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 was published in June 2000  which aimed to provide answers to these questions. The survey has been repeated recently in order to see if there has been any significant changes.
Netcraft  is a company based in Bath which carries out surveys of Web server software. The Netcraft survey is very comprehensive, with over 36 million sites having been polled. 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.
The aim of the initial survey was to profile the server usage within the UK HE community. 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.
The survey has been repeated in order to detect interesting trends: are we, for example, seeing a growth in the numbers of servers due to use of personal Web servers and desktop computers? Or are we seeing a reduction in the numbers, due to institutions taking a more centralised approach to use of Web servers?
A number of caveats to this survey should be noted:
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. When 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.
For the most recent survey the total number of Web servers had increased to 4,571, with an average of 28.6 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 publicly-accessible Web servers, with 73 institutions running between 1 and 9 servers (79 in May 2000) and only 11 running more than 100 (9 in May 2000).
There has not been a major change in the profile in the numbers of Web servers used across the community. We have seen a increase, small in many cases, although there have been a number of substantial jumps (e.g. Stirling with a growth from 26 to 87 and Strathclyde from 46 to 110).
After the previous survey was published there was speculation that we would shortly be seeing a substantial jump, as broadband networks became available, which would allow home computers to be "always on", allowing users to run Web servers from home. There was an exception that this change, which would be accompanied by enhanced personal Web server tools, would influence the profile of server usage within institutions (with the accompanying challenges of management, security, etc.) However this change has not happened, and we are still awaiting the widespread deployment of broadband networks.
We also do not appear to be seeing significant changes in institutions moving from a small number of centrally managed servers to a distributed environment or, alternatively, from a distributed environment to a centrally managed one.
The Netcraft service was used to count the number of web servers used by UK Universities. The survey was initially carried out on 1 May 2000 and repeated on 5 June 2000. The data given below was obtained on 11 March 2002.
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 servers found within the university's domain.
Note the following limitations in the survey:
|Institution||No. of Servers
1 May 2000
|No. of Servers
5 June 2000
|No. of Servers
12 March 2002
|Current No. of Servers|
|Anglia Polytechnic University||43||41||35||Try it|
|Bath Spa||1||1||2||Try it|
|Belfast, The Queen's University of||28||33||50||Try it|
NOTE: Used <www.bham.ac.uk> and not <www.birmingham.ac.uk>
|Bolton Institute of Higher Education||21||17||20||Try it|
|Bournemouth University||15||15||22||Try it|
|Bretton College||1||1||1||Try it|
|Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College||1||1||1||Try it|
|Canterbury Christ Church||1||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||5||Try it|
|Central England, University of (UCE)||13||12||20||Try it|
|Central Lancashire||3||2||4||Try it|
|Central School of Speech and Drama||1||1||1||Try it|
|Cheltenham and Gloucester College of HE||3||3||5||Try it|
Used .chester to avoid confusion with Manchester and Chichester
|Chichester College||2||2||2||Try it|
|College of Guidance Studies||1||0||1||Try it|
|Coventry||Not known||27||25||Try it|
|Dartington College of Arts||1||1||1||Try it|
|De Montfort (DMU)||61||57||61||Try it|
|East Anglia, University of (UEA)||20||20||28||Try it|
|East London||10||9||12||Try it|
|Edge Hill||5||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||29||Try it|
|Glasgow School of Art||2||2||3||Try it|
NOTE <www.goldsmiths.ac.uk> and not <www.gold.ac.uk> (which has 17 sites)
|Harper Adams||1||1||1||Try it|
Used .ic.ac.uk and not ic.ac.uk to avoid confusion with uwic.ac.uk in March 2002 survey
|Institute of Education||4||5||5||Try it|
|Kent Institute of Art and Design||2||1||1||Try it|
|King Alfred's College, Winchester||5||4||4||Try it|
|King's College London (KCL)||33||32||35||Try it|
Note initially used lancaster.ac.uk and not .lancs.ac.uk
|Try it (Lancaster)
Try it (Lancs)
|Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU)||3||2||5||Try it|
Used .le.ac.uk to differentiate from Newcastle, Bournville, Skelmersdale, Isle and Keele
|Lincolnshire and Humberside||2||1||1||Try it|
|Liverpool John Moore||17||15||18||Try it|
|Liverpool Hope||1||1||1||Try it|
|London Business School||7||5||1||Try it|
|London Guildhall||1||1||3||Try it|
|London Institute||8||6||8||Try it|
|University of London (Institutes)||6||6||7||Try it|
|London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)||19||16||23||Try it|
|London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine||3||3||3||Try it|
Note <www.lboro.ac.uk> and not <www.lut.ac.uk>
|Manchester Institute of Science & Technology (UMIST)||66||59||66||Try it|
|Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)||43||41||35||Try it|
|Manchester Business School||1||1||1||Try it|
|Medicine, University of Wales College of||2||2||4||Try it|
|North-East Wales Institute of Higher Education (NEWI)||2||2||6||Try it|
|North London (UNL)||8||8||10||Try it|
|North Riding College Higher Education Corporation||1||1||1||Try it|
|Northampton, University College||1||1||1||Try it|
|Northern College of Education||10||10||13||Try it|
|Northern School of Contemporary Dance||1||1||1||Try it|
|University of Northumbria at Newcastle (UNN)||13||14||19||Try it|
|Norwich School of Art and Design||1||1||1||Try it|
|Nottingham Trent||28||22||37||Try it|
|Oxford Brookes||0||0||4||Try it|
Used .port.ac.uk to differentiate from Newport
|Queen Margaret University College||1||1||2||Try it|
|Queen Mary and Westfield College||69||62||7||Try it|
|Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication||1||1||1||Try it|
|Ripon and York St John, College of||2||2||1||Try it|
|Robert Gordon University||6||4||6||Try it|
|Rose Bruford College||1||1||1||Try it|
|Royal Academy of Music||1||1||1||Try it|
|Royal College of Art||16||13||16||Try it|
|Royal College of Music||1||1||3||Try it|
|Royal Holloway||42||41||30||Try it|
|Royal Northern College of Music||4||4||3||Try it|
|Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama||2||2||0||Try it|
|Royal Veterinary College||1||1||1||Try it|
|St Andrews||37||38||52||Try it|
|St George's Hospital Medical School||8||5||14||Try it|
|St Mark and St John, College of||3||3||2||Try it|
|St Mary's College||1||1||1||Try it|
|School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)||1||1||3||Try it|
|Scottish Agricultural College||3||3||4||Try it|
|Sheffield Hallam University||15||16||11||Try it|
|South Bank University||19||18||39||Try it|
|Southampton Institute||3||2||4||Try it|
|Stirling||30||26||87 **||Try it|
|Strathclyde||49||46||110 **||Try it|
|Surrey Institute of Art and Design||2||3||3||Try it|
|Swansea Institute of Higher Education||1||1||1||Try it|
|Thames Valley||15||15||18||Try it|
|Trinity and All Saints||1||1||1||Try it|
|Trinity College of Music||1||1||1||Try it|
|Trinity College, Carmarthen||1||1||2||Try it|
|University College London||117||110||117||Try it|
|Welsh College of Music and Drama||1||1||1||Try it|
|West of England, University of (UWE)||14||11||21||Try it|
|Westhill College||1||1||1||Try it|
|Worcester, University College||0||0||1||Try it|
|Writtle College||1||1||1||Try it|
|Wye College||0||0||1||Try it|
Table 2 gives a summary of the top 5 web sites with the largest number of web servers as reported by Netcraft.
|Institution||No. of Web Servers (1 May 2000)||No. of Web Servers (5 June 2000)||No. of Web Servers (12 March 2002)||Current Value|
UK Web Focus
University of Bath