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175 MILLION websites still powered by Windows Server 2003

Alibaba, cloud offshoot Aliyun, Natwest and ANZ bank running the orphaned OS

Windows Server 2003 support ended a month ago today, but there are still 175 million websites on the public internet – about one in five – that are powered by the operating system.

Plenty of the machines also run Microsoft Internet Information Services 6.0, a version of Redmond's web server that has primitive security compared to its successors.

The 175 million number comes from Netcraft's regular count of the world's websites and the web servers behind them. The company's August survey found 874,408,576 sites running on 5,391,301 web-facing computers. Of those, the company is satisfied that 609,000 are running Windows Server 2003. And of those, 73 per cent are running IIS 6.0. Microsoft's web server was completely re-written for version 7.0, which emerged with Windows Server 2008. Version 11 is due next year with Windows Server 2016.

The bottom line? About ten per cent of all web-facing computers are running old and poorly-secured web servers, at least by today's standards.

Netcraft names the UK's Natwest and Australia’s ANZ banks among those still running Windows Server 2003 on their web servers. The big offender appears to be Chinese e-comerce outfit Alibaba and its cloud computing spinoff Aliyun, which run over 30,000 Windows Server 2003 servers between them. The report suggests “hundreds of other banking sites also appear to be using Windows Server 2003.”

The good news is that, as the graph at the top of the story shows (go here, readers on mobile devices), is that the operating system is in rapid decline on web servers.

The web server survey is otherwise uncontroversial this month, reporting Apache's ongoing dominance of the web server market with 50.67 per cent of active sites. nginx is in second place with 13.93 per cent share, ahead of Microsoft with 10.66 per cent (and all that) and Google's 8.08 per cent state. ®

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