June 27th, 2007 - by Golgotha

According to a study done by Port80.com in August 2006 they found that “Microsoft IIS serves 54.9% of Fortune 1000 web sites.” I’ll be honest, I would have lost money on that; my money would have been on Apache.

Does this surprise anyone else?

I decided to do some research of my own using Firefox and the Web Developer extension to view each website’s Response Headers to see what web server they’re using. Here’s what I found:

The graph below shows the web servers of the top 20 Fortune 500 companies for 2007.

Web Servers of Top 20 Fortune 500 companies for 2007

  1. Wal-Mart Stores – Microsoft-IIS/6.0.0
  2. Exxon Mobil – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  3. General Motors – Sun-ONE-Web-Server/6.1
  4. Chevron – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  5. ConocoPhillips – Microsoft-IIS/5.0
  6. General Electric – Sun-ONE-Web-Server/6.1
  7. Ford Motor – Microsoft-IIS/5.0
  8. Citigroup – unknown
  9. Bank of America – Sun-ONE-Web-Server/6.1
  10. AIG – IBM_HTTP_Server/ Apache/2.0.47 (Unix)
  11. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. – Apache/2.0.55 (Unix)
  12. Berkshire Hathaway – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  13. Verizon Communications – Microsoft-IIS/5.0
  14. HP – Apache
  15. IBM – IBM_HTTP_Server
  16. Valero Energy – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  17. Home Depot – IBM_HTTP_Server/ Apache/2.0.47 (Unix)
  18. McKesson – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  19. Cardinal Health – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  20. Morgan Stanley – Apache

The data supports that Microsoft IIS still serves the majority of Fortune 500 companies in 2007. Interesting, but what about web-based companies? Many of the top 20 Fortune 500 companies are banks or oil companies; what if we looked at internet based companies? Would Microsoft IIS still hold the lion share?

I looked at 20 popular internet-based companies to see what web server they are using. These are companies where their primary business is done online. Here’s what I found:

Web Servers of Popular Internet Companies for 2007

  • Google – GWS/2.1
  • Yahoo – unknown
  • Amazon – unknown
  • Ebay – Microsoft-IIS/5.0, Apache-Coyote/1.1
  • Digg – Apache
  • Apple – Apache/1.3.33 (Darwin) PHP/5.2.1
  • Craigslist – Apache/1.3.34 (Unix) mod_gzip/
  • Technorati – Apache
  • WordPress – LiteSpeed
  • YouTube – Apache
  • Dell – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  • Monster – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  • NVIDIA – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  • Mozilla – Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat)
  • Newegg.com – Microsoft-IIS/5.0
  • CBS Sportsline.com (Fantasy Football) – Apache/1.3.28 (Unix)
  • Overstock – Apache
  • Adobe – Apache
  • Myspace – Microsoft-IIS/6.0
  • StumbleUpon – Apache/2.0.55 (Ubuntu) PHP/5.1.2

Here we see that Apache serves the majority of internet-based companies – serving 50%, while Microsoft IIS serves only 15%.

Obviously 20 companies is not a huge sample size, but I think it’s representative enough that those percentages would remain fairly steady even if we increased the sample size to 100.

Do these findings surprise you?

What are your experiences in the work place?

What conclusions can we draw?

Cheers to Yahoo and Amazon for taking a basic security step and masking their web-server.

26 Responses to “Microsoft IIS vs Apache / Who Serves More?”

1 Mark

They don’t surprise me. Very large companies have been using MS for a very long time. They are almost married into it and no way to escape. The some of the collaboration tools that MS offers, and the ability to tie it all back into the users desktop, and with 90% of home PC being Windows based, they can program for Windows all day long.

Internet sites need low over head and high though put. A LAMP server will do this at the cost of hardware. You may not get the corporate integration that IIS offers, but you do get a lower TCO than with Windows. Internet based companies are all about low overhead.

If integration will ever happen from Apache to other software on the home users Linux desktop, I don’t know. It would be interesting to see the if there would be as many security holes in that as there are in IE and IIS.

2 John

Doesn’t surprise me either considering the number of .NET job vacancies I see being advertised (although there is a large number for PHP programmers too).

3 Golgotha

Which part don’t you find surprising?

I assumed that Apache dominated the web server world and I guess it does for web based companies. Which IS my world. 🙂

But I really wasn’t expecting IIS to have such a foot hold in the Fortune 500 companies. I think Mark might be on to something though. That companies get married into the Microsoft family with SQL Server and the development frameworks and IDEs.

4 Jelena

Tbh, those stats doesn’t surprise me. The percentage of Apache would grow if you took larger sample of web based companies (especially if you consider smaller ones), for sure, but large companies such as Wal-Mart will always go with IIS and that I don’t think will change anytime soon.

5 brandaggio

Many if not all of the board members of M$ are board members of many other Fortune companies – it is a fraternity where they do mostly pseudo business with each other to prop up their sales and profit figures. This is a simple, provable fact and business as usual in these circles – it is a self perpetuating system.

The point is, as an entrenched big business you would naturally look to work with another, big entrenched vendor – and not some commie, open source cr4p :).

A new, technology agnostic company, with no shared board members or interests, is free to choose the most cost effective available technology – which is why they often do not choose M$.

One of the byproducts of this rampant behavior is the stifling of innovation.

6 Ryan VanZan

I agree with brandagglo about the fraternity aspect of major corporations. I am not surprised at all that most of the fortune 500 companies are using MS. However, I’m a little surprised that HP isn’t using MS.

My experience dealing with big corporations is that they are run by people who merely project themselves as capable, competent managers. In reality these people are often close-minded and completely selfish. The close-mindedness is another thing that makes these companies shy away from Apache. They also don’t see the value in something that hasn’t been sold to them by another slick corporation.

7 zoid

I don’t surprise either. I am also using MS IIS to host my ASP.NET blog.

8 » Apache vs. IIS, round n CQ2

[…] Apache may still rule in absolute numbers, Microsoft has long controlled the corporate market. Here’s some less quantitative, more anecdotal information that points in that […]

9 stybba

“Big business conspiracy theory” gets pretty weak once you start to live with the issues that ever-larger organizations face. (In my experience, there is simply too much organizational chaos for any kind of conspiracy to thrive). The bizarre idea that LAMP lowers TCO to ‘just the cost of the hardware’ suggests what, that the resources work for free? In a start up maybe you do… In a model where the core business transaction is NOT an online credit card sale, and multi-billion$ of assets are at play over decades, there are many more things to consider. Google ‘collaboration platform’ and see the difference between a php site (no matter how fast you develop it) and corporate computing concerns. I respectfully suggest that drawing conclusions based on choice of web server is kind of a narrow tech head pre-occupation, not a business exercise; and inferring elaborate big business cabals from the same data is fanboy stuff.

10 josh

many fortune 500 companies are run by older gentleman in there 50’s and 60’s and as we all know that age group is kind of technology dumb and affraid of change thier theories are ussualy if its not broke dont fix it,apache is no doubt a much superior system in my mind and most companies that have grown up in the technology boom years are used to seeking out newer better technologies thus in the younger age group i would think you would find that most companies would use apache in an overwelming number, no offense i respect older people but my grandpa still uses a 1960 toaster and is in no way inclined to replace it lol.even though it toast slower and occasionaly burns the bread slightly its not gonna get replaced because it still makes good toast 70 percent of the time a lot of those older ceo’s on fortune 500 companies do not even use computers,they have others that perform that work for them unfortunatly those ceo’s are the same ones purchasing the web contracts.i highly doubt theyd change thier whole systems without being able to comprhend the explanation of the differances.they know they have a system that works ad if they change it and it fails they also know theyd lose thier big fat bloated paychecks.no offense to microsoft intended but they cant even make a secure browser that performs well much less a server network,only thing microsoft did was develop tthe technology first well thier dinasours now its time to crawl in the tarpit and die i would think the poll that shows internet companies ovrwelmingly choose apache also shows somthing more.if the companys e-smart and educated it goes with apache who do you think knows more about internet aplications walmart a clothes store or e-bay a company born and raised on the internet internet smart people overwelmingly choose apache systems.you factor that in with the fact that everything microsoft releases has millions of security holes and needs further developement and testing example internet explorer and their gee wiz piece of crap new vista system that people are dumping by the millions to go back to xp then you realise that firefox allthough not preinstalled on any computer sold is the prefered browser of 53 percet of the worlds computers and it is a browser that has to be installed not standard equipment.i think the message to microsoft is clear sorry mr gates but windows is your only product left thats superior.and a lot find that point debatable.as the younger people grow up and become ceo’s of these companies microsofts market share has declined steadily in the webserver game and eventualy will bottom out much as the sale of cotton candy has dropped steadily since the 1904 worlds fair.in 50 years people wont even know what a microsoft server was.theyl think its a tennis practice machine.

11 Ionel Roiban

There has been strong speculation that Walmart is actually running Apache natively with the server signature hand edited to say “Microsoft-IIS/5.0”

Netcraft writes this:

“Webservers that operate behind a caching system, load balancer, reverse proxy server or a firewall may sometimes report the operating system of the intermediate machine. Hence reports of ‘Microsoft/IIS on Linux’ may indicate that either the web server is behind a Linux server that is acting as a reverse proxy, or has configured the Akamai caching system such that the first request to the site goes to one of Akamai’s servers [which run Linux], or as in the case of http://www.walmart.com has been configured to send a misleading signature.”

-source: http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/accuracy.html#impossible

[…] to Apache, with over 30% of the web using their Windows Server which a study in 2007 operated by search-this.com showed that Microsoft Server was used mostly on websites that are for Fortune 500 companies in […]

13 emmanuel

I guess you forgot to mention that apache is free and cheap companies and start-up will use apache. I fall in that category so i hope no one even tries bashing on this. With that said, i admire the free software enterprise because i, for one, benefit from it, but i just cant imagine going to work for free. Can you? May be if you can answer that, then this free vrs IIS will be settled deep in our thoughts.

14 Michel Bakker

Doesn’t surprise me either. Microsoft has been very low with in internet market. But I surely see this as growing, since it is IIS 6.0 we are talking mostly about, not a very old version.

The number of vacancies concerning .NET Development has to do with the growth of the .NET platform. It has rapidly become one of the most popular platform because of it’s rapid maturing and the possibilities it gives on Enterprise level.
Probably also because (FREE OS == CHEAPER) isn’t true.

ASP .NET can not be hosted on Apache (considering most sensible options).

I think the IIS chart will grow in the next years. Companies are ALWAYS STUCK with the OS, even with Linux. Changing always costs a lot of money.

15 Ahmed Samir

Apache is 49.49 % and Microsoft IIS is 35.57 % in the wold

In the July 2008 survey we received responses from 175,480,931 sites.
The web has grown by 3.14 million sites over the past month,
2.2 million for Apache web servers and 1.4 million for Microsoft IIS



16 Raul

Seems logical that those who offer Internet services are not using IIS just because it is a relatively new product and they are working on this issue for quite some.
It’s cool to see people affirming that the Fortune 500 CEOs are outdated and unable to recognize the benefits of a product to explain a reality that they do not like.

17 Canon zr960

I am not surprised at all that most of the fortune 500 companies are using MS. However, I’m a little surprised that HP isn’t using MS.

18 Canon ZR960

Apache is free and cheap companies and start-up will use apache. I fall in that category so i hope no one even tries bashing on this.

19 Peter

I’ve been in Windows server administration about 8 years, the last 3 of which for a web host. We started running Windows 2003 with IIS 6.0 since its inception early 2003. Due to the nature of what is required of me.

20 Sony KDL32XBR9

I admire the free software enterprise because i, for one, benefit from it, but i just cant imagine going to work for free.

21 Sylwester w Górach

i wonder how about todays statistics i know that Apacha is better but just to see how muth peaple work on IIS

22 Paul

I see that Wal-Mart Stores have upgraded to Apache/2.2.15 since this was written. .NET is a dog that needs to be shot in my opinion. There is no place for it anymore.

23 Walmart aplications | BloomDigit

[…] Microsoft IIS vs Apache / Who Serves More?There has been strong speculation that Walmart is actually running Apache natively with the server signature hand edited to say “Microsoft-IIS/5.0″… […]

[…] There are a wide-variety of methods that I’ve found, one person checked all Fortune 500( http://www.search-this.com/2007/06/27/microsoft-iis-vs-apache-who-serves-more/ ). For what its worth I liked his idea.  This other […]

25 john3322

One thing I notice though, while most of those top Fortune companies use IIS, the websites they are serving are somewhat basic (except for Walmart obviously which is a top 10 merchant). Exxon, Chevron etc. pretty much only serve data with possibly a simple search. When you get to displaying product catalogs, online transactions, the heavier websites with big DB connectivity, security measures, etc. it seems that Linux is very strong, probably running Apache, IBM Http Server, etc. Sites like Ebay, Staples, Apple, Amazon probably don’t use IIS on their transaction sites. It would be interesting to see a current (2011) study of the top online retailers.

26 Common Misconceptions About Linux - Linux Digest

[…] a few that shows reports of which Web Servers are used the most, and what years they were taken: 2007 – search-this.com, 2008 – Pingdom, 2009 – Netcraft, 2010 – pingdom.com, 2011 – […]

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