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Microsoft The Internet

MSN Search Engine Favors IIS 565

Scud writes "It appears that if you want to rise up in the rankings over at the MSN search engine you would do well to host your page on IIS. Ivor Hewitt has done a study and it appears that by using IIS, you are likely to increase your odds of a higher listing by several percent."
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MSN Search Engine Favors IIS

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  • by Blitzenn ( 554788 ) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:29AM (#12347778) Homepage Journal
    And who is the silly person who would expect it to be otherwise? Have you actually been listening to the news at all over the past decade? Have you learned nothing? The real story would be if the ranking did not rise if it were housed on an IIS server. Otherwise it's a nothing, I would have assumed that.
  • Absolutely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:30AM (#12347788)
    My page is titled "San Andreas Radio" and if you Google it, comes out #1 or #2 every time.

    MSN it and it comes out about #7. Either they're being paid to reduce its rank (it's a bit subversive), or they don't like the fact I'm hosted on Linux, or they simply don't have a very good search engine.

    If I put the exact unique title of a page into an engine, I expect that page to be #1.
  • by alex_guy_CA ( 748887 ) <> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:30AM (#12347792) Homepage
    I think I have never used MSN search in my life. I suppose other people do, but how many? Anybody know MSN search share percentages?
  • by Dancin_Santa ( 265275 ) <> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:30AM (#12347793) Journal
    The control over what webserver you will use is typically limited by your hosting provider. While many provide the choice between Unix-based servers and Windows-based servers, many do not.

    For those who use hosts that do not provide these services, I don't think it appropriate to think that they are simple SOL. Rather, the better quality your website provides, the more relevant it is to the topic you discuss, the better it will fare in any search engine. The type of webserver you are using becomes nothing more than the tiniest fraction of your search ranking.
  • by Phil246 ( 803464 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:31AM (#12347804)
    if it favours iis machines, it makes it that much easier for virus writers / script kiddies to play about with them if it displays them in preference to other web servers.
  • MSN is out of beta (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alienfluid ( 677872 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:31AM (#12347810) Homepage
    The link to MSN search on the main story links to It should be noted that MSN Search is out of beta for a while now - the correct links should be []. It's not like it's Google or something - trying to keep everything in beta for years to escape criticism.
  • by incuso ( 747340 ) <> on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:32AM (#12347820)
    My site is first or nearly first in google using relevant search terms. But in MSN it never shows (even if listed). Maybe also the use of PHP is harmful for MSN ranking? M.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:32AM (#12347823)
    For years now, the company where I work has had all it's Apache systems reporting that they are IIS 5.0 systems. Just a quick change in a single file before compiling and there you go!
  • by 0kComputer ( 872064 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:41AM (#12347926)
    Google is definately at the top in the search engine business, no doubt about that. The current MSN search is a total piece of crap. But I've tried the beta, and honestly its not that bad, sure its no google yet, but I don't really think that matters.

    Most search engine users are very fickle, they don't care who provides it as long as the thing works, and this is why I think google may be in trouble in the future. is the default page for just about every windows machine, if MS gets something that works, it could spell trouble for google.
  • by fatted ( 777789 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:46AM (#12347979) Homepage
    Google makes money by prioritising quality. Microsoft makes money by prioritising money.

    Seems to be working out for MS though, doesn't it!
  • by rabtech ( 223758 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:47AM (#12347999) Homepage
    Most of those useless keyword, domain parking/hijacking, and spam sites out there run on Linux+Apache because the owner can host thousands of those domains fairly inexpensively, and that's the key to all spam: minimization of operating expenses so you only need 1 out of 100,000 users to click/buy to turn a profit.

    These sites don't have any real content, they just point to other sites and/or exist to spam you with advertisements. Some of them have googlebombed their way higher into the rankings.

    My guess is that MSN does a slightly better job of filtering those useless sites out of the index at the present time, OR the "googlebombing" techniques they use aren't as effective with MSN's indexing. Since they almost exclusively use Apache that would have the false appearance of favoring IIS.

    This is just a guess, but it seems plausable.
  • by drsquare ( 530038 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @10:55AM (#12348088)
    Actually, what made Google successful was its simplicity and the recognisability of its name and website. Its results are as crap as anywhere else. Remember, quantity != quality.

    Google makes money by prioritising quality.

    Google seem to make a lot of money from click-fraud and advertising, hardly noble ways to make money. At least Microsoft are honest about their profit-seeking, you don't get any of that sanctimonious "we're not evil" crap.
  • IIS/Apache - No diff (Score:3, Interesting)

    by christoofar ( 451967 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @11:02AM (#12348163)

    The only difference in the HTTP response is just that IIS adds headers and that IIS has that stupid HTTP Continue on handling SOAP via ASPNET.

    Just telnet to almost any Apache web server and type GET / and then to an IIS server and do the same thing. Look at the top. Almost all non-IIS web servers return no default headers.

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 14:56:20 GMT
    Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
    X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
    X-AspNet-Version: 1.1.4322
    Cache-Control: private
    Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
    Content-Length: 23027

    <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0
    .... blah blah
  • by anno1602 ( 320047 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @11:04AM (#12348185)
    The Fine Article states that while Google's results are comparable to Netcraft's server survey results (that is, their share of Apache and IIS represents the respective market share), MSN seems to favor IIS. So no, Google does not favor Apache.
  • by learn fast ( 824724 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @11:44AM (#12348603)
    You could just change the HTTP Server header that Apache sends out. Someone should try it for a few weeks and see if it really makes any difference.

    If you have mod_header installed, just add the below line to httpd.conf:

    Header set Server "Microsoft-IIS/6.0"
  • Re:FTFA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bergeron76 ( 176351 ) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @12:18PM (#12348946)
    Why not just modify the Greeting banner in Apache to read as if it was IIS.

    I'd say you could do the same with IIS, but you can't because IIS isn't open source/doesn't provide that capability.

  • Re:FTFA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by huge colin ( 528073 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @12:29PM (#12349068) Journal
    Or if that's too much work, one could also argue that Google ranks IIS down!

    As it well should. As much as anyone may not like to admit it, IIS is bad for the Internet.
  • Re:Weak analysis (Score:3, Interesting)

    by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @12:31PM (#12349084) Journal
    Check any of these IIS websites to see if they were using robots.txt to block (or partially block) Google?

    Or see if, as at least three other posters indicated they do, Apache users are blocking MSN.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @12:53PM (#12349298)
    When I learned that Microsoft was trying to muscle into the search business, I added a robots.txt rule to exclude them from my web site. I figure that the less useful their results are, the harder it will be to do evil.

    I could imagine (some) other Apache users like myself doing something like that, but I can't imagine any IIS user doing it...
  • by toofast ( 20646 ) * on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:02PM (#12349415)
    Actually, what would be even better is to configure his web server to report itself as IIS in the headers it returns. That's the only real way to know what a web server is running

    I was simply offering some insight regarding this comment. Whether or not the Spiders check the TCP stack is beyond the point I was getting at.

    FWIW, Netcraft seem to look at the TCP signature, so I don't think it's far fetched to assume it could be implemented in MSN's spiders.

    This link is an interesting read on why the HTTP headers are not a sure-fire way of knowing what a web server is running: crosoftcom_runs_linux_up_to_a_point_.html []
  • Google Favors Apache (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rurapenty ( 832343 ) on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:20PM (#12349597)
    Coudn't you infer that the results of this study show that Google favors apache? They are in compitition with Microsoft after all. I am sure that both search engines are using different algorithms, why assume that Google ranking is truely "correct". Why not study a greater number of search engines and see if all show a bias one way or the other.
  • Re:FTFA (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 26, 2005 @01:36PM (#12349747)
    Just change it for msn's spider's user agent only.

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