Web Server Market Share and HTTP Compression

In January, I wrote about an interesting Port80 Software survey that concluded that IIS is the dominant Web server platform for Fortune 1000 companies' public Web sites. Port80 conducted another survey this month and again concluded that IIS dominates the Fortune 1000 market. The new survey's results indicate that IIS has 53.7 percent of the market share. The next closest competitors are Netscape and Apache Web servers, with 18.6 percent and 16 percent of the market, respectively. Netscape continues to decline as a Web server choice for Fortune 1000 companies, losing 2.4 percent in the July survey. The survey data also indicates a general shift from Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0 running on Windows NT 4.0 systems to Internet Information Services 5.0 (5.0) running on Windows 2000. IIS 6.0 running on Windows Server 2003 appears on the survey, but only at 0.5 percent. I'll be interested to see how the IIS 6.0 number jumps when Port80 conducts its next survey.

Another result to note is the Other category, which consists of IBM, Lotus, unknown, and other Web servers and which jumped significantly to 11.7 percent. I'm guessing that the "other" option in the Other category comprises variants of Linux-based Web servers. You can check out the most recent survey results at http://www.port80software.com/surveys/top1000webservers .

Port80 also recently completed a survey about HTTP compression, an underused technology for accelerating Web sites and Web-based applications. When IIS receives a request, HTTP compression checks to determine whether the browser is compression-enabled. IIS then checks the filename extension to determine whether the requested file is static or contains dynamic content. If the file contains static content, IIS checks to determine whether the file was previously requested and has been stored in a compressed format in the temporary compression directory. If not, IIS sends the uncompressed file to the browser, compresses the file, then adds the compressed copy to the temporary compression directory. If the file was previously requested and is already stored in a compressed format, IIS sends the compressed file to the browser. In some cases, HTTP compression technologies can make Web applications and sites run dramatically faster, reducing bandwidth costs. To learn more about HTTP compression and how to enable it in IIS, click the following URL: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/windowsserver2003/proddocs/standard/qos_utilbandwdth.asp?frame=true .

Very few of the Fortune 1000 companies--only 2.9 percent--realize HTTP compression benefits. Port80 speculates that the Fortune 1000 could save more than 25 percent in bandwidth costs (millions of dollars annually) and more than 30 million bytes of data on their home pages alone by using HTTP compression. As you might expect, Internet-savvy companies such as Google, Amazon, and Yahoo! use HTTP compression.

IIS 6.0 has HTTP compression built in, which contributes to its fantastic performance. Chris Page, chief technical information officer (CTIO) for Web-hosting provider MaximumASP, understands the importance of HTTP compression technology. He said, "Prior to upgrading to Windows Server 2003 and IIS 6.0 as our hosting platform, MaximumASP closely evaluated several third-party HTTP compression technologies and found that HTTP compression actually improves the performance of the IIS Web server while significantly reducing the bandwidth required to deliver content. At that time, we chose to wait until we moved to IIS 6.0 to start utilizing HTTP compression, which has excellent HTTP compression built in, but there's no question in our minds that any Web server not running IIS 6.0 will benefit from employing third-party HTTP compression tools."

A list of the top 10 companies that would benefit the most and least from HTTP compression among the Fortune 1000 is available on the Port80 Web site, and I bet that some of the companies on the list will surprise you ( http://www.port80software.com/surveys/top1000compression/toptencompression ). If you want to see the individual statistics for each company on the survey or test your own site's HTTP compression, visit the following URL: http://www.port80software.com/surveys/top1000compression .

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