Why do you need so many sites?
Our interest is network exploration rather than market research. The motivation has been simply to find as many sites as we can, and, having found them, report which server software is in use. In some ways this is easier than worrying about what size a sample should be to be representative, and how to select an unbiased sample. The philosophy is simply to read the Network and report what we find.
Major trends during the year
The graphs provide the best illustration of recent trends in survey share. The period has been characterised by a very considerable growth in the number of sites, and so even servers that have lost percentage share in the survey have still experienced a large increase in user base. NCSA’s considerable decline in share of the survey from 57% to 18% still reflects a increase in the number of the sites from 10,835 in August 1995, to 62,430 now.
The whole period has been dominated by success of the Apache project, whose server now runs more than one in three internet sites. Throughout 1995, Apache’s success was echoed by the Netscape server family; Netscape’s share of the survey peaked at 17% in March 1996, and has declined slightly since then. Most recently, the Microsoft Internet-Information-Server has enjoyed some success, curently holding 5.5% of the survey from a standing start in February 1996.
The growth of NT as a WebServer platform has been a subplot throughout the period; the percentage of sites known to be running on NT is 12.5%, and the actual figure, using Netscape’s estimate that 40% of their current sales are for the NT platform, is likely to be around 18%.
One thing that has remained fairly constant is the popularity of freely available servers; the difference is that whereas in July 1995 people chose NCSA or CERN, today it is more likely to be Apache or Microsoft.