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Has anyone done any analysis (or know where I can find some!) on what proportion of internet users are using a browser/operating system combination that support SNI (Server Name Indication) SSL/TLS certificates?

I know for example that IE on XP doesn't support this, and that older versions of OSX also don't.

I know that there's no such thing as a 'typical' user, and that each site has a different profile, but I'm looking for some kind of order of magnitude view of how common these configurations are these days to help the decision making process along a bit for a new site I'm looking to deploy.

If you do provide specific figures or references to analysis, could you add the date to your answer too? Just so that other people looking at this question in the future have an idea of when that information was current, as I'd expect it to shift over time...

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Wikipedia has a list of software that supports SNI -- Not quite statistics, but a good starting point.

As of October 2010, Tom's Hardware said 66% (2/3) of Windows users were still running XP. I imagine that number has reduced, but I know it's still holding on in medical devices and other "everything-must-be-triple-vetted" type environments.

You also can't neglect corporate proxies that intercept and handle SSL requests -- some of these may not be SNI-capable yet.

To help your decision-making process along, right now the short answer is "If you need SSL to work for everyone you still need one IP per certificate" -- Unless your users are technically savvy enough that they will all be on platforms that can handle SNI (and you can enforce that as a requirement) you don't want to be dealing with the backlash from certificate-name mismatch messages when someone drags out their old XP laptop...


W3schools has some helpful stats on their browser users. The headline for the purpose of this question is that as of April 2011, 40.9% of their users were still using Windows XP. For W3 schools, a lot (42.9%) use firefox, which would support SNI, but I suspect on the wider web, this percentage is likely to be smaller. 24.5% of their users use IE. I would estimate therefore that a useful lower bound for the drop-out rate on w3schools if they were to use SNI would be 10.5% (24.5% of 42.9%). On the wider web, I'd expect this to be significantly higher.

UPDATED AGAIN: 2013 Year End

As of late December 2013, the StatCounter GlobalStats table at Can I use stated that Internet Explorer 8 and older total 8.26 percent, and Android Browser on Android 2.x totaled 1.52 percent. (IE on Windows Vista or later supports SNI, but users of Windows Vista or later have had an opportunity to leave IE 8 behind. Thus I use IE 8 as a proxy for IE on XP.) Because security updates for IE on XP will end in April 2014, we can assume that few people who care about security will be using IE on XP next year.

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That's a great answer. It's not quite what I was hoping for as I was ideally looking for a measured view based on e.g. google analytics, but you're right, it sounds like a bit of a no-brainer. +1. I'm not going to accept just yet in case someone else comes along with exactly what the question asked for. –  Paul Russell May 17 '11 at 22:26
Unfortunately you can't really answer it for your population of users without your data (Google Analytics for your site would be a good start) - w3schools.com/browsers/default.asp has a broad survey of browser/OS that you can extrapolate from, but I don't know their survey methodology so I can't say how reliable the data is... –  voretaq7 May 18 '11 at 15:08
Yeah, so the killer for me is the fact that as of April 2011, 40.9% of users were still on XP. I don't fancy losing 40% of my potential audience!! Would absolutely have used my google analytics results except that this is for a site I haven't launched yet, and don't want to launch without SSL, and don't want to set up the SSL until I know the demographic... you get the idea! Anyway thanks for your help - answer accepted. –  Paul Russell May 18 '11 at 16:23
"Because security updates for IE on XP will end in April 2014, we can assume that few people who care about security will be using IE on XP next year." W3Schools still (July 2014, which is the most recent figure) shows 7.0% WinXP. Smack in the middle between Linux and Mac as far as market share is concerned, and considerably higher than mobile. It went down from 8.0% in April to 7.3% in May and does seem to be in a somewhat steady decline, but still maintains a relatively significant market share. –  Michael Kjörling Sep 4 at 18:08
@MichaelKjörling "Nobody cares about security" :'( –  voretaq7 Sep 4 at 18:53

Combining Wikipedia's Operating System statistics with their SNI Browser support list, suggests (Oct 2012) that Windows XP/Server 2003 is 21.6% of share.

Problem is, anyone running Chrome or Firefox on XP does have SNI support; likewise for old OSX versions. Wikipedia doesn't publish OS+Browser breakdowns, but you could dive into the minefield of making assumptions from their browser numbers?

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If you take the statistics from StatCounter 30% Internet Explorer of 24% Windows XP would be 7.2%. Adding some percentage for Android 2.x, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile < 6.5 you could say about 10%.

At GlobalSign we recently created a solution to support users that have no support for Server Name Indication (SNI) by using two SSL Certificates (one is for the IP address and is free). You can read more about the solution in a blog article about the problem and solution that we published today.


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