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OS/Linux Distributions using Apache
May 1st, 2000

Report Description
The Apache server has in virtually any unbiased metric available (either from us or elsewhere) a majority market share in the web server market. Couple this with the fact that Apache will often provide hints as to the nature of the host OS it is running on, and one can view trends of linux distributions, how specialty OS' are performing in the server market and so on.

The principal is simple: when issuing a request for a page to an Apache web server, the response received consists of HTTP Response Headers as well as the body of the web page being requested. For example, consider if we connect to a host on port 80 and request the root document. Our transaction might look something like this:

$ telnet 80 Trying Connected to Escape character is '^]'. GET / HTTP/1.0 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 16:24:24 GMT Server: Apache/2.2.3 (Debian) DAV/2 PHP/4.4.4-8+etch4 mod_perl/2.0.2 Perl/v5.8.8 Last-Modified: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 14:01:07 GMT ETag: "62c786-15eb-43c23eac2cec0" Accept-Ranges: bytes Content-Length: 5611 MS-Author-Via: DAV Connection: close Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html> ...<snip> </html>

The above response headers show the Server: header indicating the version of Apache, various add-on modules, as well as the fact that this platform is running the Debian linux distribution.

Reporting by Hostname (Sample size: 130,071 web sites)
It should be noted that not all web servers will report back the Host OS signature. In an Apache configuration file, the ServerTokens directive can be used to to disable the disclosure of this information. Only configurations that do not specify the ServerTokens directive, or set it to Full may reveal sufficient information to allow disclosure of the OS and distribution hosting the server.

In this month's survey, 1,167,057 Apache servers were detected, but only 130,071 (11.15%) revealed sufficient information to detect the host OS. The remainder of the survey by host information shown below is based on this subset of Apache servers that revealed the host OS.

OS/Distribution April 2000
Hostname Count
April 2000
March 2000
Hostname Count
March 2000
Red Hat78,81160.5974,80160.88-0.47
Mac OS X7240.566050.4913.05

Reporting by Installation (Sample size: 61,533 IP Addresses)
The following graph and table are based on the same underlying data set as in the previous graphs and table, but with the distinction that we count unique IP addresses instead of unique hostnames, thus getting a more accurate representation of the number of actual web servers installed. (See Web Survey by IP for more details).

In this month's survey, 566,327 distinct IP Addresses hosted Apache servers, but only 61,533 (10.87%) revealed sufficient information to detect the host OS. The data below is based on this subset of servers that revealed the host OS.

OS/Distribution April 2000
IP Address Count
April 2000
March 2000
IP Address Count
March 2000
Red Hat40,43265.7138,80366.33-0.93
Mac OS X2990.492280.3924.68

Note: Readers are cautioned that the Growth percentages are based on a server's market share penetration rather than the absolute number of servers we detected. Thus, it is possible for the number of servers to increase, while the growth is actually a negative value.

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