Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Web Watch: A Survey Of Numbers of UK University Web Servers

How many web servers are there in the UK Higher Education community? Brian Kelly provides some answers.

How many web servers are there in use within the UK higher education community? What is the profile of server usage within the community - do most institutions take a distributed approach, running many servers, or is a centralised approach more popular? A WebWatch survey has been carried out recently in an attempt to answer these questions.

The Tools Available

Netcraft [1] is a company based in Bath which carries out surveys of Web server software. The Netcraft survey is very comprehensive, with the survey in May 2000 successfully polling over 15 million sites. Netcraft publish monthly reports on their surveys [2].

Netcraft also provide an interface which enables details of the Web server used at a site to be obtained. The service also provides a search facility which can be used to list the Web servers used within a domain (or part of a domain). This facility can be used to, for example, list the Web servers which have .microsoft in the domain name.

The Netcraft interface is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Netcraft interface
Figure 1: Netcraft interface

This service has been used to analyse Web servers used in UK Universities. The results are provided in Appendix 1 of this article.

Why Carry This Survey?

The aim of the survey is to profile the server usage within the UK HE community and to detect interesting trends. Knowledge of the server usage within the community has a number of possible benefits: for example, knowledge of server profiles will help developers of robot software, especially robots which are targeted at the HE / public sector communities.


A number of caveats to this survey should be noted:

Summary of Findings

The total number of Web servers found on 1 May 2000 was 3,986. Excluding institutions for which Netcraft reported 0 Web servers, an average of 19.4 servers per institution was found.

The survey was repeated on 5 June 2000. The total number of Web servers had reduced to 3,773, with an average of 24.2 servers per institution.

A histogram of the results is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Histogram of Results
Figure 2: Histogram of Results

As can be seen, most institutions have a small number of publically-accessible Web servers, with 79 institutions running between 1 and 9 servers and only 9 running more than 100.


  1. Netcraft,
  2. Web Server Survey, Netcraft

Appendix 1: Survey Results

The Netcraft service was used to count the number of web servers used by UK Universities. The survey was carried out on 1 May 2000 and repeated on 5 June 2000.

The following table contains details of the survey. Column 1 gives the name of the institution and a link to the institutional web server. Column 2 gives the number of web server found within the university's domain.

Note the following limitations in the survey:

Domain Name Variants
The survey will not detect unusual domain names variants used within an institution: e.g. a link from www.lse-maths.ac.uk will be included in the numbers of servers in the domain lse.ac.uk.
Short and Link Domain Names
Institutions which make use of a long and short form of their domain name (e.g. www.bham.ac.uk and www.birmingham.ac.uk) will have misleading results.
IP Numbers
Servers which use an IP number rather than a domain name will not be included.
Netcraft Limitations
The database used by the Netcraft service may be incomplete.

Table 1: Numbers of Web Servers In UK HEIs
InstitutionNo. of Servers
1 May 2000
No. of Servers
5 June 2000
Current No. of Servers
Aberdeen2624Try it
Abertay76Try it
Aberystwyth89Try it
Anglia Polytechnic University4341Try it
Aston2218Try it
Bangor1920Try it
Bath Spa11Try it
Bath129Try it
Belfast, The Queen's University of2833Try it
Birkbeck1312Try it
NOTE: Used <www.bham.ac.uk> and not <www.birmingham.ac.uk>
6664Try it
Bolton Institute of Higher Education2117Try it
Bournemouth University1515Try it
Bradford4747Try it
Bretton College11Try it
Brighton3338Try it
Bristol5448Try it
Brunel138Try it
Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College11Try it
Cambridge338318Try it
Canterbury Christ Church11Try it
NOTE Used <www.cardiff.ac.uk> and not <www.cf.ac.uk> (which has 9 sites)
21Try it
Cardiff, University of Wales Institute (UWIC)55Try it
Central England, University of (UCE)1312Try it
Central Lancashire32Try it
Central School of Speech and Drama11Try it
Cheltenham and Gloucester College of HE33Try it
Chester College
Used .chester to avoid confusion with Manchester and Chichester
44Try it
Chichester College22Try it
City3732Try it
College of Guidance Studies10Try it
CoventryNot known27Try it
Cranfield2121Try it
Dartington College of Arts11Try it
De Montfort (DMU)6157Try it
Derby33Try it
Dundee3228Try it
Durham22Try it
East Anglia, University of (UEA)2020Try it
East London109Try it
Edge Hill55Try it
Used .ed.ac.uk to differentiate from Bized and RCSED
265259Try it
Essex3130Try it
Used .ex.ac.uk to differentiate from essex
112Try it
Falmouth11Try it
Glamorgan1413Try it
Glasgow Caledonian University2222Try it
Glasgow School of Art22Try it
Glasgow182174Try it
Goldsmiths College
NOTE <www.goldsmiths.ac.uk> and not <www.gold.ac.uk> (which has 18 sites)
54Try it
Greenwich1513Try it
Harper Adams11Try it
Heriot-Watt3533Try it
Hertfordshire2523Try it
Huddersfield32Try it
Hull4342Try it
Imperial155146Try it
Institute of Education45Try it
Keele1010Try it
Kent1515Try it
Kent Institute of Art and Design21Try it
King Alfred's College, Winchester54Try it
King's College London (KCL)3332Try it
Kingston33Try it
Lampeter22Try it
Lancaster32Try it
Leeds106101Try it
Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU)32Try it
Used .le.ac.uk to differentiate from Newcastle, Bournville, Skelmersdale, Isle and Keele
1616Try it
Lincolnshire and Humberside21Try it
Liverpool2223Try it
Liverpool John Moore1715Try it
Liverpool Hope11Try it
London Business School75Try it
London Guildhall11Try it
London Institute86Try it
University of London (Institutes)66Try it
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)1916Try it
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine33Try it
Note <www.lboro.ac.uk> and not <www.lut.ac.uk>
2422Try it
Luton68Try it
Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST)6659Try it
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)4341Try it
Manchester152142Try it
Manchester Business School11Try it
Medicine, University of Wales College of22Try it
Middlesex4638Try it
Napier3332Try it
Newcastle4941Try it
Newman33Try it
Newport55Try it
North-East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI)22Try it
North London (UNL)88Try it
North Riding College Higher Education Corporation11Try it
Northampton, University College11Try it
Northern College of Education1010Try it
Northern School of Contemporary Dance11Try it
University of Northumbria at Newcastle (UNN)1314Try it
Norwich School of Art and Design11Try it
Nottingham Trent2822Try it
Nottingham2827Try it
Oxford247235Try it
Oxford Brookes00Try it
Paisley152Try it
Plymouth3128Try it
Used .port.ac.uk to differentiate from Newport
3231Try it
Queen Margaret University College11Try it
Queen Mary and Westfield College6962Try it
Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication11Try it
Reading8989Try it
Ripon and York St John, College of22Try it
Robert Gordon University64Try it
Roehampton32Try it
Rose Bruford College11Try it
Royal Academy of Music11Try it
Royal College of Art1613Try it
Royal College of Music11Try it
Royal Holloway4241Try it
Royal Northern College of Music44Try it
Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama22Try it
Royal Veterinary College11Try it
St Andrews3738Try it
St George's Hospital Medical School85Try it
St Mark and St John, College of33Try it
St Mary's College11Try it
Salford3131Try it
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)11Try it
Scottish Agricultural College33Try it
Sheffield Hallam University1516Try it
Sheffield2825Try it
South Bank University1918Try it
Southampton160162Try it
Southampton Institute32Try it
Staffordshire55Try it
Stirling3026Try it
Strathclyde4946Try it
Sunderland2219Try it
Surrey Institute of Art and Design23Try it
Surrey2321Try it
Sussex1516Try it
Swansea Institute of Higher Education11Try it
Swansea3026Try it
Teeside1313Try it
Thames Valley1515Try it
Trinity and All Saints11Try it
Trinity College of Music11Try it
Trinity College, Carmarthen11Try it
Ulster253Try it
University College London117110Try it
Warwick4140Try it
Welsh College of Music and Drama11Try it
West of England, University of (UWE)1411Try it
Westhill College11Try it
Westminster College00Try it
Westminster77Try it
Wolverhampton6763Try it
Worcester, University College00Try it
Writtle College11Try it
Wye College00Try it
York2622Try it
Four institutions were reported as having 0 Web servers (Oxford Brookes, Westminster College, Worcester University College and Wye College). This is believed to be due to an error in the data collection. The data for the initial survey of Coventry University was lost.

Table 2 gives a summary of the top 5 web sites with the largest number of web servers as reported by Netcraft.

Table 2: Top 5 UK HEI Web Sites With The Most Number of Web Servers
InstitutionNo. of Web Servers (1 May 2000)No. of Web Servers (5 June 2000)Current Value
Cambridge338318Try it
Edinburgh248244Try it
Oxford247235Try it
Glasgow182174Try it
Southampton160162Try it

Author Details

Picture of Brian Kelly Brian Kelly
UK Web Focus
University of Bath

Email: b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk

Brian Kelly is UK Web Focus. He works for UKOLN, which is based at the University of Bath