Sep 24, 2008

What the Web’s most popular sites are running on

Apache serves the most pages
With Linux hosting comes the common use of the Apache web server. It’s by far the most deployed web server on the Internet with a 58.7% market share (Netcraft), so it’s only natural that it would also be used by a majority of the sites in the survey.
However, even though it’s the behemoth in the web server market, Apache is slowly losing ground to competing platforms such as Microsoft’s IIS and up-and-comers like Lighttpd, at least according to data from companies such as Port 80 and Netcraft.
MySQL dominates the databases
With open source ruling the game it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the database of choice for all but one of the sites is MySQL, the ultra-popular Swedish open-source database.
“The features that you get for free on MySQL, with replication, in-memory and fault-tolerant databases (if using MySQL cluster), transaction support, and the wicked performance, cost thousands of dollars with other database engines,” says Joseph Kottke, director of network operations at FeedBurner.
These sentiments are echoed by the other participants in the survey as well.
“We needed something proven, flexible and low-cost,” says Simon Yeo, director of operations at Meebo. (His alternative title is “ops guy.” Other laid-back titles at Meebo include “marketing dude,” “server chick,” and “Mr. Sparkle.”)
These sites are far from alone in favoring MySQL. According to the MySQL website it’s the fastest-growing database in the industry, with more than 10 million active installations and 50,000 daily downloads.
PHP rules server-side scripting
Just like Apache is the most common web server software, PHP rakes in another “win” for open source when it comes to server-side scripting languages. PHP has been the most popular server-side scripting language for years and will probably remain so for some time, despite the hype around Ruby on Rails and other frameworks and scripting languages that are growing in popularity.
How the survey was made
The seven participants all responded to a set of 28 survey questions (all responses available in the PDF matrix) plus a number of follow-up questions about their website infrastructure where they could further explain their choices.
Pingdom Infrastructure Survey

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