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How Much Does the Internet Weigh?

Most people talk about the internet in terms of volume of data stored, data transmitted, or even the number of data centers and servers. What about weight? How much does the internet weigh?

It’s a peculiar question and more of a thought exercise than anything else. None the less it’s an interesting look at a side of data transmission and storage that people rarely think about. Watch the above video to see how one can calculate the physical weight of the internet.

How Much Does the Internet Weigh? [YouTube via Geeks Are Sexy]

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/3/11

Comments (12)

  1. James Kelley

    Guess you saw the “I.T. Crowd” series too. Really great show comedy series for I.T’ers. Love it

  2. Tek9

    Guess they haven’t quite caught on to the fact that cables, servers, home PCs, other personal digital consumption devices…they all weigh something as well. Next time I have to move a server rack, should be a piece of cake since it apparently weighs nothing. Even if you view the internet as merely the infrastructure, and occlude the endpoints (which wouldn’t fit in with the text of the article referring to storing the data), you’re still dealing with the weight of all cables used to transmit data in the internet, because without them, the internet wouldn’t exist. I vote renaming the article to something accurate.

  3. Jeffeb3

    @Tek9, the Internet, as this is referring to is the information stored, not the storage devices. It’s a physics problem, so you can ignore common sense.

  4. vgamesx1

    @Tek9
    yea and if your really going to take anything in account for being phsical it should only be servers,
    because what if I didn’t have a computer at all, what if I used my phone or went to the library to get on the internet. so then it would be basicly weightless with todays phones being so light and a lot of people no longer taking as many laptops around.

  5. Stephen Character

    @vgamesx1

    Apparently you have never been in a server closet and seen all the cables required to run a network.

  6. samson2001

    Yea but servers dont make the internet, there just what its stored on, and not all servers/data drives/cable weigh the same as they are made out of diffrerent things so it would be impossible to calculate. But the weight of the actual information or electrons is the same accross all amounts of the data.

    Just because you keep water in a bowl it doesnt mean you include the weight of the bowl when you want to know how much the water weighs otherwise you’d never get an accurate weight of the water…yes you need the bowl to hold the water in but it doesn’t make the bowl water…

  7. Robotnik

    LOL everyone. This is definitely the geekiest conversation I have ever seen on this site!

  8. judgedread

    WTF is an ounce?? Speak international please, there’s a whole world out there!

  9. Nachol

    @Robotnik, yes you’re right!
    And probably yours is the geekiest nickname I’ve ever seen on this site! LOL

  10. phil

    TEC9 i disagree the weight of the internet only includes the weight of the data that it is. therefore you will only weigh the information and as information is bytes which are bits of electrons signaling on and off. then you will only weigh electrons. which in turn can be likened to weighing water in a glass or oil in a super tanker you say that super tanker contains 50 million gallons or a million tons(i haven’t looked up the weight for weight so i am using arbitrary numbers here) u do not include the weight of the tanker when measuring the weight of the oil . and as weight is volume times density that is all you are weighing. the density of electrons and the volume of space that they take up. measured by the wattage etc etc. if u wanted to include the servers and cables then. u would specify it as including them, or them alone which is a different story altogether.

  11. mikmik

    The data is the weight of the WWW. The internet is the hardware:

    The terms Internet and World Wide Web are often used in everyday speech without much distinction. However, the Internet and the World Wide Web are not one and the same. The hardware and software infrastructure of the Internet establishes a global data communications system between computers. In contrast, the Web is one of the services communicated via the Internet. It is a collection of interconnected documents and other resources, linked by hyperlinks and URLs.[4]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet

  12. RavenOwl

    Who cares?????!!!!!!!!!

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