Greetings dear readers! If this is the first time you’ve landed on TechJury, congratulations! You’ve found the right place to get informed about the digital world. Or… if you were just browsing the site before you found this article – then you already know you’re in safe hands.
If you are here, you are probably wondering how many websites there are. You’ll find the answer to this question really soon, so stay with me.
First off, let me introduce you to some numbers you may find interesting:
- As of January 2019, there were almost 4.39 billion internet users.
- In 2019 more than half of the world’s population uses the internet. (53%)
- The US represents only 8.2% of the world’s online population.
- The number of domains registered per day is over 100 000.
How many websites are there, exactly?
And the number you were waiting for, there are over 1.6 billion websites. All ready to be accessed through this thing we call the internet!
One. Point. Six. BILLION! Pretty impressive, right?
The Dawn of WWW
Now let’s go back in time and see how we’ve come to reach these impressive numbers.
Just 28 years ago, on the 6th of August 1991, Sir Tim Berners-Lee created the first website and therefore introduced the World Wide Web. One year later – in 1992, the number of websites increased “drastically” by 900% – and there were ten websites on the Web.
The total number of websites continued to grow at an incredible pace, until 2010, when the first drop occurred. Out of the 238 million websites in 2009, only 206 million remained a year later.
There are tonnes of statistics on the subject, so being the good guy that I am, I created a chart to give you a bird’s eye view on how the web developed.
The massive rise of these numbers had a few core triggers behind it. One of them is Yahoo’s launch in 1994. And then Google’s, a few years later.
I know some of you are wondering what the most visited site in the world is – yep, we just mentioned it. It’s Google. (yeah, it was kinda obvious)
Different Stars on the Web
Alright, the history lesson is over. Let’s look at the state of the web today.
The average time a user spends on a webpage is only 2.17 minutes. With so much information available and websites to choose from, is it any wonder that number is so low?
On the bright side, for humanity to be able to pump out so many websites, it means we’ve at least figured out how to build them. So let’s take a look at today’s websites’ inner workings and see what types they can be:
- Static (also known as basic) – They are mostly information sites and usually they are rarely updated.
- Dynamic – They offer fresh content regularly, as they make the publishing process easier.
These are the two main groups of websites.
Some websites use a CMS. (which stands for “Content Management System”) These are dynamic websites, and a CMS allows them to easily create and manage digital content. Examples of vendors for these services are sites like WordPress and Joomla.
Then, there are also web applications, which are similar to dynamic websites, but with one major difference.
With dynamic sites the transaction is one-way – users see the content as a customer (News websites). With web apps, users interact with the site and have an influence over their experience. The website “adjusts” to every user and shows them relevant content.
E-commerce sites are a perfect example of a web app, showing products, based on consumers’ interests and past searches.
Blogs, on the other hand, may not be so technically sophisticated. Still, they make up for it in terms of pure numbers. Blogging stats now show there are over 2 billion blogs on the Web.
The Website’s “Front Door” – Its Domain Name
Having that many websites around would be a pretty big waste of effort if we didn’t have a way to access them. That’s why we have domain names, which, generally speaking, represent the name of the website.
The domain name has the following structure:
Protocol:// domain name .domain extension
https:// techjury .net
Domain extensions vary a lot. And I mean A LOT! The average user is usually only aware of the most common ones – like .com, .net, .gov and so on. But did you know there are more than 1500 domain extensions? I bet you didn’t. Until recently, me neither.
There’s not really a reason to know all of them, though. Most of them are barely ever used. The top 5 Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs), on the other hand, account for over 58% of all websites online. Most often domain names end with:
- .com (43.11%)
- .net (4.13%)
- .de (3.85%)
- .cn (3.85%)
- .tk (3.50%)
I know numbers two to five seem like small players in the digital world, but keep in mind we’re talking about a percentage of 1.6 billion. Which still amounts to millions of websites.
More and more new TLDs are being released in an attempt to appeal to customers. As the number of websites hosted online continues to grow, everyone will try to make their site unique, choosing a new gTLD. (though this could be in part because the good .com domains are already taken)
Statistics show over 5 million websites with new gTLD appeared between the 1st of January 2019, until the beginning of March of the same year.
By the way, I love pointing out interesting facts and also I love talking about money.
So here’s one:
Google paid $25 million to buy the .app TLD in 2015.
Websites Are on the Rise!
Weeelll… not exactly.
Actually, although there are more websites registered each year, we should ask ourselves: “How many active websites are there?”
And the answer is:
Not that many.
Actually, the number of active websites has been going down a bit for a while now, despite the increased number of hosted sites.
But here’s the kicker:
Only 25% of all websites on the Web are active right now.
Let me give you an example:
In March 2012 there were over 644 million registered hostnames. Only 188 million of them were active websites.
At the time of this writing, in March 2019, we have almost 1.6 billion registered websites. And only 181 million of them are active.
So if you wonder how many websites there are, the answer may not be as informative as you might think.
What Does the Future Hold?
If you’ve used the web for more than five years, you’ve probably noticed one of the main trends. Websites are becoming simpler.
There was a time when sites used to overwhelm their readers with stimuli. Websites purposely aimed to be big (and confusing) – it was the hip thing to do. Until the owners realized that’s not how you make money.
Like everything in our lives, websites tend to evolve. They are becoming easier to use and most of them are now easy on the eye. Creating websites with more minimalistic designs is a trend that will persist.
Website builders further contribute to this new aesthetic. Presently, even non-techies can create a good-looking, minimalistic website.
These builders also allow users to follow the latest trends in website design. Let me introduce you to a few of those, that we’ll soon be seeing on a regular basis:
Single page website
This is my personal favorite trend. These sites have no sub-pages. The “main” (and only) page, however, is ridiculously long. Most of them are informational and/or sales pages and they look amazing.
Big tech giants like Google and Youtube are already using AI to improve their services.
Some e-commerce sites have already started using it as well. AI will play an even bigger part in website design as time goes on.
Now that you know how many websites are on the internet, imagine if every one of them was interacting differently with every user. Crazy, right?
By the way, if you are interested in AI you can read my AI predictions as well.
Virtual reality sites
VR is already changing the way we interact with online content. Gadgets like VR glasses will eventually provide an immersive online experience. The practicalities of it, however, are not yet clear.
Well, we didn’t stop at answering “How many websites are there?”. It’s not just a matter of quantity though, it’s about quality as well.
Hopefully, this article gave you a good idea of the state of the web and where it’s all going. Happy browsing!