing computers helped propel nginx into second place, it made more significant losses in other metrics – it lost 30.1 million sites this month, although this corresponds to a loss of only 85,500 active sites.

New releases

Apache 2.4.29 was released on 23 October. This security, feature and bug fix release represents the latest version of the current 2.4.x branch. As usual, it is recommended over all previous releases, but it is difficult to track how many website administrators take heed of this advice.

For instance, many Apache servers do not reveal via their Server headers or error pages which version has been installed, while others may have been updated with backported patches that do not affect the displayed version number. Consequently, a large number of Apache servers claim to be running older versions than they really are. Only 12.6% of the 341 million sites running Apache claim to be running a 2.4.x release, whereas the true proportion is likely to be much higher, given that almost two-thirds of Apache-using sites do not disclose any version number.

Apache continues to lead the market in terms of active sites and web-facing computers, where it has market shares of 44.5% and 42.3%. It also has the largest presence among the top million sites, with 386,000 of these using Apache.

Another new release this month was LiteSpeed Web Server 5.2.2 (stable), which was released on 17 October. This addresses a couple of bug fixes and improves compatibility with the latest version of the popular cPanel web-based control panel.

As well as its commercially supported LiteSpeed Web Server, LiteSpeed Technologies Inc also provides OpenLiteSpeed, which is freely available under the GPL version 3 licence. LiteSpeed is currently the 7th largest vendor in terms of hostnames and active sites: Nearly 11.5 million sites in the survey are powered by LiteSpeed, and 2.7 million (24%) of these are deemed to be active sites.

One of LiteSpeed's most prominent gains was made in November last year, when a large number of hostnames under the .science top-level domain switched to it from Taobao's Tengine web server. This caused LiteSpeed's market share of sites to leap from 0.39% to 3.29%, although it has since settled back down to 0.63%. Nonetheless, this is still noticeably larger than its share of web-facing computers, which currently stands at 0.17%.

nginx 1.13.6 (mainline) and nginx 1.12.2 (stable) were also released in October. Both releases consist solely of bug fixes.


Alongside the new releases of nginx, the homepage unusually announced the release of a different product this month: NGINX Unit 0.2 Beta.

NGINX Unit is a lightweight dynamic web application server designed to run applications written in Python, PHP, Go, JavaScript, Java and Ruby, although the current beta release does not support all of these languages, nor does it support TLS, routing or proxying yet.

Precompiled binaries are available for CentOS 7 and Ubuntu 16.04, but as it is a beta release, it is not recommended for use in a production environment. Consequently, it is unlikely to have much of a presence on the web in the near future; also, for performance reasons, it is likely that NGINX Unit would be installed behind a regular nginx web server acting as a reverse proxy.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperSeptember 2017PercentOctober 2017PercentChange
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Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in September 2017

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
DNS Connect First
1 Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.190 0.037 0.105 0.105
2 vXtream Ltd Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.139 0.058 0.118 0.118
3 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.000 0.109 0.064 0.296 0.296
4 Netcetera Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.106 0.078 0.158 0.158
5 CWCS Linux 0:00:00 0.009 0.202 0.111 0.186 0.187
6 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.014 0.086 0.059 0.124 0.124
7 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.014 0.118 0.060 0.119 0.119
8 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.014 0.230 0.066 0.131 0.131
9 Pair Networks FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.014 0.238 0.070 0.140 0.140
10 Lightcrest unknown 0:00:00 0.018 0.158 0.011 0.031 0.098

See full table had the most reliable hosting company website in September 2017, successfully responding to all requests made by Netcraft., which offers a number of shared hosting packages to clients, has offices across Europe, the USA, and Asia. September is's second month at the top of the chart in 2017, with six appearances in the top ten this year.

Second place was achieved by vXtream, which recently completed its acquisition of Qube Managed Services. vXtream's site successfully responded to all requests made by Netcraft, but with a marginally slower average connect time than vXtream offers managed hosting, colocation, and cloud-based solutions from data centres in Zurich, London and New York. vXtream has spent eleven of the last twelve months in the top ten, taking the top spot four times.

EveryCity also saw no failed requests, but placed third due to a slightly slower average connect time than vXtream. EveryCity's site has had a 100% uptime record since March 2016, and is making its third appearance in the top ten over the last four months. EveryCity specialises in managed cloud hosting and is based in London.

Linux continues its dominance of the top ten, with seven websites in the list using the operating system. FreeBSD and SmartOS make one appearance each.

Netcraft measures and makes available the response times of around thirty 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.

September 2017 Web Server Survey

In the September 2017 survey we received responses from 1,805,060,730 sites and 6,798,101 web-facing computers, reflecting a gain of 4.49 million sites and 84,800 computers. This is the largest number of web-facing computers in history, and cloud computing has helped fuel this growth considerably. The top three cloud hosting providers—Amazon, Alibaba and DigitalOcean—now account for nearly 22% of all web-facing computers, as well as more than a third of this month's net computer growth.

nginx has dominated this month's computer growth once again, with an additional 49,900 computers taking its market share up to 22.2%. This puts it within 20,000 computers of Microsoft's 22.5% share, giving nginx a realistic chance of taking second place by next month. Meanwhile, Apache remains far ahead in the lead with 2.88 million web-facing computers giving it a 42.3% share of the market.

While more than half of the websites in the survey are using Microsoft web server software, relatively few of these are active sites. Discounting link farms, domain holding pages and other automatically generated content, Microsoft accounts for only 7.3% of all active sites, while Apache leads with 44.9%, and nginx follows with 20.7%. Microsoft's active sites share has never exceeded Apache's, and ever since it peaked at 38% in early 2009, it has experienced a general decline.

Microsoft's presence within the top million websites has also been steadily declining – in 2008, it had a 20% share, but this has since dwindled to less than 10%. Today, 9.73% of the top million sites use Microsoft web server software (mostly IIS – Internet Information Services), while Apache leads with 38.9%. However, Apache has also been experiencing a general decline since 2011, while nginx has continued to muscle its way in. A further 1,299 nginx-powered sites made their way into the top million this month, lifting nginx's share to 29.4%.

Web-facing operating systems

Apache has been the most commonly installed web server for many years, but which underlying operating systems are used by the world's web facing computers?

By far the most commonly used operating system is Linux, which runs on more than two-thirds of all web-facing computers. This month alone, the number of Linux computers increased by more than 91,000; and again, this strong growth can largely be attributed to cloud hosting providers, where Linux-based instances are typically the cheapest and most commonly available.

It is difficult to distinguish different Linux distributions by examining their TCP/IP characteristics, but inferences can be made from other clues, such as Server headers. The Linux distribution can be positively identified in around 30% of cases, and of these 1.39 million Linux computers, just over half are running Ubuntu Linux, nearly a quarter are running CentOS, and around fifth are running Debian Linux.

Microsoft is next up, with 26.8% of all web-facing computers running various versions of Windows Server. Interestingly, this is higher than Microsoft's web server share (22.5%), and can be explained by around 20% of Windows computers being used to run other web server software – such as Apache and nginx – rather than its native Microsoft IIS web server. Conversely, around 51,000 Linux computers expose Microsoft IIS web servers to the internet – in these cases, the Linux frontends are typically acting as load balancers or reverse proxies to backend Windows computers running IIS.

Windows Server 2008 is the most commonly used version of the Windows Server family of operating systems – it currently runs on 971,000 web-facing computers, and this is followed by Windows Server 2012, which is installed on 505,000.

Windows and Linux are essentially the "big two" when it comes to web-facing operating systems. FreeBSD was once notorious for its reliability and impressively large uptimes when used as a server platform; indeed, Netcraft's infrastructure made extensive use of it in the past, but it is now a relatively niche operating system compared with its heyday. Today it is used by only 1.3% of web-facing computers, more than half of which are being used to run the Apache web server.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperAugust 2017PercentSeptember 2017PercentChange
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