The Queen's Website : Five Things You May Not Know

The newly unveiled Royal.gov.uk has certainly been the most talked about website in the United Kingdom for the past week with mentions in most media from the BBC to the Sun newspapers, numerous blogs and scores of twitters.

Unbeknown to many are five facts that we've gathered about the Royal.gov.uk website which should be of interest to those willing to lurk behind the scenes of a high profile website which stood in the public limelight for the past 12 years.

Fact 1 : Royal.gov.uk runs on Windows only

Netcraft reports that Royal.gov.uk is being run on a Windows 2003 platform and has migrated to the platform since September 2006. Before this, the site ran on Windows 2000 Server. It shouldn't also come as a surprise that Royal.gov.uk doesn't use Microsoft's ASP web application framework and IIS6. Sorry Open source users, no LAMP here.

Fact 2 : Royal.gov.uk is hosted in America

A quick traceroute shows that the Royal site is hosted by Dedipower in the United States of America, although the company itself is a privately owned and profitable UK company. Dedipower also counts Sony, ITV, the Home Office, Carphone Warehouse and Coca Cola amongst its many customers. The deal was struck through Asuk Creative Limited.

Fact 3 : Royal.gov.uk DOES collect user data

SEO Consultant, Tim Nash, highlights the fact that the privacy page of the Royal website says that they "do not use cookies for collecting user information, and will not collect any information about you except that required for system administration of our web server." However, peeping in the page's code, one can find traces of Google Tracking's system Google Analytics which contradicts the above claim.

Fact 4 : Royal.gov.uk is a royal SEO Mess

The website might be a real treat to the eye but Julian Sambles, Head of Audience at the Telegraph.co.uk says that the site performs poorly when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. He pointed to six SEO failures which needed to be addressed. Interestingly though, the site ranks second only to Wikipedia when looking for "queen elizabeth" and the terms "british monarchy". A proof that Google is not as dumb as it might seems.

Fact 5 : Royal.gov.uk is ranked amongst the top 2000 websites worldwide

Web Stats site Alexa ranks Royal.gov.uk amongst the top 2000 websites worldwide, a stunning growth given the fact that the jump - from around 60,000 - occurred in the past alone week. This ranks the site between Channel4.com and mirror.co.uk as a rough guide.