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Over the last two years the most common reason for a Hosting Provider making the news was when the company went bust. Hoswever, outside of the mainstream newsflow, some companies have been growing strongly.
A table of the Hosting Providers who grew the fastest during 2002 is provided as an excerpt from our Hosting Provider Server Count. Companies are included in the filter if they started 2002 with more than 500 servers, finished with at least 1000, and grew at a rate of better than 33% year on year. This removes hosters which can show a significant percentage increase simply by virtue of starting small.
The top of the table shows that fast growth in the hosting industry is closely linked to providing good value at a low price. 1&1 and Host Europe both offer extremely cheap shared hosting packages, while Rackshack has more or less defined the market for low-cost dedicated servers. Colt is often amongst the cheapest quotes for bandwidth in the cities in which it operates.
Several of the leading dedicated server companies have produced annual growth over 40%. Additionally, many of the larger telecoms companies are showing good rates of growth of web servers on their networks, in part from Hosting Resellers and DSL and Cable connections as well as their own hosting operations.
Limitations of the Hosting Provider Server Count include the following;
- Only sites found by the Web Server Survey will be included. The number of hosts found running internet web sites by the Web Server Survey is large [over 40 million in April 2003], but not exhaustive.
- Sites are attributed to companies by performing a reverse DNS lookup on each responding ip address in the Web Server Survey. If reverse DNS lookups have not been configured or otherwise fail, the count for the company will correspondingly reduced. To mitigate this we provide an additional view of the data compiled by Netblock registration. In practice the most successful hosting companies seem to set up reverse DNS correctly.
- Backend machines such as database servers not running web sites will not be counted, as they are unseen from the Internet.
- At most one server will be counted for each site. Round robin DNS, reverse web proxies, load balancing products like Cisco Local Director and BIG-IP and some connection level firewalls hide multiple web servers behind a single hostname.
Full details of the Hosting Provider Server Count are available.
The Netcraft Web Server Survey is a survey of Web Server software usage on Internet connected computers. We collect and collate as many hostnames providing an http service as we can find, and systematically poll each one with an HTTP request for the server name.
In the April 2003 survey we received responses from 40,100,739 sites.
Market Share for Top Servers Across All Domains August 1995 - April 2003
|Developer||March 2003||Percent||April 2003||Percent||Change|
Note that this graph shows only Operating Systems serving less than 40,000 hostnames
The number of sites running Windows Server 2003 has overtaken Solaris 9, in spite of the fact that Windows Server 2003 does not launch until later on this month.
Solaris 9 launched in May 2002. However, Sun seems to take relaxed view about envangelising new operating system versions; even www.sun.com is still running Solaris 8. www.microsoft.com is at the opposite end of the product advocacy spectrum and started running Windows 2003 last July.
www.sun.com is now reporting its server signature as "SunONE WebServer 6.0". We think that this is simply part of the rebranding of the web server away from Netscape-Enterprise, rather than a new product.
www.coke.com appears to have switched from AIX to Linux, but in fact this is a feature of it starting to use the Akamai network for its front page.
NASA are now running something called "NASA_Webserver/2003 (NASA) mod_jk/1.2.1-beta-1" on Novell Netware. We think that this is likely to be a locally modified Apache running behind a Novell ICS reverse proxy server. In contrast to Kellogg's, NASA appear to have moved the site off their own network to AT&T.
Meanwhile, www.walmart.com have made a change to their server signature to make it appear less obviously like a copy of Apache with a hand edited server header, and more like Microsoft-IIS. We speculate that forthcoming site enhancements at Walmart may include changing the name of the JServSessionId cookie.