Apache vs. IIS – What is your favorite market share statistics?

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Mon, October 22, 2007 - 7 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

It is always interesting to see how various kinds of statistics of Web server market shares come to totally different results. This leaves room for everyone to choose which statistics just suits them best or is to their own liking [1] [2]. In this post, I compare four prominent statistics (Netcraft, Google, Port80, Security Space) with respect to the market shares of IIS and Apache.

I rounded the numbers and compared different months. Considering the huge differences between those statistics, this doesn’t matter anyway.

Ogranisation / Web Server Apache IIS
Google (June 2007) 66% 23%
Netcraft (October 2007) 48% 37%
Port80 (July 2007) 25% 55%
Security Space (September 2007) 74% 19%

Of course, the different results are due to different counting. However, all organizations claim that their numbers represent the Web server market shares. Netcraft seems to count every domain, Google excluded domains without root URL, Security Space only counts domains with backlinks, and Port80 only includes Fortune 1000 companies.

The Netcraft data includes tons of parked domains. Security Space tries to avoid this fallacy by including only domains that someone found interesting enough to link to. They claim that they exclude personal web sites this way which certainly is doubtful. I suppose their data contains mostly personal blogs. Google’s method probably excludes many professional sites, because only they work with redirects.

In my view, the data of Port80 is the only one where the word “market share” really makes sense, since they only count corporate sites where someone deliberately chose the Web server software. If you just count domains you inevitably include myriads of bloggers who don’t even know what Web server they are using.

However, it is also obvious that very big companies (IBM and Google excluded) tend to prefer commercial software over Open Source. I suppose that the market share of Apache is much bigger among mid-sized and smaller companies. Yet, most interesting is that Apache gained ground among Fortune 1000 companies. Last year Apache only had a market share of 20% in this field. This corresponds to an increase of 5% compared to 2007. I think this is due to the fact that Open Source content management systems are getting more and more powerful.

The recent rise of IIS in the Netcraft survey shows that Microsoft’s strategy to add more features for hosting companies is quite successful. Presumably, this didn’t increase their market share significantly, but it is quite helpful for marketing since the Netcraft study is the one most often cited. In the future, Microsoft will certainly try to convince developers of Open Source content management systems to move to the Windows platform. The better support of PHP in IIS7 is already one step in this direction.

Anyway, what is your favorite IIS-Apache market share statistics? I guess there are countless ways to interpret the differing numbers.

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7 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. Alan Lord says:

    As the saying goes: “There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics.” (Probably Benjamin Disraeli). So we can all use them to prove what ever we want to :-)

    It is interesting that the Fortune 1000 seem to favour IIS. I am quite surprised at that with the appalling security record it had, especially a couple of years back.

    Some other surveys would suggest that “big business” is actually starting to favour Open Source and is moving (albeit quite slowly) away from Microsoft in the server space: http://www.theopenlearningcentre.com/content/view/27/66/1/1/ with link to the original source (IBM) too.

    One other point may be to do with legal concerns. We are fortunate here in the EU to not be encumbered by the ridiculous patenting laws that exist in the USA [and also perhaps a generally less litigious culture]. The Fortune 1000 are mainly, I assume, American businesses. Perhaps there is more reticence on their part to deploy OSS as they might fear being sued by M$ or another Patent Troll… Just a thought…

    Thanks

    Alan
    The Open Sourcerer

  2. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    I wouldn’t take data about Open Source that comes from IBM too seriously. They are trying everything to push Linux and Open Source in general. I believe that Linux and also Apache made some progress recently among big companies. However, the reason is that many just moved from other UNIX systems to Linux. This also applies to Apache. Many still had Netscape servers running and now moved to Apache. There is no reason to believe that Open Source is a serious threat to Microsoft at the moment. Even Ballmer accepted this now.

  3. Alan Lord says:

    Hi again, “There is no reason to believe that Open Source is a serious threat to Microsoft at the moment. Even Ballmer accepted this now.”

    I’m not quite sure where you get that idea from? The survey data and analysts reports from all over the place are all saying much the same thing… Open Source is gaining at an incredible pace and is already dominant in certain enterprise niches.

    This eweek article (sorry about their stupid ads at the beginning) which covers what Gartner (a ususally pro M$ research group) think about Open Source.

    “Open-source products accounted for a 13 percent share of the $92.7 billion software market in 2006, but should account for 27 percent of the market in 2011 when revenue is expected to be $169.2″

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2186932,00.asp

    And there are many more with similar general findings. Why do you think M$ is working so hard to bolster their revenue by using IP Licensing and Legal suits rather than developing and selling software that customers actually want?

  4. Michael Pietroforte Michael says:

    I think you misunderstood me. I have no doubt that the Open Source business is doing well. It is improving every year. But the same applies to Microsoft’s revenues. It seems to me that they are even growing faster since Open Source is so successful. Actually, I think that Open Source helped Microsoft to extend their business in the server market. Open Source almost ruined some of Microsoft’s biggest competitors such as Sun or SCO. Maybe even IBM lost more with Open Source than they earned with it. I think in the future Microsoft will embrace Open Source more and more. Microsoft’s earns with selling software, not with programming it. If others can earn with selling OSS why not Microsoft?

  5. Alan Lord says:

    Yes I did “grab the wrong end of the stick” a bit, sorry.

    I have read somewhere recently (but I can’t find the source) that almost all of Microsoft’s *profitable* business comes just from Windows OS and the Office portfolio.

    It would be interesting to see if there is really a shift of balance – which I expect there is – towards Open Source… I try and get most news items and reports etc so I’ll keep looking. But the EU seems keen to develop it’s Open Source credibility and they are funding quite a few research activities.

    Balmer has recently said that they may well be buying Open Source companies in the near future. The challenge for them will be to keep the community on-board. They are pretty much hated in our world. With their antics over the ISO/OOXML and the recent EU Antitrust case they have a long way to go before they become as respected as the likes of Sun and IBM. Even Oracle are becoming more and more “open”. They just released a new driver for PHP to work with their db and gave it to the community.

    We do live in interesting times and it’s good to dialogue :-)

    Thanks

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  7. Statistics are of course always interesting (the famous quote, I believe, was from Mark Twain BTW), but I call upon everyone to do their own survey. Just open your top-10 personal favourite websites and see what they run on. Go on.
    Heck, take the first 100. Or 1000. Okay, now go find a hosting provider for your own website. The vast majority default to Linux/Apache.

    Sure, among the Fortune 1000 companies Windows is predominant. I’m sure a couple of years ago Windows 2000 would be the most-used OS in that segment as well, but that (obviously) doesn’t mean it was the most-used OS at the time. Sorry, but big bucks simply aren’t representative.

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