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  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 .
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
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:
- Web servers which are not publicly available, such as Intranets, will not be reported.
- Duplicate names for Web servers may be included in the reports.
- The report does not differentiate between real and virtual servers.
- The survey is reliant on the quality of the data obtained from Netcraft.
- Due to DNS and other configuration settings it is not possible to access all Web sites.
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
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.
- Web Server Survey, Netcraft
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
|Institution||No. of Servers|
1 May 2000
|No. of Servers|
5 June 2000
|Current No. of Servers|
|Anglia Polytechnic University||43||41||Try it|
|Bath Spa||1||1||Try it|
|Belfast, The Queen's University of||28||33||Try it|
NOTE: Used <www.bham.ac.uk> and not <www.birmingham.ac.uk>
|Bolton Institute of Higher Education||21||17||Try it|
|Bournemouth University||15||15||Try it|
|Bretton College||1||1||Try it|
|Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College||1||1||Try it|
|Canterbury Christ Church||1||1||Try it|
NOTE Used <www.cardiff.ac.uk> and not <www.cf.ac.uk> (which has 9 sites)
|Cardiff, University of Wales Institute (UWIC)||5||5||Try it|
|Central England, University of (UCE)||13||12||Try it|
|Central Lancashire||3||2||Try it|
|Central School of Speech and Drama||1||1||Try it|
|Cheltenham and Gloucester College of HE||3||3||Try it|
Used .chester to avoid confusion with Manchester and Chichester
|Chichester College||2||2||Try it|
|College of Guidance Studies||1||0||Try it|
|Coventry||Not known||27||Try it|
|Dartington College of Arts||1||1||Try it|
|De Montfort (DMU)||61||57||Try it|
|East Anglia, University of (UEA)||20||20||Try it|
|East London||10||9||Try it|
|Edge Hill||5||5||Try it|
Used .ed.ac.uk to differentiate from Bized and RCSED
Used .ex.ac.uk to differentiate from essex
|Glasgow Caledonian University||22||22||Try it|
|Glasgow School of Art||2||2||Try it|
NOTE <www.goldsmiths.ac.uk> and not <www.gold.ac.uk> (which has 18 sites)
|Harper Adams||1||1||Try it|
|Institute of Education||4||5||Try it|
|Kent Institute of Art and Design||2||1||Try it|
|King Alfred's College, Winchester||5||4||Try it|
|King's College London (KCL)||33||32||Try it|
|Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU)||3||2||Try it|
Used .le.ac.uk to differentiate from Newcastle, Bournville, Skelmersdale, Isle and Keele
|Lincolnshire and Humberside||2||1||Try it|
|Liverpool John Moore||17||15||Try it|
|Liverpool Hope||1||1||Try it|
|London Business School||7||5||Try it|
|London Guildhall||1||1||Try it|
|London Institute||8||6||Try it|
|University of London (Institutes)||6||6||Try it|
|London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)||19||16||Try it|
|London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine||3||3||Try it|
Note <www.lboro.ac.uk> and not <www.lut.ac.uk>
|Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST)||66||59||Try it|
|Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)||43||41||Try it|
|Manchester Business School||1||1||Try it|
|Medicine, University of Wales College of||2||2||Try it|
|North-East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI)||2||2||Try it|
|North London (UNL)||8||8||Try it|
|North Riding College Higher Education Corporation||1||1||Try it|
|Northampton, University College||1||1||Try it|
|Northern College of Education||10||10||Try it|
|Northern School of Contemporary Dance||1||1||Try it|
|University of Northumbria at Newcastle (UNN)||13||14||Try it|
|Norwich School of Art and Design||1||1||Try it|
|Nottingham Trent||28||22||Try it|
|Oxford Brookes||0||0||Try it|
Used .port.ac.uk to differentiate from Newport
|Queen Margaret University College||1||1||Try it|
|Queen Mary and Westfield College||69||62||Try it|
|Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication||1||1||Try it|
|Ripon and York St John, College of||2||2||Try it|
|Robert Gordon University||6||4||Try it|
|Rose Bruford College||1||1||Try it|
|Royal Academy of Music||1||1||Try it|
|Royal College of Art||16||13||Try it|
|Royal College of Music||1||1||Try it|
|Royal Holloway||42||41||Try it|
|Royal Northern College of Music||4||4||Try it|
|Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama||2||2||Try it|
|Royal Veterinary College||1||1||Try it|
|St Andrews||37||38||Try it|
|St George's Hospital Medical School||8||5||Try it|
|St Mark and St John, College of||3||3||Try it|
|St Mary's College||1||1||Try it|
|School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)||1||1||Try it|
|Scottish Agricultural College||3||3||Try it|
|Sheffield Hallam University||15||16||Try it|
|South Bank University||19||18||Try it|
|Southampton Institute||3||2||Try it|
|Surrey Institute of Art and Design||2||3||Try it|
|Swansea Institute of Higher Education||1||1||Try it|
|Thames Valley||15||15||Try it|
|Trinity and All Saints||1||1||Try it|
|Trinity College of Music||1||1||Try it|
|Trinity College, Carmarthen||1||1||Try it|
|University College London||117||110||Try it|
|Welsh College of Music and Drama||1||1||Try it|
|West of England, University of (UWE)||14||11||Try it|
|Westhill College||1||1||Try it|
|Westminster College||0||0||Try it|
|Worcester, University College||0||0||Try it|
|Writtle College||1||1||Try it|
|Wye College||0||0||Try 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
|Institution||No. of Web Servers (1 May 2000)||No. of Web Servers (5 June 2000)||Current Value|
UK Web Focus
University of Bath
Brian Kelly is UK Web Focus. He works for UKOLN, which is based at the University of Bath