Worldwide web servers usage trends during 2013 and 2014 offer insights and useful information on the online industry. The number one web server in the world is easily Apache. Regarding the top 10 million websites in the world, Apache servers are used to host 64.2% of all sites in the world. Nginx and Microsoft-IIS host 16.3% and 14.5% of global websites respectively. There is no other single server hosting over 2% of global sites.

Nginx: a Major Mover

Nginx is a Russian offering that has just recently overtaken Microsoft-IIS server in December of 2013. Statistically, it is the biggest mover relative to all servers. Current analysts project a continued rise by Nginx. Although Apache is the top dog, beating every competitor together, the usage rate for Nginx is increasing globally. Combine this with its significant market share for high-traffic web pages hosted, and Nginx is undoubtedly in business.

Apache: A Durable Giant

However, looking forward, there still seems to be no real competitor for Apache. Representing a very steady rate of global hosting, Apache never dipped below 60% of market share in the 2013 calendar year. Hosting both a balance of low traffic and high traffic sites, Apache has a lot to offer. With a client list including Wikipedia, Apple, Craigslist, the BBC, and, Apache is formidable. Recently, acquisitions of sites including Paypal, Fox Sports, and Comcast make a case for continued growth and success. Due to the increase in dynamic sites, one must also think of how fast the overlying technology can run on the HTTP web server. In many regards, Apache is the fastest, but there are other options out there for those looking for the edge.

Increased Threats to Web Hosts

2013 saw a host of server threats emerging, and two trends were most notable. The first involves a complex task where configuration files modified in ways that attached malware to data, rendering attacks against host computers, files, and local servers. The second type of attack saw root files deleted or disabled, making fixing the bug harder to eradicate.

High traffic sites and web hosts become especially vulnerable to such attacks, making up at least 90% of unrecognized malware and viruses to anti-virus programs. As primary servers go under attack, smaller competitors may attempt to steal market share by offering added security. Webmasters met with a shortage of options for server hosting, so significant breaches of security or lost optimization could set the course for a server switch. It could be considered to be security through obscurity, but web hosts know that a significant security breach or high profile downtime will see their customers looking to move to another service.

Continued Server Optimization

As threats emerge, servers must be optimized to improve functionality and security. Milliseconds make all of the difference, especially when magnified over a series of queries or transactions. It is easier to understand that a server running 50 times slower than another is a problem, rather than saying the one server serves pages in 4 milliseconds and another takes 200 milliseconds for a static page.

With the increased interactivity, these numbers must also consider for dynamic content, which creates even more extensive ranges in performance. Dynamic content is much more stressful for a server than serving pure static content and introduces some new bottlenecks which must manage. Speed is everything to technology, and these fractions make the world of difference in the information technology sector.

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Photo credit Flickr / andrewfhart

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