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Web Server Market: Microsoft Gains, Apache/Linux Declines

The primary reason for the shift was because domain registrar GoDaddy migrated over 3 million host names from Linux to a Windows environment, according to Netcraft, a security services and research firm.

Microsoft Corp. took a big chunk of the Web server market this month at the expense of Apache running on Linux, as a major domain registrar moved to the Windows platform, a research and security firm said Thursday.

The Redmond, Wash., company gained a 4.7 percent share while the open-source alternative fell 5.9 percent, making the shift one of the largest one-month swings on record, U.K.-based Netcraft Ltd. said. Microsoft's bonanza was driven by domain registrar Go Daddy migrating 3.5 million hostnames from Linux to Windows.

Nevertheless, Apache remains by far the leading Web server with nearly 63 percent of the market as of April, according to Netcraft. Microsoft is a distant second at 25 percent.

The recent shift means Go Daddy becomes the world's largest Windows Server 2003 host from being the biggest Linux host, as measured by hostnames, Netcraft said. The company plans to move 4.4 million hostnames to the Windows platform.

Technology trends among registrars traditionally have a big impact on the Web server market. Microsoft's last big surge came in 2001 to 2002, and was driven by migrations at and VeriSign, Netcraft said. GoDaddy is the second huge registrar to make the shift, since a recent move by ENom Inc.

Among the other major registrars, 1&1 Internet and Dotster host on Linux, while Network Solutions uses Solaris, Netcraft said.

Warren Adelman, president and chief operating officer of Go Daddy, told Netcraft the company made the move because "Microsoft provides an efficient and scalable operating platform, while also providing the performance needed to handle our extraordinary growth."

Meanwhile, Netcraft also reported that the Web has doubled in size in the past three years, growing to more than 80 million Web sites as of April.

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