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Apache Extends the Plateau

Netcraft's monthly survey (www.netcraft.com) of hosts providing HTTP service has told the story of Apache's long-running leadership ever since the survey began in mid-1995 when Apache weighed in with a share of just a few percents. Late that year, Apache, NCSA and “other” were all tied at around 30%. This was also when Microsoft's IIS came on the scene. Since then Apache and IIS have gained and held the leading two positions, with Apache taking the majority share by a wide margin. While IIS overtook “other” to assume second place in December 1997, with about 20% of all sites surveyed, Apache was already moving past a 50% share.

The story told since late 1998 has been a pretty stable one. Apache holds a strong 59.67% (down from 60.02%). Microsoft is up from 19.56% to 20.17%. Sun's iPlanet (which includes all the old Netscape servers) is down from 7.15% to 6.92%. But those are just shares of a total that is up for all three. Here are the gains:

  • Apache: up 590,305—from 12,705,194 to 13,295,499

  • Microsoft: up 352,960—from 4,140,977 to 4,493,937

  • iPlanet: up 27,169—from 1,514,106 to 1,541,275

The rising tide lifts even the most competitive boats.

The most interesting news coming out of Netcraft's latest survey concerns uptime. “Hosting locations with at least five popular sites queried several times each week are reported in order of average uptime, and a league table of the fifty sites with the highest uptimes on the Internet is also maintained”, Netcraft reports. The resulting graphs are pretty interesting. We see that Slashdot was rebooting almost daily going into late 1999 when uptime began to move past 60 days. One server has been up since May of this year (we're writing in November). Slashdot right now has a very respectable maximum uptime of almost 190 days and a 90-day moving average of over 120 days. Netcraft reports that Slashdot is running “Apache/1.3.12 (UNIX) mod_perl/1.24 on Linux”. By contrast, Microsoft has a max of 75.22 days and a 90-day moving average of 18.76, running “Microsoft-IIS/5.0 on Windows 2000”. To be fair, however, we can point to Starbucks, which now is past 215 days of uptime since moving to Windows 2000. This is also “the longest uptime of any Windows 2000 site we've seen on the Internet”. The overall record-holder is www.charite.de, which has been up 836.49 days or more than 2.5 years. It's running “Netscape-Commerce/1.1 on IRIX”.

By far the largest hosting site is Exodus Communications, which has 548 sites at just one “netblock” in Santa Clara, California. The four longest-running servers are all for Zope and all run Linux. They're averaging an uptime of 384 days, which also happens to be the entire measured period. Three run “Zope/(unreleased version) ZServer/1.1b1”. The other runs “Apache/1.3.4 (UNIX)”. Also on the Exodus list are smellygig.com (Apache on Solaris, 277 days), cluetrain.com (Apache on Solaris, 258 days), mysql.com (Apache on Linux, 183 days), whitehouse.com (yes, the XXX site, Apache on BSD, 162 days) and slashcode.com (Apache on Linux, 190 days).

Another interesting Netcraft observation concerns “how good the vendors are at running their own kit”. Among the list of hosting locations with the longest uptimes, VA Linux is in sixth place. Sun is at ninth. Microsoft is at 25th.

Netcraft's latest survey information is available at http://www.netcraft.com/survey/.

Say Where?

Disturbing Search Requests (DSR, http://www.searchrequests.weblogs.com/) is a “collaborative weblog dedicated to misleading search requests” that mines the veins of irony found in both site referrer logs and search-engine results derived from link-loving bots and engine algorithms that give maximum value to the most highly linked sites. So, DSR continues,

If you write a weblog on a regular basis, chances are you're going to post quotes from other sites, opinions from other people, etc. But since weblogs are highly linked to and from, they get indexed very well by search engines. So, even if you only once wrote about your hamster, and on the same day mentioned you were wearing a three-piece suit, Google just might list you as No. 1 for “hamster suit”. Now just imagine that you check your referrer logs and you find a query from a search engine, looking for “hamster suit”. This is where this site kicks in.

For example, Dave Bug of Geeklife (http://www.geeklife.com/) found that “Where are all the nice girls?” was not only a search request in his log files, but brought up The Value of Psychotic Experience (deoxy.org/w_value.htm) as a result on Google.

At this writing (November 20), there seems to be agreement among threads both within and linked to DSR, that Google and Yahoo (which uses the Google engine) sometimes exclude DSR from its findings. So we just typed “Disturbing Search Results” into Google, punched the “I'm feeling lucky” button and went straight to the site. Guess this isn't one of those times.


Doc Searls is the Editor in Chief of Linux Journal