Web Server Wars Religious, Not Productive

Posted: August 22nd, 2007
Filed under: Uncategorized

Last week, we released our updated surveys of Fortune 1000 Web sites and the Web technology they use to deliver their sites.

Port80 Software has been conducting this survey since 2003, when we felt there was so much negativity out there on Microsoft IIS.  Apache, long loved in the open source community and more widely used than IIS, and the Apachephiles themselves were always kicking sand in IIS’ face.  So, IIS’ ongoing lead in our Fortune 1000 survey as the Web server of choice (it still leads with 55% share in July 2007) has been a kind of a counterbalance against Netcraft’s surveys that had promoted the concept that Apache is so much more widely used on the Internet than IIS — so much so that you needed to have your head examined if you were still running IIS.   Or so the headlines told us…

Recently, IIS has been adding sites in Netcraft’s survey relative to Apache, gaining on the open source superstar, and this has upset folks in that camp.  Having blasted IIS for years, it must sting a bit to have the tables turned.  Our latest survey only strengthens the argument that IIS is on the rise, and the much-anticipated IIS7 release in Windows Server 2008 probably won’t help the numbers for Apache in the future.

But this story is really all old news.  True technologists know that is not so much the platform that you are building upon but rather what Web site or application you are building, that makes the difference.  Yes, we are an IIS shop, and yes we have stoked the fires of this somewhat religious Web server battle for supremacy, but at heart we know that IIS and Apache offer two different ways to serve Web content, two different ways to skin the Net cat, so to speak. Also, it is important to note the small but steady rise in alternate Web servers in the Fortune 1000 survey which demonstrates that IIS and Apache are not the only players here.

Port80 Software was recently quoted as saying that IIS is more difficult to tune and manage than Apache — we do not believe that.  Rather, this is the common perception among those unfamiliar with IIS or already in the Apache camp to say that “Apache is more secure” or easier to administer.  From Port80’s perspective, it is not what you serve with, but how much you configure, add on new functionality and work to solve tech and business problems.

We will keep producing our survey, as long as Netcraft is out there, to provide an alternative perspective.  But that’s all it is — one more slice of a very complicated Internet, one more story of technology in use, one more stat in your inbox.

Back to work,


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