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.

NGINX Unit

Alongside the new releases of nginx, the nginx.org 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
Microsoft927,540,45451.39%897,467,51749.44%-1.94
Apache329,105,83218.23%340,811,23518.78%0.54
nginx315,530,74617.48%333,942,60418.40%0.92
Google20,906,8491.16%21,127,0781.16%0.01
Web server market share for active sites

DeveloperSeptember 2017PercentOctober 2017PercentChange
Apache77,487,53144.89%76,631,59144.50%-0.39
nginx35,640,32020.65%36,581,25021.24%0.60
Google13,561,6557.86%13,592,1977.89%0.04
Microsoft12,629,5827.32%12,544,1247.28%-0.03

For more information see Active Sites

Web server market share for top million busiest sites

DeveloperSeptember 2017PercentOctober 2017PercentChange
Apache388,64138.86%386,46438.65%-0.22
nginx293,84729.38%294,29029.43%0.04
Microsoft97,3209.73%96,5079.65%-0.08
Google16,3351.63%16,2391.62%-0.01
Web server market share for computers

DeveloperSeptember 2017PercentOctober 2017PercentChange
Apache2,876,82842.32%2,915,30642.33%0.02
nginx1,511,34722.23%1,553,40022.56%0.33
Microsoft1,530,38622.51%1,526,92122.17%-0.34