To say the Internet is “big” would be a huge understatement. It has become the central place where an incredible amount of activity takes place. Most of this activity takes place on websites, so how many are there?
This is not a simple question to answer. The Internet is called the “World Wide Web” for a reason. Businesses, organizations and individuals around the world are constantly building websites. The number is constantly changing.
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The best estimate: nearly 2 billion
It’s impossible to get a really precise answer, but we can get close to an estimate. Live Internet Statistics is a website that uses an algorithm tied to a few different data sources to display a running count of the number of websites.
In November 2022, it was estimated that there were nearly 2 billion websites on the Internet. The counter live on Live Internet Statistics is at 1,996,172,229 as I write this sentence. It will be different when you watch it. That’s a lot of websites.
But what qualifies as a “website”? Live Internet Statistics means “unique hostname” (a name that can be resolved, using a name server, to an IP address) when it says “website”. This is the best estimate we can get of the number of websites on the internet.
How many are active?
The next question is how many of these nearly 2 billion websites are actually active? Is it the same as social media profiles – only a small percentage is used?
According netcraft (one of Live Internet Stats’ sources), only about 25% of websites are active. The majority are purchased domains that aren’t used (often the owner is hoping someone will buy it) or abandoned websites. It may not seem like much, but 25% of 2 billion is 500 million. That’s still a lot of websites.
Are the numbers increasing?
If you look Live Internet Statistics counter, you may think that the number of websites keeps growing. According to some sources, this is not true. This makes sense if you consider that websites are shut down or expire while new ones pop up.
The graphs of netcraft show a relatively flat line over the past two years. In fact, compared to October 2020, there was a decrease of around 7% in hostnames in October 2022. Maybe the internet is not always growing. However, this is only a data point.
We’ll really never know the exact number of websites on the internet, but rest assured, it’s a huge number. You may even have contributed to a few yourself. The Internet thanks you for your service.
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