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.”
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.
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.