In the March 2021 survey we received responses from 1,187,527,949 sites across 263,355,616 unique domains and 10,847,682 web-facing computers. This reflects a loss of 16,724,462 sites, but a gain of 313,561 domains and 81,076 computers.
nginx gained 3.7 million sites this month and holds 35.3% of the market with a total of 419.6 million sites. By contrast, Apache lost 8.5 million sites and accounts for just over a quarter of all sites with 308.5 million. Microsoft lost 9.6% (-7.5M) of its sites this month and ceded third place to OpenResty which in turn gained 1.2 million (+1.6%).
OpenResty is a web platform based on nginx which integrates Lua-based modules and has been the third-largest server by domains for several months. Despite this, it trails the competition in terms of web-facing computers, with only 105,800 computers compared to Microsoft’s 1.4 million.
nginx, Google, OpenResty, and LiteSpeed all acquired significant numbers of domains this month. nginx gained just over a million domains (+1.3%), while Google, OpenResty, and LiteSpeed gained 250,000 (+11.0%), 212,000 (+0.6%), and 68,600 (+1.3%). nginx’s domain growth came primarily from Freenom with 1.3 million domains using the server, while OpenResty’s growth came from its increased use on Google Cloud. Meanwhile, Apache and Microsoft lost -540,000 (-0.8%) and -585,000 (-3.7%) domains.
nginx and Apache both gained web-facing computers this month with nginx gaining a substantial 74,000 additional computers and a gain of 0.4 percentage points of market share and Apache gaining 3,300 - though losing 0.2 percentage points of market share due to nginx’s comparative higher growth. Other vendors also saw market share losses, with Microsoft losing 24,200 computers (-0.3 pp) and OpenResty losing just over 200 computers (-0.01 pp) despite its gains in sites and domains.
Looking at which web servers power the million busiest sites, only Cloudflare saw its count increase this month with a gain of 3,200 sites (+0.3 pp). Cloudflare’s growth came at the expense of nginx which lost the most with 1,570 fewer sites (-0.2 pp), along with Apache and Microsoft which both lost around 250 sites. The top spot remains hotly contested between Apache and nginx - Apache leads, but less than 2.5 percentage points separate the two.
Other vendor and hosting news
- A major fire at OVH’s Strasbourg datacenters resulted in around 3.6 million websites across 464,000 domains being taken offline at the start of March. While this was not captured by this month’s Web Server Survey, additional investigation by Netcraft found that nearly 20% of the IP addresses attributed to OVH stopped responding during the incident. One of the four data centers at the site, SBG2, was completely destroyed, and OVH is now provisioning thousands of new servers to replace those lost.
- Windows Server 2022 is now in preview and will be made generally available later in 2021. The features added in this release focus on adding new layers of security, integrating more tightly with Microsoft’s Azure platform, and improving Windows Containers. The current major release, Windows Server 2019, was made generally available nearly two and a half years ago in October 2018.
- nginx version 1.19.8 and njs version 0.5.2 were released on the 9th March. Both updates add minor new features and bug fixes.
- OpenLiteSpeed, the open-source variant of LiteSpeed Enterprise, received several updates through February and March, with versions 1.5.12, 1.6.20, and 1.7.9 containing primarily security updates and bug fixes.
- Apache Tomcat was updated to versions 9.0.44 and 10.0.4. Both updates include a variety of fixes, including improvements to asynchronous error handling.
|Developer||February 2021||Percent||March 2021||Percent||Change|
In the February 2021 survey we received responses from 1,204,252,411 sites across 263,042,054 unique domains and 10,766,606 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 6,270,052 sites, 92,829 domains, and 116,789 computers.
nginx is top of the charts when it comes to total count of sites as well as number of unique domains and web-facing computers. 34.5% of all sites run on nginx, 30.4% of domains, and 35.0% of web-facing computers. Apache comes in at seconds place in these metrics, with a 26.3% market share of sites, a similar 26.4% share of domains, and 32.7% of web-facing computers.
In terms of domains, OpenResty and Cloudflare come in at third and fourth place to make up an additional 14.4% and 7.1% of the market respectively. OpenResty is a web application server that is built upon the technology of nginx, but, strictly speaking, is not an nginx fork. Cloudflare historically based their server stack around nginx, but transitioned towards using more in-house developed technologies over time. As of this month, these web server vendors are tracked individually in the monthly Web Server Survey charts.
Although nginx leads the wider market, Apache still has a small lead when it comes to the top one million busiest sites, with a 25.6% market share – 2.4pp ahead of nginx. Apache increased its share of the top million by 0.54pp in February. Although OpenResty takes a sizable chunk of the wider market, it is not nearly as common amongst the top million, taking only a 1.6% share. This disparity can be explained through GoDaddy’s extensive use of OpenResty for domain parking.
Apache also holds a more significant lead in terms of Netcraft’s active sites metric, which favours sites with unique content. Apache serves 25.5% of active sites, whereas nginx serves 19.8%. Google accounts for a reasonably large 9.9% share of active sites, owing to its popular Blogger service.
Microsoft’s server software market share remains in decline. Microsoft’s figures took a significant drop in 2020 in favour of OpenResty, and Microsoft now only has 6.5% (-1.0pp) of the site market and 6.0% (-0.3pp) of domains as of February 2021. OpenResty also looks set to overtake Microsoft as the third largest vendor in terms of sites and active sites.
Other vendor and hosting news
Nginx has pushed out its first product updates for 2021 – nginx version 1.19.7 and NGINX Unit 1.22.0. Lighttpd also released version 1.4.59 of its web server, which now enables HTTP version 2 by default.
|Developer||January 2021||Percent||February 2021||Percent||Change|
In the January 2021 survey we received responses from 1,197,982,359 sites across 262,949,225 unique domains and 10,649,817 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 95,900 computers, but a loss of 30.13 million sites and 465,000 domains.
Apache, nginx and Microsoft all lost sites this month. Apache suffered the largest losses with 16.4 million fewer sites, a significant number of which came from a single hosting provider, Enzu. This was followed by nginx which lost 11.9 million sites and Microsoft which lost 7.8 million, both seeing losses across a number of hosting providers. nginx continues to lead in market share with 33.3% (-0.15 pp), ahead of Apache at 26.4% (-0.7 pp).
The number of domains powered by these web servers also fell this month. Microsoft observed the largest drop of 2.2 million domains, while nginx and Apache lost 903,000 and 303,000. This resulted in a small loss of market share for all three, the largest drop being seen by Microsoft which fell 0.8 percentage points to 6.3%. nginx dropped 0.3 percentage points of domain market share, though still powers 30% of all domains. The majority of the domains lost by these largest web server vendors remain in the survey, with individual hosting providers switching large numbers to other server vendors. One such movement involved around 1.2 million domains hosted by Cogeco Cable Canada that previously identified as nginx but now respond with a DOSarrest server banner.
Despite these losses, the total number of web-facing computers for both Apache and nginx grew this month. nginx gained 68,000 computers, increasing its market share by 0.3 percentage points to 34.7%, while Apache’s small gain of 6,200 resulted in a slight drop in market share to 33% (-0.2 pp).
Although both only have a small amount of web-facing computer market share, LiteSpeed and OpenResty both saw good relative growth this month. LiteSpeed gained 3,400 computers (+7.7% compared to last month) and OpenResty gained 5,700 computers (+6.8%).
The number of the top million sites powered by Apache, Microsoft and LiteSpeed all grew this month. Apache observed the highest growth with 4,043 sites, increasing its market share to 25% (+0.4 pp) and maintaining its lead over nginx which lost 105 sites this month. LiteSpeed gained 1,700 new sites, an increase of 9.4% over December.
Other vendor and hosting news
- Lighttpd 1.4.58 was released on 27 December, after the release of 1.4.57 on 17 December. These updates include a number of bug fixes.
- Microsoft Azure added support for Availability Zones in its South Central US datacenter region. Availability zones are multiple interconnected data centers within the same region, providing resiliency in the event of a data center outage. This addition means that Microsoft now has 15 public Azure regions with Availability Zones.
- A number of Google services suffered from a partial outage on 14 December, caused by a failure of Google’s authentication service. As well as affecting a number of Google services such as Gmail and YouTube, the issue also prevented users from authenticating to the Google Cloud Console and managing their infrastructure. Google Cloud Platform services themselves were largely unaffected by the outage.
|Developer||December 2020||Percent||January 2021||Percent||Change|
In the December 2020 survey we received responses from 1,228,111,563 sites across 263,413,876 unique domains and 10,553,965 web-facing computers. The reflects a loss of 1.84 million sites, 374,000 domains, and 10,600 computers.
Overall, nginx lost the largest number of sites this month (-3.15 million), while Apache gained most (3.04 million); yet in terms of active sites, nginx gained 411,000, while Apache gained only 100,000.
Microsoft, Apache and nginx each suffered losses in their total number of domains, although nginx's loss was small enough that its market share increased slightly. 30.3% of the world's domains are now powered by nginx, compared with 26.4% powered by Apache. Despite losses affecting each major webserver vendor, the causes were independent in each case; for example nginx’s 34,000 loss resulting from a drop of 387,000 domains at Freenom.
OpenResty is continuing to show strong growth, with GoDaddy's use of the web server for its parked domains. It now powers 71.3 million sites across 36.9 million domains and 84,680 web-facing computers.
The number of web-facing computers running nginx, Apache and Microsoft web server software also fell this month. The largest loss was 38,600 web-facing computers for nginx, which took its total down to 3.63 million and its share down by 0.33 percentage points to 34.4%, leaving it just over one percentage point ahead of Apache. Microsoft lost 14,700 computers, while Apache lost 5,820.
Improvements to the million busiest sites methodology has resulted in a number of market share movements. The biggest drop was seen for Apache, with its share down by 4.3 percentage points. Although it continues to lead this market with a share of 24.6%, nginx is now much closer behind with a 23.2% share of the top million, despite also experiencing a drop, and losing 2.0 percentage points. Cloudflare experienced the largest increase, up 1.4 percentage points to reach a 15.2% market share.
Other vendor and hosting news
- The first release candidate of Caddy 2.3 was announced on 12 December.
- nginx 1.19.6 mainline was released on 15 December. This version includes four bugfixes, including one for a bug that was introduced in the previous release, where a segmentation fault could have occurred when HTTPS was used.
- Apache Tomcat 7.0.107 was released on 23 November, followed by the releases of Tomcat 8.5.61, 9.0.41 and 10.0.0 (beta) on 8 December.
- OpenLiteSpeed 1.7.7 was released on 9 December.
- Microsoft has added new capabilities to its Azure Government cloud, expanded its Azure Government Secret cloud, and announced a new Azure Government Top Secret cloud to handle top secret classified data.
|Developer||November 2020||Percent||December 2020||Percent||Change|
In the November 2020 survey we received responses from 1,229,948,224 sites across 263,787,870 unique domains and 10,564,577 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 24.2 million sites and 115,000 computers, but a loss of 310,000 domains.
Apache now powers 28.9% of the world's top million websites, where its presence has grown by 6,431 sites since last month. This has increased its lead over its closest competitor, nginx, which lost 2,563 sites from the top million and is now 3.72 percentage points behind Apache's leading share.
nginx continues to dominate in terms of web-facing computers, where its total rose by 88,700 to 3.67 million (+2.48%) computers and its share has grown by 0.47 percentage points to 34.7%. Although Apache gained 24,400 computers this month, its own share has now fallen to less than a third.
nginx also maintains its lead in two other metrics, with a total of 414 million sites (33.7% share) and 79.8 million domains (30.3%), while Apache still has the largest share of active sites (25.9%).
The number of domains powered by Microsoft web server suffered another noticeable fall this month, dropping by 473,000 to 19.1 million (-2.41%), reducing its share to 7.25%. Some of this decline is still being driven by GoDaddy's parked domains being moved to OpenResty web servers.
More than 36 million unique domains are served by OpenResty, making it the third most commonly used server by that metric, and putting it over 15 million domains ahead of Cloudflare. OpenResty is a scalable web platform based on NGINX and LuaJIT, which is a just-in-time compiler for the Lua language.
Some of the most commonly visited websites powered by OpenResty include Tumblr, Firefox Monitor, Basecamp and a few adult video sites. The 36.6 million domains powered by OpenResty are served from just 81,900 computers.
Other vendor and hosting news
- nginx 1.19.5 mainline was released on 24 November.
- NGINX Unit 1.21.0 was released on 19 November.
- Apache Tomcat 7.0.107, 8.5.60, 9.0.40 and 10.0.0.M10 were released on 17 November.
- OpenLiteSpeed 1.7.6 was released on 9 November, followed by OpenLiteSpeed 1.6.18 Stable on 24 November.
- Microsoft claims it will become the first major cloud provider to track hourly energy consumption and renewable energy matching in a commercial product using the Vattenfall 24/7 Matching solution for its new datacenter regions in Sweden, which will be available next year.
- DigitalOcean has introduced storage-optimized Droplets with NVMe SSDs, and reduced the price of its memory-optimized Droplets.
- Dozens of apps, websites and other online services including Coinbase, Flickr, Roku and The Washington Post were affected by an outage at Amazon's us-east-1 geographic region on 25 November.
|Developer||October 2020||Percent||November 2020||Percent||Change|
In the October 2020 survey we received responses from 1,205,797,275 sites across 264,098,084 unique domains and 10,449,223 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 9.50 million hostnames and 111,000 computers, but a loss of 187,000 domains.
nginx experienced the largest growth in domains and web-facing computers, where it leads with a total of 79.9 million domains and 3.58 million computers, giving it shares of 30.2% and 34.2%. However, nginx's growth was beaten by Google in terms of active sites, with Google gaining 1.31 million active sites compared to nginx's gain of 1.06 million. This growth makes Google the only major vendor to see an increase in its market share of active sites this month, which now stands just above 10%. Despite falling by 0.79 percentage points, Apache remains well in the lead with a 25.7% share of active sites.
Contrary to its strong growth in other metrics, nginx saw the largest drop in its presence among the top million websites, with 3,030 fewer sites taking its share down to 25.5% while Apache continues to lead with 28.3%.
Other notable changes this month include an 8.10% reduction in the number of domains powered by Microsoft web servers, which fell by 1.73 million to 19.6 million. Much of this was caused by the continuation of parked GoDaddy domains migrating from GoDaddy's own hosting infrastructure to OpenResty servers in Google Cloud, resulting in the number of OpenResty-powered domains rising by 1.92 million to 36.4 million. The only market in which Microsoft increased its share was within the top million websites, where it gained 319 additional sites to reach a share of 7.20%.
DigitalOcean App Platform
DigitalOcean has entered the Platform as a Service (PaaS) arena by launching its new App Platform product, which can be used to build, deploy and scale web applications and static websites. It is a fully managed service based on DigitalOcean Kubernetes and other open standards, offering much of the flexibility of Kubernetes without the associated complexity.
Competing with the likes of AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Oracle Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure App Service, DigitalOcean App Platform offers a Starter pricing tier that lets customers become familiar with the platform by deploying up to three static sites free of charge, while dynamic apps can be built and deployed from $5/month. App Platform supports several popular languages and application frameworks out of the box, including PHP, Docker, Go, Node.js, Python and Ruby.
All pricing tiers – including the free one – include global content delivery via Cloudflare, which means that applications deployed on App Platform will likely count towards the number of Cloudflare-hosted websites in future Netcraft surveys.
New server releases
nginx 1.19.3 was released on 29 September. This version in the mainline release branch incorporates several bug fixes, some new directives, and a new ngx_stream_set_module, which allows variables to be set in nginx configuration files.
njs 0.4.4 was also released on 29 September. This version of the nginx-extending scripting language includes a new Buffer object as well as several other new features and bug fixes. NGINX Unit 1.20.0 was later released on 8 October, and introduces several new features, bug fixes, and support for ASGI 3.0.
Apache Tomcat 8.5.59, Tomcat 9.0.39 and Tomcat 10.0.0-M9 were released on 9 October. Tomcat 10.0.0-M9 is considered a milestone release, as it switches from Java EE to Jakarta EE following the transfer of Java EE to the Eclipse Foundation. Apache has provided a tool that automatically converts existing Java EE 8 projects that run on Tomcat 9 to Jakarta EE 9 projects that will run on this latest version of Tomcat 10.
|Developer||September 2020||Percent||October 2020||Percent||Change|
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