Best kept secrets of the Web

Every few weeks I get sent an email from a company I've been getting emails from for nearly 20 years now, and it's one of the few circulars that never gets junked. Yet every time I mention the name, the typical response I get is "who?" .. to make matters worse, this is a UK company!

I am of course talking about Netcraft, if you want information relating to the Internet or the web in terms of statistics or history, this is always my first point of call. For a start, the newsletter they put out is invaluable for keeping up with both the growth of the Web and indeed what software I should be looking at with regards to infrastructure development.

Take this graph for example, when I'm asked "so how big is the web", I can churn out "ohh, around nine hundred million websites on around five and a half million computers ...", without facing accusations of talking utter nonsense.

But if you visit the site itself, there are all sorts of nuggets of information available, take the site report page, if you punch in a URL (website or otherwise) you might be surprised what you find. I just punched in "" for example and it happily knocks out the hosting history going back to 2004 including the hosting company, IP address, OS, and even the Web server and software version in use at the time.

If you're trying to make a decision about what web server technology to go for, this one is also pretty handy. Over the last 12 months or so I've switched from a combination of Apache and Lighttpd to NGINX, partly based on performance, but partly based on the trend you can see here ...

If lots of people are apparently moving away from the market leaders, there's often a good reason that's worth considering.