November 2012 Web Server Survey

In the November 2012 survey we received responses from 625,329,303 sites, a modest increase of 4.8 million sites since last month's survey.

Apache has continued its declining trend in market share, suffering the greatest loss this month of 0.77 percentage points. Although it still captures the majority of the market with a share of 57.23%, this has fallen from 65.00% since this time last year. Conversely, Microsoft enjoyed the largest gain this month, upping its share by 0.25 to 16.52% this month and by 1.07 over the past year.

In absolute terms, Apache lost 2.0 million sites this month, whereas Microsoft gained 2.3 million. nginx also showed significant growth, with an additional 1.2 million sites resulting in a small increase to its market share.

Studying only active sites, the changes in market share are reversed: Apache grew by 0.23 to 55.66%, while Microsoft fell by 0.83 to 11.53%. Within the million busiest sites, nginx was the only major developer to increase its market share, which now stands at 12.22%.

November's survey saw Tumblr suddenly become the tenth largest hosting company by number of sites. The microblogging service previously hosted its customers' sites with Softlayer, but now hosts 9.2 million sites on its own netblock. Softlayer was previously the largest hosting company in the world in terms of hostnames, but this move now places that title in the hands of Go Daddy, who host nearly 6 million sites more than Softlayer.

Many sites using the .tk country code top level domain (ccTLD) disappeared from the survey this month, as non-existent domain names under this ccTLD are no longer resolved by a wildcard DNS configuration. The .tk ccTLD belongs to Tokelau (a territory of New Zealand), and is run by Dot TK - a joint venture between the Government of Tokelau, the communication company Teletok, and BV Dot TK, which is a privately held company with offices in the Netherlands, the UK and the Isle of Man.

Dot TK offers free domain names under the .tk ccTLD, which is also used by its URL shortening service. The April 2012 report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group says that .tk domains were taken advantage of extensively by phishers, and ranked .tk as the top phishing TLD by phish per 10,000 domains in the second half of 2011.

To combat phishing and other fraud, Dot TK introduced an anti-abuse API to allow trusted partners to shut down sites using the .tk ccTLD. The report notes that this has resulted in lower-than-average uptimes for phishing sites, but has not prevented phishers from obtaining and using .tk domains in the first place.

Netcraft has produced a live table of the top 50 phishiest TLDs, based on the ratio of the number of phishing sites to the total number of sites hosted within each TLD. This ranks .tk as only the 22nd phishiest TLD today, while .to (Tonga) currently ranks as the phishiest. The .to ccTLD is run by the Tonga Network Information Center (Tonic), which is one of the few ccTLD operators that does not provide registration information in a WHOIS database. This fact alone must surely contribute to the appeal of using the .to TLD for phishing and other fraud.

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For more information see Active Sites

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