In the July 2020 survey we received responses from 1,234,228,567 sites across 260,658,118 unique domains and 10,221,919 web-facing computers. This represents a gain of 9.47 million sites and 180,000 computers, but a loss of 1.75 million domains.
Most of the major server vendors saw gains in total sites this month: Apache gained 9.8 million sites after a loss of roughly the same size last month, while Microsoft and nginx gained 5.4 million and 2.5 million sites respectively. LiteSpeed continued to see strong growth, gaining 1.95 million new sites this month. Although it makes up 2.17% of the market, this represents strong growth from 1.62% at the start of the year.
nginx showed the highest growth in terms of domains, gaining 200,000. Losses of 1.1 million domains for Microsoft and 998,000 for Apache have further boosted nginx’s lead in this metric, and it now stands around 30 million domains ahead with a 29.8% (+0.27 pp) market share.
nginx also showed the highest growth in web-facing computers, with an increase of 97,000 taking its total to 3.5 million and leaving it just 9,000 computers (0.09 pp of market share) shy of Apache, the current leader. Apache has consistently had the highest number of web-facing computers since Netcraft began tracking the metric in 2007, but has slowly been losing market share – primarily to nginx. Microsoft trails in third position with a total of 1.6 million web-facing computers, around half that of nginx and Apache.
New vendor releases
LiteSpeed announced the first release candidate of LiteSpeed Web Server 6.0 on 17 July. This release brings several major new features such as support for conditionals in Apache configuration files, asynchronous execution of the mod_security Web Application Firewall, and sandboxed execution environments for PHP and CGI scripts. It also adds support for the latest HTTP/3 specification, draft 29. LiteSpeed has historically been fast to adopt new draft versions of HTTP/2 and HTTP/3, often implementing support within a month of a new draft’s release.
|Developer||June 2020||Percent||July 2020||Percent||Change|
In the June 2020 survey we received responses from 1,224,760,416 sites across 262,406,750 unique domains and 10,042,047 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 1.21 million domains and 149,000 computers, but a loss of 13.3 million sites.
Microsoft lost the largest number of sites – more than 20 million – taking its total down by 13% to 135 million. This has decreased its market share by 1.51 percentage points to 11.0%. Apache also suffered a sizable loss of 10.7 million sites, decreasing its total to 304 million and taking its share down by 0.60 points to 24.8%.
nginx continues to lead with a total of 449 million sites, an increase of 2.95 million since last month. Coupled with the other major vendors' losses, this has increased nginx's market share by 0.63 points to 36.6%.
nginx also showed the largest computer growth, with 115,000 more computers taking its total up to 3.35 million and putting it only 76,000 computers away from Apache's leading total.
While nginx looks set to soon become the largest vendor in terms of computers – possibly even by next month – celebrations by F5 Networks are likely to be marred by the latest developments in the dispute over the ownership of the nginx web server source code: it is now being sued by Lynwood Investments, who claim it owns the software.
The latest move comes after police raids on the offices of nginx and the home of one of its co-founders, Igor Sysoev, in December 2019. Russian search engine and e-commerce service provider, Rambler, alleged the webserver was developed while Igor Sysoev was a Rambler employee. Rambler transferred the rights to pursue the dispute to Lynwood Investments.
Meanwhile, nginx has also extended its recent new lead in the domains metric, with it now being used to host sites across 1.82 million more domains than last month.
Google was the only major vendor to gain active sites this month – a 2.12% increase to 19.3 million – and LiteSpeed was the only one to increase its presence among the top million websites, where it now has a share of 1.92%.
New vendor releases
nginx 1.19.0 mainline was announced on 26 May. This first release in the 1.19.* stream adds client certificate validation with OCSP, as well as a few bug fixes. The latest stable version is still 1.18.0, which was released in April. The difference between these two release streams is that the mainline branch is where new features are added, while the stable branches receive only security and bug fixes. This gives the stable releases a fixed feature set, which increases compatibility with third-party modules.
|Developer||May 2020||Percent||June 2020||Percent||Change|
In the May 2020 survey we received responses from 1,238,024,212 sites across 261,192,350 unique domains and 9,892,834 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 224,000 computers and 1.10 million domains, but a loss of 8.10 million sites.
nginx lost the greatest number of sites, with 14.2 million fewer than in April, but conversely had by far the greatest increases in unique domain names (+1.50 million, +2.02%), and web-facing computers (+137,000, +4.43%) this month. OpenResty, which is based on nginx, also saw a large 237,000 domain count increase to reach 7.15 million – the second largest increase in domains for any vendor this month.
Apache had losses in most metrics, dropping 244,000 domains. It did, however, come away with 6.88 million more sites and 45,000 more computers this month than last. Apache still leads in the active sites, computers, and top one million sites metrics.
Microsoft lost out on all metrics this month, dropping by 5.08 million sites and 175,000 unique domains. Both Apache and Microsoft have been on slow long-term downward trends in most metrics. Although they have both increased their count of web-facing computers over time, nginx has seen much stronger growth in comparison. Despite running on a 17.9% share of domain names and 16.4% share of computers, Microsoft holds a much smaller 4.72% share of active sites.
LiteSpeed currently serves 4.20 million domains, giving it a 1.61% market share. It has a slightly higher 1.88% share amongst the top one million sites. LiteSpeed has seen consistent growth, and has had a 23.3% domain count growth over the last 12 months.
Nginx released a new stable version of the nginx web server. nginx version 1.18.0 incorporates additional features which have been introduced in the mainline 1.17.x nginx versions over time. Nginx also released version 1.17.0 of the Nginx Unit application server.
LiteSpeed released new 1.6.13 and 1.7.1 versions of their OpenLiteSpeed web server, introducing bug fixes, security features, updates from their LSQUIC library, CentOS 8 support, and more.
|Developer||April 2020||Percent||May 2020||Percent||Change|
In the April 2020 survey we received responses from 1,246,121,153 sites across 260,089,947 unique domains and 9,669,267 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 10,000 computers and 2.90 million domains, but a loss of 16.9 million sites.
nginx and Microsoft lost the most sites this month — 13.4 million and 10.4 million each — but like all other major vendors, they both gained domains.
Since attaining the largest share of domains last month, nginx has extended its lead with net growth of 1.84 million domains and now has a 28.5% share of this market, compared with Apache's 27.8%.
Although Apache gained the largest number of sites this month — more than 2 million — it lost 598,000 active sites and its presence amongst the top million websites decreased by 4,230 sites, which took its top-sites count down by 1.43%. Nonetheless, Apache still has the largest share of the top million sites for now (29.1% compared with nginx's 25.5%), and also continues to lead in terms of active sites and web-facing computers.
Vendors respond to COVID-19
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect many people's lives in an unprecedented fashion, some web server vendors have offered to help in a variety of direct and indirect ways.
Microsoft has made an initial $1 billion donation to Puget Sound's COVID-19 Response Fund; published a map that tracks active, recovered and fatal cases; and has offered its Healthcare Bot service powered by Microsoft Azure to help frontline organisations screen patients for potential infection and care.
NGINX and F5 are offering free resources for websites impacted by the crisis. This includes free access to its core training for NGINX Open Source; providing additional help and one free year of NGINX Plus to the education, public government and non-profit sectors; and encouraging its employees to respond to NGINX related matters on Stack Overflow and Twitter.
Google has made its COVID-19 datasets free to access and query. Researchers can also use Google's BigQuery ML language to create and execute machine learning models for free. Google's COVID-19 public dataset program is to remain in effect until 15 September.
Google has already had a number of measures in place to ensure that its systems stay up and running during the coronavirus crisis. For more than ten years it has carried out regular disaster recovery testing to identify and address potential problems before they happen, and its engineers operate from multiple locations. With some businesses experiencing increased online sales while consumers stay at home, Google has also activated its enhanced support structure which was developed for peak demand situations like Black Friday.
Last month, Google announced availability of Game Servers beta, which is a managed service offering the Kubernetes-based, open source Agones game server hosting project cofounded by Google and Ubisoft. Agones automatically scales Kubernetes to meet unpredictable player demand, and so its launch is conveniently timed to help cope with the increased amount of online multiplayer gaming taking place while many people are either self-isolating or on lockdown during the global coronavirus crisis.
Online gaming is helping some companies to weather the pandemic, such as Chinese technology group Tencent, which expects revenues from its games business to hold up better than that of its main rival, Alibaba, whose Taobao Tengine web server currently powers 13.7 million websites. Alibaba's co-founder, Jack Ma, has donated coronavirus test kits and masks to Europe and the US despite the effect the pandemic has had on its Tmall and Taobao retail businesses.
Finally, Netcraft has been protecting consumers and businesses from the despicable — yet inevitable — influx of coronavirus-themed cybercrime, which has recently scaled up a notch. The types of fraudulent activity that are purposely exploiting the pandemic include tax refund scams and other phishing attacks that have been modified to make use of coronavirus-themed emails, as well as smishing, password-stealing malware, advance fee scams, and masses of fake online stores purportedly selling COVID-19 vaccines, cures and related protective equipment.
|Developer||March 2020||Percent||April 2020||Percent||Change|
In the March 2020 survey we received responses from 1,263,025,546 sites across 257,194,796 unique domains and 9,659,223 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 94,300 computers, 2.12 million sites and 3.00 million domains.
Microsoft and nginx both saw increases in the total number of domains in March 2020, with nginx gaining 4.84 million domains (+7.2%) and increasing its market share by 1.6 percentage points to 28.1%. Microsoft gained 215,000 domains, though this was not substantial enough to avoid losing market share to nginx.
nginx’s sharp increase saw it overtake Apache in terms of domain market share for the first time, with a marginal lead of 136,000 domains. However Apache continues to lead nginx by a considerable amount in terms of active sites—despite losing 225,000 active sites this month, Apache maintains an 8.21 percentage point lead in market share over nginx. Apache also leads in terms of web-facing computers, though with only 3.17 percentage points separating them from nginx.
Several server vendors which hold a lower market share saw mixed results this month. Google lost 115,000 domains but gained 510,000 active sites, while Oracle lost 27,800 domains and 22,200 active sites. Both hold less than one percent of domain market share, with Google claiming 0.87% (-0.06 percentage points), and Oracle holding 0.22% (-0.01 percentage points).
After having gained almost 2 million domains every month since December, Cloudflare’s rapid growth slowed this month with a gain of only 714,929 domains. Cloudflare power their content delivery network with their own server software, originally based on nginx, which accounted for 9.31% of observed domains.
NGINX released several new versions of its products this month. The nginx web server was updated to 1.17.9 with several small changes and bug fixes, one of which is related to HTTP/2 support. The company’s dynamic application server NGINX Unit was updated to 1.16.0, adding functionality which allows more configurable round-robin load balancing.
LiteSpeed Technologies released version 5.4.6 of their LiteSpeed Web Server. This release adds support for the latest draft specification of HTTP/3, which itself was published in mid-February. The release also hardens the server’s default TLS configuration by disabling support for TLS 1.1 unless enabled by the user.
Apache also released versions 8.5.53, 9.0.33, and 10.0.0-M3 of Apache Tomcat, which include several small feature updates and bug fixes.
|Developer||February 2020||Percent||March 2020||Percent||Change|
In the February 2020 survey we received responses from 1,260,909,305 sites across 254,192,929 unique domains and 9,564,965 web-facing computers. This reflects a loss of 35.1 million sites and 11,900 computers, but a gain of 4.57 million domains.
The largest swings this month were seen for nginx. Despite losing 28.7 million sites and 64,500 web-facing computers, nginx excelled in other metrics this month, including a 3.06 million increase in unique domain count and a 675,000 increase in active sites count, building upon its rapid growth from last month.
Apache increased its share of the sites market this month by 0.53 percentage points, owed largely to the aforementioned drop in sites for nginx. This comes despite a drop of 1.77 million sites for Apache. Apache also lost 187,000 domains and 97,500 active sites this month. Apache did, however, gain an extra 6,400 web-facing computers. Apache is presently the most commonly used web server in terms of domains, active sites, and computers, and also has the greatest portion of the top one million busiest sites. The only metric in which it is currently beaten is the relatively unstable total count of sites (hostnames), for which nginx currently holds first place.
Microsoft saw modest growth in its counts of active sites (+193,000), web-facing computers (+9,890), and domains (+536,000). Microsoft saw a reduction of 2.65 million sites, but, like Apache, was left with an increase in its market share overall.
Apache released versions 7.0.100, 8.5.51, and 9.0.31 of its Tomcat Java Servlet software. The updates, which are largely the same across the major versions, include fixes, improvements, and some refactoring. Coyote, the HTTP connector component of Apache Tomcat, was found serving around 325,000 domains this month.
NGINX released an update for NGINX Unit, their open source dynamic application server, adding support for Ruby 2.7 and addressing a number of bugs.
|Developer||January 2020||Percent||February 2020||Percent||Change|
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