Netcraft has developed a technique for identifying the number of computers rather than IP addresses acting as web servers on the internet, and attributes these computers to hosting locations through reverse DNS lookups. This provides an independent view with a consistent methodology worldwide on the numbers of web servers, the rate of growth over time, and the operating systems and web server technology used at each hosting company worldwide. The dataset is useful to hosting companies for competitive analysis, mergers and acquisitions, identifying international markets for organic expansion, and also to any organisation selling to the hosting industry. One of the common observations made about the Web Server Survey is that it counts hostnames rather than physical computers, and so is not a suitable metric to indicate the number of servers a hosting provider has. To build up sufficient certainty that IP addresses on the same computer have been identified, many visits to the sites in the Web Server Survey are necessary, which takes place during a period of over a month. The survey does not attempt to count back-end servers application or database servers or servers other than web HTTP servers.
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