Microsoft’s IIS Serves More High-Traffic Sites than Apache

In stark contrast to statistics released by Netcraft, a survey conducted by San Diego-based Port80 Software indicates that Microsoft’s Internet Information Services (IIS) server is used by more high-traffic Web sites than the rival Apache server.

Netcraft’s Web server findings, based on a survey of more than 47 million Web sites, have consistently indicated that Microsoft’s IIS server garners about 20 percent of the Web server market, trailing the Apache open-source server’s 67 percent.

Port80 Software, however, polled the 1,000 most-visited Web sites on the Internet and found that IIS serves more than 43 percent of those high-traffic sites, while Apache accounts for slightly less than 40 percent of that market segment.

“The results kind of fly in the face of Netcraft’s results,” Port80 director of sales and marketing Chris Neppes told TechNewsWorld. “IIS is definitely a much larger player than indicated by Netcraft’s survey.”

Who’s Winning?

Port80 officials said the new survey of the most-trafficked sites resulted from criticism that surveying millions of sites, including small, so-called “mom and pop” sites, did not offer sound data on which server was used most by leading sites.

“Basically, there was not one survey answering the question of who’s winning,” Neppes said.

Port80 COO Joseph Lima told TechNewsWorld that his company expected IIS to rank higher than in Netcraft’s surveys based on Port80’s previous surveys and other findings.

“Netcraft canvasses millions of sites, whereas Port80 focuses on selective samples of high-traffic and major corporate Web sites,” Lima said. “In response to our Fortune 1000 survey, many critics suggested that sampling the highest-traffic sites would make for a more enlightening survey.”

Not Microsoft Manufactured

While the high-traffic site findings are likely to come under fire as a marketing move by or for Microsoft, Port80 officials denied the Redmond, Washington-based software giant was behind their company’s survey. Specifically, Neppes said that although Port80 is a certified Microsoft partner, the survey was neither paid for nor requested by Microsoft.

Lima said the survey could be easily reproduced by any third party, referring to Port80’s publicly accessible methodology and a free, Web-based tool that will identify the Web server in use by any site.

“Our data is not proprietary,” Lima said. “Our methods are public and open. That’s why we feel comfortable standing behind [the survey].”

Lima and Neppes stressed that they do not claim their survey results are the definitive answer on who is winning the server race, but they indicated the high-traffic survey adds a significantly different perspective to the debate.

Growing Server Pie

Despite a reference to the growing popularity of open-source solutions, such as the Apache Web server, IDC analyst Jean Bozman told TechNewsWorld that the market for all servers, including those from Microsoft, is growing.

“The whole pie has gotten somewhat bigger,” Bozman said.

While findings from both Port80 and Netcraft indicate the dominance of Apache and Microsoft’s IIS in the Web server market, both Bozman and Port80’s Lima said there is increasing room for more competition from smaller players, including Zeus and SunONE, which presently garner just 5 percent of the Web-server market combined, according to Netcraft.

Server Parity

Lima said one reason for Netcraft’s higher ranking of Apache might be a survey bias toward large, virtual-hosting environments, the numbers for which could favor the open-source server.

However, Neppes said Port80’s findings indicate IIS is just as scalable, while Lima said his company’s survey more accurately highlights the true parity among Web servers today.

“It’s more a reflection of the genuine fact that servers are so good now [that] it’s based more on the choice of people in an organization or their staff,” Lima said.


  • I call bull. The top 1000 sites seems very arbitrary. Wouldn’t a few arbitrary studies be a little more accurate? Such as top 10, 100, 1000, 10000, top web hosting providers, top government sites, top private sector sites, top e-commerce sites, etc. etc.I AM willing to bet they did do quite a few tests; And the one that resulted most favorably for Microsoft was released publicly. Though they were not directly paid, I sure wouldn’t be too suprised if they recieved the Microsoft royal treatment in benefits. i.e. getting to go to Microsoft trade shows as VIP’s etc. etc. I think almost every industry "study" has become COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY UNRELIABLE. That goes for both sides. IBM and Sun too (though they are not nearly as bad as MS). I do not for one second believe the credibility of a company that does a report on IIS that uses IIS (though they mask their server identification, IIS is pretty easy to fingerprint). Not only do they use it, they freakin are the IIS equivalent to mod_perl and O’Reilly combined. They write software for IIS. This is the equivalent of the good folks at mod_perl doing a study resulting favorably for Apache. Take this one with a huge grain of salt. Please visit their website for yourself and see exactly what they do, they sell IIS related software.

    • THe number one site??
      Yahoo= not IIS
      MSN and microsoft are the same place. and are the same site
      were yahoo to divide things by,,…and google did the same they may well make up the top 100 sites.
      AOL, google, AM azon, geocities, mapquest, cnn, lycos, netscape, weather, about, adobe, tripod, real, all not IIS. In fact the only sites running IIS and not on the Microsoft netblock. are dell, ebay and go. Go is now owned by Disney who’s entire family is not IIS (abc, disney,, espn) so I imagine Disney will bring them into line eventually. Ebay is still on NT4 which makes them a perfect candidate for migration to Open Source. Oh and dell who I would not be surprised if they get uber discounts for selling 99.9% MS based stuff.
      I have seen enough. And as for the port80 folks running servermask, doh it’s their product to mask IIS server versions….Oh and stroll over to netcraft and witness the other half of the battle. Uptimes….

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