Linux platform of choice: most popular websites got the facts

The uptime monitoring company Pingdom performed a survey (PDF) to sort out what seven of the most popular websites use to deliver services like blogging, blogging tools, file sharing, instant messaging, stock photo libraries, video sharing, and web statistics.

The article “What the Web’s most popular sites are running on” explores the underlying hardware and software that keep these famous websites working under heavy traffic conditions.

No news most of them use Apache, holding 58.7% of the market share, while for the very first time below 60 percent since September 2002, as is not a surprise that the database of choice for all but one of them is MySQL, and PHP is the most common server-side language scripting.

Pingdom Infrastructure Survey 2007Graph excerpt from the Pingdom Infrastructure Survey 2007

The seven participants all responded to a set of 28 survey questions (all responses available in the PDF matrix) plus a number of follow-up questions about their website infrastructure where they could further explain their choices.

Let’s see what participants said about their choices.

Linux was selected for multiple reasons. It has a proven track record in scaling, open source code to allow for altering code as necessary, price, excellent support if necessary and ease of finding talent to support and maintain it.
(Jan Mahler, network operations manager at YouSendIt)

Initially, the fact that the software stack was free (as in beer) had a major influence on our decision. But moving forward, standardness and supportability started becoming major factors. Using the big-name Linux distributions gives us support with big-name hardware vendors, and vice versa.
(Brent Nelson, senior systems administrator at iStockPhoto)

The features that you get for free on MySQL, with replication, in-memory and fault-tolerant databases (if using MySQL cluster), transaction support, and the wicked performance, cost thousands of dollars with other database engines
(Joseph Kottke, director of network operations at FeedBurner)

And, out of the chorus, Ron Hornbaker, who built the first version of Alexaholic in just one weekend, a definitive proof of productive can be the ASP.NET environment.

I’m most comfortable coding with C#.NET, and this was a personal project.

Alexaholic is the only site in this survey to use Windows and IIS, but it is worth to mention that IIS is actually gaining ground on Apache and 31.1% of the Internet’s websites hosted on IIS.Read the full article.

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