May 2016 Web Server Survey

In the May 2016 survey we received responses from 1,033,790,346 sites and 5,946,961 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 147,000 computers, coupled with a loss of 49 million sites.

While last month's survey recorded the largest number of sites ever, many of the Chinese sites running Microsoft IIS that appeared last month have since disappeared. Combined with other departures, Microsoft suffered a net loss of 75 million sites this month, which has played a major part in its market share falling by more than 5 percentage points to less than 36%. Nevertheless, it is still the most common server vendor by number of sites, with a total of nearly 370 million hosted on IIS servers.

Despite Microsoft's loss of 75 million sites, the number of active sites using IIS actually grew by 450,000, which is indicative of the low quality of the sites it lost. Most of the lost sites were engaged in link farming activity, with large numbers of these sites being served from relatively few computers. The loss of these sites therefore had little impact on the number of web-facing computers using Microsoft IIS, which grew by 14,000.

Microsoft's closest competitor, Apache, gained 8.4 million sites, with its increased market share of 29.1% putting it within 6.4 percentage points of Microsoft's leading share.

Although it has yet to reach the same level as Microsoft and Apache, nginx made the largest gains, growing by 21 million sites and increasing its market share by 2.6 points to 15.9%.

nginx also showed the strongest growth in the survey's other metrics: it gained nearly 7.5 million active sites, 74,100 web-facing computers, and increased its presence within the top million sites by 16,000. The most significant of these gains was nginx's active site count increasing by a whopping 27%, largely as a result of Tumblr sites now exhibiting the Server: nginx header (in previous months, most Tumblr sites did not reveal which server software they were using).

While Microsoft has shaken off many of its low-quality sites, Alibaba's nginx fork, Tengine, gained around 10 million. Most of the new sites served by Tengine this month make use of domains under the .science gTLD, which has proved popular with many Chinese link farms and webspam sites – most likely due to the sub-dollar registration costs. Tengine suffered a small net loss in active sites this month, which corroborates the low quality of the 10 million new sites.

Only 2.4% of the sites served by Tengine now qualify as active sites, which highlights just how many of them are used for displaying automatically generated content. Microsoft is still also fairly popular with link farm operators (particularly in China), with only 4.6% of its sites showing active content. In contrast, more than 26% of Apache sites, and nearly 22% of nginx sites feature active content.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

DeveloperApril 2016PercentMay 2016PercentChange
Microsoft441,470,89440.75%366,964,00935.50%-5.26
Apache292,043,54826.96%300,447,47029.06%2.10
nginx143,349,43913.23%163,902,97115.85%2.62
Google20,597,6051.90%21,567,2522.09%0.18
Web server market share for active sites

DeveloperApril 2016PercentMay 2016PercentChange
Apache82,446,61949.15%81,000,02447.59%-1.56
nginx28,196,26216.81%35,670,65320.96%4.15
Microsoft16,887,24210.07%17,332,45210.18%0.12
Google12,968,1627.73%14,086,0468.28%0.55

For more information see Active Sites

Web server market share for top million busiest sites

DeveloperApril 2016PercentMay 2016PercentChange
Apache451,87245.19%441,36644.14%-1.05
nginx256,36125.64%272,39427.24%1.60
Microsoft112,60411.26%111,69111.17%-0.09
Google20,4132.04%20,9112.09%0.05
Web server market share for computers

DeveloperApril 2016PercentMay 2016PercentChange
Apache2,780,85947.94%2,827,76347.55%-0.39
Microsoft1,526,22726.31%1,540,48125.90%-0.41
nginx843,92614.55%918,03215.44%0.89