And How Many Websites Are Active?
The Internet is BIG! Very big. However it is dominated by just a few hundred organisations and their websites. So how big is the Internet?
(Note this post first appeared in January 2014 and was updated in January 2015.)
The size of the Internet can be measured in various ways, including totals such as how many websites are there, how many domains are registered, how many websites are being used, what are the most popular web sites, how much storage is required to hold all the web data, how much data is transmitted, etc., etc. The trouble is the Internet is so big that these totals and numbers change all the time. For this brief look at the size of the Internet the total number of active sites is examined. In other words you can type a unique domain name into your browser’s address bar and you will get a response.
So let us look at the latest update on the size of the Internet according to the Netcraft January 2015 Web Server Survey. How many websites are there? There are 876,812,666 websites (over 876 million web sites). This is a slight rise on the number of websites compared to last year. In the Netcraft January 2014 Web Server Survey there were 861,379,152 websites. It is interesting to note that in September 2014 the total number of websites exceeded 1 billion. The number of web sites reached 1,028,932,208 in October before falling back below 900 million. Has the world got enough web sites now?
Those of you that don’t fully understand the workings of the Internet may not realise that this number is just over three times larger than the number of registered domains. Why?
What is the Total Number of Domains in the World?
According to the Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief the total number of registered domain names is 284 million, an increase over the January 2014 figure of 265 million. So 284 million domains support over 876 million websites. But not all registered domains get used. Some are just registered so that no one else can register them. Some are registered and never used.
When this post was first written in January 2014 the ZMap project, a high speed open source network scanner, had scanned the entire Internet and estimated the total number of hosts at 108 million. Then it was likely that the 861 million websites were active on 108 million hosts. This is because a domain can be divided into sub-domains. For example a blogging website, such as Blogger, WordPress or Ghost, will let a user create a website that hangs of the main domain name, e.g. http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk.
The January 2015 Netcraft Survey reports just over 5 million (5,061,365) web facing computers. So 5 million computers run over 100 million hosts serving up 876 million web sites. Most of these sites are static and hardly change. Netcraft estimates that there are 177 million (177,127,427) active sites (those that get regular changes).
A Few Hundred Sites Dominate the Internet
Despite there being over 876 million websites only a few hundred dominate the Internet. Less than 1 million, or 0.1%, account for over 50% of web traffic. To get an idea on how much such a small percentage of the total websites dominate look at The Internet Map
or Icons of the Web.
The web site Alexa lists the top 500 websites.
Summary for How Many Websites Are There
As of January 2015:
- There are 284 million registered domains…
- on over 108 million hosts provided…
- by 5 million computers serving…
- over 876 million websites.
If you publish a web site it is very unlikely it will get noticed unless you are prepared to produce quality content, perform Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and spend on marketing. Or you may get lucky and be the next big thing, as all the top sites were once.