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Apache's HTTP server gained a fresh lease of life in 2010, widening the gap on rivals and consolidating its position as the web's most popular web server.

Crunching data from Netcraft, web monitoring service Royal Pingdom says that the number of websites using Apache surged 37 per cent between December 2009 and December 2010, growing to 152 million sites.

Apache's closet competitor is still Microsoft's IIS, which hosts 57 million sites - an increase of 16 per cent. Google's own web server ran 14.9 million sites, an increase of 5.6 per cent. Google Web Server is used only by Google, and it was originally built on Apache code.

In terms of market share, Apache now runs 59.4 per cent of sites, Microsoft 22.2 per cent, and Google 5.9 per cent.

According to Royal Pingdom, there were a total of 255 million websites on the internet by the end of last year, an increase of nine per cent. You can read more here.

Apache HTTP server version 1.0 was released in 1995, the same year as IIS, which was originally a set of web-based services bundled with Windows NT 3.51.

"Apache is arguably one of the most emphatic open source successes, a product that has consistently since its birth been the preferred web server for millions upon millions of webmasters," Royal Pingdom says. "Unless something drastic happens, it will remain dominant for a long time to come." ®

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