nginx Continues Its Rise to the Top of the Web Server Market
We reported in January that open source webserver nginx was gaining adoption and had managed to surpass Microsoft IIS in the number of active sites. Netcraft has released its April web server survey and it seems nginx’s market share is continuing to rise.

A New Web Server for a New Web Market

A few years ago, Apache and Micrsoft IIS dominated the web server market. A quick look at Netcraft metrics from 2007 shows Apache hosting over 50% of domains and Microsoft in a relatively close second place with almost 40% of domains; all other web servers were resigned to share the remaining tiny market share.


source: Netcraft

The market is definitely changing. The number of sites surveyed by Netcraft has increased by more than 100% in the last year, growing from 676,919,707 sites in April 2011 to 312,693,296 in April 2012. That level of growth provides a big opportunity for market disruption, and some seems to be occurring.

Although Apache and Microsoft still lead the market from a hosted domains perspective with 79.12% of the market -- Apache with 65.46% and Microsoft with 13.66% -- seven-year-old newcomer nginx is rapidly gaining momentum. nginx now hosts 10.32% of domains, which is not much less than long-time number two Microsoft.

nginx’s growth is even more impressive when viewed in terms of active sites. nginx managed to wrestle the number two spot from Microsoft IIS in January by growing to 12.18% of active sites, while Microsoft fell to 12.14%. Looking at metrics from the beginning of the year, you can see that nginx has experienced almost three times the growth of IIS.

Metrics from the busiest sites shows a similar growth trend. Apache lost market share, slipping from 62.39% in March to 62.08% in April. In contrast, nginx grew almost a quarter of a percent to 10.09%.

Where nginx Is Going

Nginx may not be as well-known as Apache and IIS, but it does not seem that will be the case for much longer. Its low resource, fast performance design is attracting adopters from Facebook to Dropbox.

The adoption growth is also driving an expansion of nginx commercial strategy. Following in the footsteps of big open source players such as RedHat, nginx announced its first set of commercial services in February that ranged in price from US$ 12,000 annually to more than US$ 70,000 for 24x7 support. nginx also plans to release specs for a new open source product mid-year, and the actual product is targeted for the end of 2012.