Analysis: Netcraft snoops Web sites

Netcraft, the company that surveys Web server use released its latest report for April. What's always interesting to look at with any Netcraft survey is the amount of detail it compiles. For instance, from the survey we can tell that the majority of Web sites use the open-source Apache Web server software.

In April, more than 21 million servers used Apache, nearly twice as many as those using Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) software. A variety of Web server software fills out the remainder of the list, much of it open-source software like Apache.

In third and fourth place after Microsoft IIS are Zeus and Netscape Enterprise. Zeus is well known as a high-performance Web server.

The gap between the top four Web server software in use and the rest is huge. For instance, in 17th place is Zope, which is freely downloadable from http://www.zope.org/ and runs on Winndows, Linux, Unix and MacOS X. Only a little over 8,800 servers used Zope.

In April, the most requested sites landed clearly in the Microsoft camp. The first most requested site is http://www.billgates.com , a domain that is for sale by the owner, DomainMart, for $1 million. So far, there are no takers. The second, third and fourth most visited sites also have to do with Microsoft. They are http://www.wehavethewayout.com , http://www.windowsxp.com and http://www.microsoft.com . My favorite search engine, Google, takes the No. 7 spot behind Netcraft and Hotmail.

At Netcraft's site, you can find what Web server software a site is running. There are no surprises here - Microsoft runs IIS on Windows 2000, Sun runs Netscape on Solaris and Apple runs Apache on the Mac OS X platform. The White House (http://www.whitehouse.gov) runs Linux, but it's unknown what type of Web software is used. Government officials would likely say that it's a matter of national security - the less you know about the site, the more difficult it is to launch an attack against it.

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