Tim Dietrich

Custom Software Developer

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DailyOrbit: Relaunch Plans and Web Server Type Statistics

Late last week, I took the first steps to revive DailyOrbit, a search engine that I originally developed way back in 1997. That's not a typo. 1997. That seems like a lifetime ago. If you're curious as to what DailyOrbit looked like, check out this 1998 snapshot over on the Internet Archive.

Back then, DailyOrbit was a small but viable search engine. At its peak, its index covered 1.4 million sites, and traffic was very respectable by 1997 standards. The site was bringing in anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000 per day in advertising revenue. And then the bottom fell out. If you want the full story as to what happened, buy me a beer sometime.

I've been considering bringing DailyOrbit back for a very long time. I won't get into all of the reasons for choosing to do it now, but I will say that a big part of the decision is that I think there is an opportunity - and a real need - to approach "search" differently. I recently Tweeted, "It's time to rethink search, especially on #mobile." I truly believe that.

I'll write more about the vision that I have for DailyOrbit soon. In the meantime, work is well underway, and I'm hoping to launch in May.

Rebuilding the Index

One of my first tasks in relaunching DailyOrbit is building its index, and I've developed a Swift-based bot ("Orbiter") to handle that. After a test crawl of 50,000 sites, I did some analysis, and thought I'd share one of my findings here.

Based on the "Server" headers returned by those sites, I found that:

• 42% of the sites are running on Apache.
• 37% are running nginx.
• 12% are running IIS.
• 5% aren't reporting a server type.

While this is a very small sample size, I do find it interesting that use of nginx is so widespread. I knew it was popular, but I had no idea just how popular it really is.

I'll update these numbers and share any additional interesting insights that come across as the indexing progresses.