March 2017 Web Server Survey

In the March 2017 survey we received responses from 1,760,630,795 sites and 6,271,146 computers, reflecting a loss of 31 million sites, but a gain of 34,000 computers.

nginx was the only major web server vendor to increase its market shares in all four metrics this month. Its share of websites grew by 0.49 percentage points, reaching nearly 20%, and its share of web-facing computers grew by 0.39 p.p. to 19.6%. The latter gain was driven by a 31,000 growth in the number of computers running nginx, which was by far the largest computer growth in the survey.

Microsoft suffered the largest loss in March, falling by 70 million sites and taking its share down by more than 3 percentage points. This drop paved the way for Apache to claw back 0.91 points with its gain of 9.4 million sites. Microsoft’s market share of sites now stands just below 40%, though this remains nearly as much as Apache and nginx combined.

Microsoft also suffered the largest and only loss of active sites among the major vendors, reducing its total count of active sites by 421,000. Microsoft’s active sites share is now less than 9%, far behind nginx’s share of 19.7% and Apache’s 45.8%.

nginx was the only major vendor to increase its presence within the top million sites, increasing its count by 1,592, while Apache lost 3,502 and Microsoft lost 746.

Microsoft web servers

Among the 704 million sites that are powered by Microsoft web server software, Windows Server 2008 is still the most commonly used platform. The original version of this operating system shipped with Microsoft IIS 7.0 as its web server, while the subsequent Windows Server 2008 R2 release included IIS 7.5. More than half a billion websites are hosted on Windows Server 2008 computers (including R2), which accounts for 72% of all Windows-hosted websites.

Although its R2 version was released more than 7 years ago, Windows Server 2008 is likely to remain prevalent for several more years. Last year’s launch of the Windows Server Premium Assurance program allows customers to extend Windows Server 2008’s support period from 10 to 16 years, giving access to security updates (as well as “critical” and “important” bulletins) until January 2026.

A further 185 million sites are still running on Windows Server 2003 computers, which are not covered by the Windows Server Premium Assurance program. The extended support period for Windows Server 2003 ended on July 14, 2015, so unless site operators have a special agreement in place, Microsoft will no longer be issuing security updates for any version of Windows Server 2003. US-CERT warned that these unsupported installations of Windows Server 2003 are exposed to an elevated risk of cybersecurity dangers, such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows Server 2016, may still seem in its infancy, but it is now starting to show promising growth. 80,200 sites are now being served from Windows Server 2016 machines, which is nearly 20,000 more than last month. The number of web-facing computers running Windows Server 2016 also grew by 2,509, while Windows Server 2008 lost 2,316.


Windows Server 2016’s computer growth was outpaced only by Window Server 2012, which gained 7,100 computers this month. Windows Server 2012 now accounts for 463,000 web-facing computers, which is nearly half as many as Windows Server 2008, but it is used to host far fewer websites – just 22 million compared with the 535 million sites hosted on Windows Server 2008 computers.

Total number of websites

Web server market share

Developer February 2017 Percent March 2017 Percent Change
Microsoft 773,552,454 43.16% 704,000,530 39.99% -3.18
Apache 374,297,080 20.89% 383,707,112 21.79% 0.91
nginx 348,025,788 19.42% 350,540,372 19.91% 0.49
Google 18,438,702 1.03% 18,849,171 1.07% 0.04

Web server market share for active sites

Developer February 2017 Percent March 2017 Percent Change
Apache 79,593,938 45.78% 79,942,445 45.82% 0.05
nginx 34,088,228 19.60% 34,317,972 19.67% 0.07
Microsoft 16,031,854 9.22% 15,611,256 8.95% -0.27
Google 11,656,739 6.70% 11,684,677 6.70% -0.01

For more information see Active Sites

Web server market share for top million busiest sites

Developer February 2017 Percent March 2017 Percent Change
Apache 414,118 41.41% 410,616 41.06% -0.35
nginx 283,409 28.34% 285,001 28.50% 0.16
Microsoft 101,909 10.19% 101,163 10.12% -0.07
Google 17,648 1.76% 17,538 1.75% -0.01
Web server market share for computers

Developer February 2017 Percent March 2017 Percent Change
Apache 2,747,316 44.05% 2,746,528 43.80% -0.25
Microsoft 1,538,553 24.67% 1,533,658 24.46% -0.21
nginx 1,194,644 19.15% 1,225,842 19.55% 0.39


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