To say the internet is “big” would be a massive understatement. It’s become the central place where an incredible amount of activity occurs. Most of that activity is happening on websites, so just 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 creating websites all the time. The number is constantly changing.
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The Best Guess: Nearly 2 Billion
It’s impossible to get a truly accurate answer, but we can get pretty close to an estimate. Internet Live Stats is a website that uses an algorithm tied into a few different data sources to display a running count on the number of websites.
As of November 2022, there are estimated to be nearly 2 billion websites on the internet. The live counter on Internet Live Stats is at 1,996,172,229 as I’m writing this sentence. It will be different when you look at it. That’s a lot of websites.
But what qualifies a “website”? Internet Live Stats means “unique hostname” (a name that can be resolved, using a name server, into an IP Address) when it says “website.” This is the best guess we can get at the number of websites on the internet.
How Many Are Active?
The next question is how many of those nearly 2 billion websites are actually active? Is it the same as social media network profiles—only a small percentage are being used?
According to Netcraft (one of Internet Live Stats’ sources), only around 25% of websites are active. The majority are purchased domains that aren’t being used (often the owner is hoping someone will buy it) or abandoned websites. That may seem low, but 25% of 2 billion is 500 million. That’s still a lot of websites.
Is the Number Getting Bigger?
If you look at Internet Live Stats counter, you may be thinking that the number of websites is constantly growing. According to some sources, that’s not true. It makes sense if you consider that websites are being shut down or expiring while new ones are popping up.
The graphs from Netcraft show a relatively flat line over the last two years. In fact, compared to October 2020, there was around a 7% decrease in hostnames in October 2022. Perhaps the internet is not ever-growing. However, this is just one data point.
We’ll really never know the exact number of websites on the internet, but rest assured, it is a very large number. You may have even contributed a few yourself. The internet thanks you for your service.
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