How Many Websites are There?


You may have wondered just how many websites are there on the internet today. While the exact number keeps growing every second, there are well over 1 billion sites on the world wide web.

The milestone of 1 billion websites was reached in September, 2014 and the number continues to move upwards even as you read this article.

The number of websites has been confirmed by NetCraft and was published in its September, 2014 Web Server Survey.

However, it should be noted that websites are added and subtracted on a regular basis.

So, for a time the number fluctuated above and below the 1 billion mark.

For example, in August, 2012 a full 40 million hostnames were removed from only 242 IP addresses. This considerably reduced the number of websites for a period of time.

By March, 2016, the number of websites no longer went below a billion.

It is amazing to consider the sheer growth of the internet which started with 1 website in 1991 to over a billion today.

Websites are now actively used by businesses, organizations, and individuals all around the world.


Are All Websites Active?


It should be noted that a website as considered by the official count are those that have a hostname that is unique.

In other words, they have a specific IP address, use a name server, and have a name (domain name) which can be found through a search on the web.

However, it should also be noted that a full 75% of websites today are not active. Instead, most of them are parked domains or have a similar function.

This means that only one-quarter of all the websites are active and being used in some fashion.

Also consider that a big portion of the websites is not updated in a timely manner. This means that the actual number of active, working sites may be a much smaller fraction.


The Reasons for Growth


All things considered, the growth of websites has been quite remarkable thanks in large part to a decision on April 30th, 1993 by CERN. This decision made the world wide web available on a basis that was free of royalties.

In essence, it became a public domain which allowed people around the world to create their own websites.

It is interesting to note that the growth of the internet started in the 1970s and continued on a limited basis until the early 1990s. However, the world wide web itself is credited to Tim Berners-Lee, who began it in March, 1989 and introduced the first server, browser, and editor along with HTTP and HTML.



Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the WWW in 1989 © CERN


While the growth of the web has been explosive, one of the biggest jumps occurred in 2013 when the number of websites grew by almost a third.

Today, Apache together with nginx currently hosts just over half the websites that exist. However, Microsoft is closing fast and they are expected to get a bigger market share soon.

It is also expected that the number of websites will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.


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