Apache quickly surrenders web server market share to Microsoft, Google

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – Apache continues its rapid decline in web server market share. While Microsoft has reached a new record high in the segment, Apache also has to deal with advances of Google and has lost almost 10 market share points during the first seven months of the year.

According to Netcraft's August web server survey, 50.92% of the web's 128.0 million websites are currently running an Apache web server. This number is down from 52.62% last month. In the same time frame, Microsoft was able to gain almost 1.4 points from 32.84% to 34.28%, which is the highest share for the company recorded by Netcraft so far (surveys began at the end of 1995).

Since the beginning of this year, Apache has lost about 16% of its market share (9.72 points), which stood at 60.64% in January. Microsoft held 30.67% at that time. This development reveals that Microsoft gained a little less than half of the market shares surrendered by Apache. The lion's share of the other half can be found at Google, which becomes a more important force in the hosting market, mainly through its Blogger service. According to Netcraft, Google now hosts 5.70 million sites, or about 4.45% of all currently registered domains – a new record for Google. The remaining "lost" shares in this scenario were attributed to lighttpd, which is estimated to account for 1.17% of the market according to Netcraft.

Sun and Zeus hold a small portion of the market as this time. Sun has 1.72% and Zeus 0.44%, according to Netcraft.

Apache has seen several short term market share drops and recoveries over the past ten years, most notably a drop from close to 70% in May of 2001 to 57% in May 2002. The hosting market is especially vulnerable to strategy changes at large web hosting firms that can impact the web server software of hundreds of thousands of domains in a single month.

However, the current development is somewhat unusual, as Apache has been surrendering market shares over an extended period of time, a trend which began late in December 2005. In November of 2005, Apache recorded its all-time high of 70.98% (Microsoft: 20.24%). By January 2006, Apache had dropped to 67.11% and by January of this year to 60.64%. Microsoft increased its share in the same time frame to 20.64% and 30.67%.