January 2017 Web Server Survey

In the January 2017 survey we received responses from 1,800,047,111 sites and 6,328,006 computers, reflecting a gain of 61 million sites and 159,000 computers.

Microsoft gained the largest number of sites this month – 38 million – although it was closely followed by Apache, which gained 32 million. Nearly 822 million sites (45.7%) are now powered by Microsoft webserver software.

Meanwhile, nginx gained 17 million sites, and has also continued to show strong and steady computer growth. This month's gain of 60,000 web-facing nginx computers was the largest seen by any vendor, outweighing Microsoft's and Apache's gains of 40,000 and 20,000. If last year's trends continue in 2017, it seems plausible to expect that nginx could overtake Microsoft to become the second largest vendor (by computers) in the second half of 2017.

Microsoft's latest version of Internet Information Services – IIS 10.0, which uses Windows Server 2016 as its primary platform – was found powering 45,000 websites this month. Future migration to IIS 10.0 may be slower than with previous IIS versions, however, as Microsoft announced Windows Server Premium Assurance in December 2016, which extends the support period from 10 to 16 years for existing Windows Server products. This means Premium Assurance customers will continue to receive security updates (as well as "critical" and "important" bulletins) for Windows Server 2008 until January 2026. In January 2017, more than 600 million sites are served from Windows Server 2008 machines.

Each of the other major server vendors released updates last month. nginx 1.11.7 mainline version was released on 13 December, followed by 1.11.8 on 27 December. Both releases included several bug fixes and a few new features.

The mainline 1.11.x branch of nginx is typically updated every 4-6 weeks and is aimed at users who require the latest features, whereas the 1.10.x stable branch is only updated when critical issues need to be fixed. Only two updates have been released on the stable branch since 1.10.0 was forked from mainline in April 2016. Stable is the most commonly used branch: nearly 24 million sites are using 1.10.x stable, compared with 2.2 million using 1.11.x mainline.

Apache 2.4.25 was released on 20 December 2016, incorporating security, feature and bug fixes (including many from the unreleased 2.4.24 version). The security fixes include a mitigation for issues caused by the httpoxy vulnerability, and better enforcement of the HTTP request grammar in RFC 7230 to reduce the likelihood of response splitting and cache pollution attacks.

While many sites still use older versions of Apache, such as the 2.2.x legacy versions, the Apache Project continues to point out that the latest release from the 2.4.x stable branch represents the best available version of Apache HTTP Server. Nonetheless, most sites—just over 100 million— report to be using 2.2.x legacy versions, compared with 69 million sites that use 2.4.x. The most commonly observed Apache Server banners are Apache/2.4.7 (Ubuntu) (36 million sites), followed by Apache/2.2.15 (CentOS) (25 million); however, these servers may not necessarily be as old and vulnerable as their version numbers imply. Netcraft previously discussed this "backporting" behaviour a few years ago.

LiteSpeed suffered the largest loss of sites this month, returning to October 2016 levels after plummeting by 42 million sites to leave a total of 5.5 million. Despite the large loss of sites, the number of web-facing computers using LiteSpeed increased modestly by 323 to 9,740. LiteSpeed 5.1.11 was released on 15 December, featuring improved caching and a few bug fixes.

December also saw the release of Tengine 2.2.0 development version, which came nearly two years after the previous development version, and a year after the most recent stable version. Not only does Tengine have a relatively sedate release cycle, but its latest version is based on nginx 1.8.1 (the final version of nginx's previous stable branch), which itself is already a year old.

Despite having relatively infrequent releases, 58 million sites are currently using Tengine. Most of these sites do not reveal which version has been installed, but among the 18 million that do, about two-thirds are using the relatively old 1.4.2 development version which was released in November 2012 and based on the nginx 1.2.x stable branch. Tengine was originally created by the Chinese marketplace Taobao, which modified the nginx core to better suit its requirements. It was released as an open source project in December 2011, and today sites under the taobao.com domain account for only 5% of its users.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperDecember 2016PercentJanuary 2017PercentChange
Microsoft783,790,49245.07%821,905,28345.66%0.59
Apache354,949,19620.41%387,211,50321.51%1.10
nginx300,839,50717.30%317,398,31717.63%0.33
Google18,602,5441.07%17,933,7621.00%-0.07
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Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in December 2016

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Netcetera Linux 0:00:00 0.004 0.103 0.075 0.156 0.187
2 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.021 0.143 0.058 0.117 0.117
3 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.021 0.222 0.066 0.132 0.132
4 Anexia Linux 0:00:00 0.021 0.254 0.081 0.174 0.174
5 Aruba Windows Server 2012 0:00:00 0.034 0.182 0.079 0.165 0.165
6 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.038 0.343 0.026 0.055 0.232
7 One.com Linux 0:00:00 0.038 0.192 0.038 0.109 0.109
8 krystal.co.uk Linux 0:00:00 0.063 0.158 0.072 0.155 0.155
9 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.063 0.121 0.073 0.147 0.147
10 Webair Internet Development Linux 0:00:00 0.092 0.156 0.051 0.110 0.111

See full table

Netcetera rounded off the year by having the most reliable hosting company site in December 2016, successfully responding to all but one of Netcraft's requests. In 2016, Netcetera made eight appearances in the top ten, reaching second place in February, March and June. Earlier in 2016, Netcetera celebrated 20 years of successful business, thanking its clients, including some that have been with the company since the day it opened.

Netcetera is based on the Isle of Man, a self-governing territory of the United Kingdom known for its low-tax economy. Netcetera's data centre, The Dataport, uses several energy-saving technologies including Free Air Cooling and virtualisation, which when coupled with carbon offsetting, make it a zero carbon data centre. This carbon-neutral approach is estimated to have saved more than two million kilograms of CO2 to date.

Qube Managed Services took second place in December, with five failed requests. Qube also fared well over the course of 2016, with December marking its tenth appearance in the top ten, including two times at the top of the table, in March and October. Qube uses data centres in London, New York and Zurich to provide its cloud, colocation and managed services; and like Netcetera's website, Qube's is served from a Linux machine.

XILO Communications Ltd came third, also with five failed requests, but with a slower average connection time than Qube. XILO uses enterprise-class Dell hardware for its shared, reseller and cloud hosting services, and also made ten appearances in the top ten during 2016, which included a first place in July. Like Qube, XILO is headquartered in the UK and uses Linux to host its own website.

Seven of December's top ten most reliable hosting company sites were served from Linux machines, including Anexia's, which also had only five failed requests. The remainder used Windows Server 2012, FreeBSD and SmartOS. Linux was the most common operating system used amongst the top ten hosting provider sites over the course of 2016, with two months having a top ten that consisting entirely of Linux-powered websites.

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.

December 2016 Web Server Survey

In the December 2016 survey we received responses from 1,739,031,487 sites and 6,169,471 web-facing computers; this reflects a large increase of 302 million sites, but a small loss of 55,900 computers.

All three of the largest server vendors gained sites this month, with growth concentrated at a handful of lesser-known web hosting providers. These changes have triggered large jumps in market share, with nginx (+3.2 percentage points) and Microsoft (+1.6 p.p.) gaining, and Apache losing (-2.2 p.p.).

The growth in number of sites was not reflected in other metrics this month, however, with small drops being seen in both the total number of web-facing computers (-0.9%) and the number of active sites (-0.8%).

Nginx was the only major web server vendor to experience gains across all metrics this month, including active sites, web-facing computers, and the million busiest sites. It now stands only 390,000 computers (6 percentage points) behind second place Microsoft, having surpassed Microsoft in terms of active sites in January 2012, and the top million busiest sites in May 2013.

Previously the 10th most commonly seen web server in terms of active sites, “Webs.com/1.0”, has vanished this month after the website builder began using the Cloudflare CDN service. Cloudflare uses a customised version of nginx (cloudflare-nginx), that powered over 3.6 million active sites in the December survey.

Looking back over 2016, the total number of sites seen in the survey has grown significantly, from 900 million in January to 1.7 billion in December. Much of this growth can be attributed to Microsoft, which has gained more than 520 million hostnames and risen from 28.95% market share to 45.07%. However, the more stable active sites metric shows nginx grew the most this year, having increased by 4.8 million active sites and 2.85 percentage points of market share over the course of 2016.

The year also saw the notable rise of OpenResty: in January, OpenResty was being used by 760,000 sites, 200,000 active sites, and just 3,100 web-facing computers; but in September, tumblr.com switched from using nginx to OpenResty for millions of Tumblr blogs. The number of sites using OpenResty in December is now nearly 15 million, the number of active sites is 5.8 million, and the number of web-facing computers seen running OpenResty has increased to nearly 8,000. The server is now the 9th most popular by number of web-facing computers.

Microsoft’s newest web server software, IIS 10.0, was released this year although it is yet to make a significant impact in the number of sites. Windows Server 2016, the primary operating system for running IIS 10.0 was only fully released in October after months of preview releases; the December 2016 survey finds the operating system being used on 5,800 web-facing computers to host 18,250 sites.

Another notable arrival during 2016 were the hundreds of thousands of Western Digital My Cloud personal storage devices. These Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices run an Apache web server and each has a hostname on the wd2go.com domain. The fact that these devices are placed in end-users' homes, using less-stable home Internet connections, and more commonly powered off than a typical web server has increased the volatility of the Apache web-facing computer data. The December 2016 survey found 680,000 sites for these devices.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperNovember 2016PercentDecember 2016PercentChange
Microsoft625,173,66443.51%783,790,49245.07%1.56
Apache324,174,41722.56%354,949,19620.41%-2.15
nginx202,932,12214.12%300,839,50717.30%3.17
Google20,689,2731.44%18,602,5441.07%-0.37
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Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in November 2016

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Datapipe Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.130 0.012 0.025 0.032
2 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.130 0.058 0.119 0.119
3 CWCS Linux 0:00:00 0.004 0.213 0.070 0.175 0.175
4 Anexia Linux 0:00:00 0.004 0.245 0.081 0.176 0.176
5 One.com Linux 0:00:00 0.009 0.180 0.038 0.108 0.108
6 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.017 0.340 0.026 0.055 0.217
7 Netcetera Linux 0:00:00 0.017 0.094 0.074 0.151 0.151
8 EveryCity SmartOS 0:00:00 0.026 0.110 0.072 0.146 0.146
9 Aruba Windows Server 2012 0:00:00 0.039 0.176 0.080 0.168 0.168
10 www.viawest.com Linux 0:00:00 0.048 0.272 0.006 0.200 0.200

See full table

Datapipe had the most reliable hosting company site in November, successfully responding to all requests. Datapipe has been in the top ten for ten months in 2016 and has a 100% uptime record over the last ten years. Datapipe was named as the top Cloud Service Provider for 2016 by Talkin’ Cloud in their 2016 Cloud 100 Research report.

Qube Managed Services took second place also with no failed requests, but a slower average connection time than Datapipe. Qube has been in the top ten for nine months this year, including last month when they topped the list. Qube has data centres in London, New York, and Zurich, offering cloud services, managed services, and colocation.

CWCS came in third place with only one failed request in November, narrowly beating Anexia which also had one failed request, but a slightly slower average connection time. CWCS was awarded PCI DSS Level 1 Service Provider Status in August for its primary data centre in Nottingham.

Linux is again the predominantly used operating system, powering seven of the top ten company sites. EveryCity continues to be the only provider in the top 10 that uses SmartOS.

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.

November 2016 Web Server Survey

In the November 2016 survey we received responses from 1,436,724,046 sites and 6,225,374 web-facing computers, reflecting a gain of 7 million sites and 81,000 computers.

nginx was the only major vendor to gain hostnames this month, increasing its site count by 6.1 million, while Apache and Microsoft lost 16.6 million and 12.4 million.

Outweighing the existing major vendors, LiteSpeed demonstrated the largest hostname growth after it gained more than 40 million sites – a remarkable 740% increase. LiteSpeed's growth included 38 million existing sites that were hosted by OVH, and previously using Taobao's Tengine web server, which consequently suffered the largest loss of sites this month. The sites involved in this movement—nearly all of which make use of the .science TLD—are now hosted by Amazon Web Services. As a result of these changes, LiteSpeed's market share of sites has leapt from 0.39% to 3.29%, taking it from 10th to 4th place – while Tengine has been displaced to 5th.

Using the less-volatile web-facing computers metric, Apache showed the largest growth this month with an increase of 39,900 computers, while nginx was not too far behind with net growth of 32,881. Despite LiteSpeed's large hostname growth, it gained only a modest sum of 312 computers (+3.4%), making it the 7th largest vendor by this metric.

OpenResty gained significant traction in September after millions of Tumblr blogs switched from using nginx. This month, OpenResty gained a further 560 web-facing computers (+7.8%), taking its total up to 7,700. It also gained half a million more sites, but not all of the new sites are used by Tumblr blogs this time, which indicates growing interest amongst other users. More than a tenth of the new sites found using OpenResty in November are being used to serve PHPWind forum installations hosted by Raksmart in China, and thousands more new OpenResty sites are found at the likes of Fastly, DigitalOcean and Amazon Web Services.

Microsoft's latest server software, IIS 10.0, has yet to make significant inroads on the web, with the total number of sites using it still floating around 10,000; however, its primary platform—Windows Server 2016—has only been available since October. Preview releases have been available for several months, though, and so the number of web-facing computers using Windows Server 2016 has gradually been creeping up. Netcraft found a total of 4,347 Windows Server 2016 computers in the November survey.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperOctober 2016PercentNovember 2016PercentChange
Microsoft637,583,71744.61%625,173,66443.51%-1.09
Apache340,793,66223.84%324,174,41722.56%-1.28
nginx196,861,41513.77%202,932,12214.12%0.35
Google21,516,3081.51%20,689,2731.44%-0.07
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Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in October 2016

Rank Performance Graph OS Outage
hh:mm:ss
Failed
Req%
DNS Connect First
byte
Total
1 Qube Managed Services Linux 0:00:00 0.000 0.153 0.059 0.122 0.122
2 One.com Linux 0:00:00 0.008 0.208 0.038 0.112 0.112
3 Hyve Managed Hosting Linux 0:00:00 0.013 0.104 0.058 0.123 0.123
4 ServerStack Linux 0:00:00 0.013 0.132 0.061 0.124 0.124
5 CWCS Linux 0:00:00 0.013 0.214 0.071 0.170 0.170
6 Datapipe Linux 0:00:00 0.017 0.149 0.012 0.024 0.031
7 Webair Internet Development Linux 0:00:00 0.017 0.160 0.052 0.105 0.107
8 Pickaweb Linux 0:00:00 0.021 0.141 0.005 0.154 0.154
9 SimpleServers Linux 0:00:00 0.021 0.126 0.005 0.155 0.155
10 XILO Communications Ltd. Linux 0:00:00 0.021 0.234 0.067 0.136 0.136

See full table

Qube Managed Services had the most reliable hosting company site in October, successfully responding to every request we made during the month. Qube has been in the top ten for eight months so far this year. Qube recently selected Epsilon to deliver its CloudLX connectivity platform, which will offer its customers direct access to on-demand Ethernet services.

One.com took second place in October with just two failed requests. This managed hosting provider was recently awarded Editor's Choice by Netzsieger's 2016 hosting comparison for its product coverage, performance, security, and support.

Hyve Managed Hosting came in third place with just three failed requests in October. This UK-based hosting provider specialises in mission-critical hosting, which is reflected in their 100% uptime since we started monitoring www.hyve.com in July. Fourth-place ServerStack and fifth-place CWCS also had three failed requests in October, with the tie being broken using the average connect time.

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.