How Many Websites Are There? – The Growth of The Web (1990 – 2021)

Ogi Djuraskovic
Updated: July 5th, 2021
10 min read
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How Many Websites Are There? – The Growth of The Web (1990 – 2021)

The Internet is this magnificent place offering valuable information and useful services.

Did you ever wonder how many websites there are online? Do you think it’s measured in hundreds of thousands or tens of millions? Neither of these options is even close.

While this is an interesting topic, there’s a lot of contradictory information available online. That’s why we decided to once and for all stop the speculation and put our own team of investigators on a quest to find the answer to the common question people ask:

How many websites are there?

As of June 18, 2021, there are currently over 1.86 billion websites online.


Sources: Internetlivestats, Netcraft, Builtwith

Through our extensive research, we’ve also discovered some interesting facts related to the number of websites and internet stats in general.

Scroll down to see the growth chart of how many sites from 1990 to 2021, what the most popular CMS is, what the most popular eCommerce solution is, and what the most popular websites and blogs are.

The 1st website and the 1st domain name [History] 

The World Wide Web as we know it is rooted in many technologies, which makes it really hard to pick the very first website. However, we have to start somewhere, and what better place to start than with Tim Berners-Lee and his team of coworkers at CERN. 

They are responsible for creating the HyperText Transfer Protocol in 1989, a protocol that enabled servers and clients to communicate.

This same team also released the first text-based browser, as well as created and launched the first website, which was a one-pager.

This web page was the first online guide about creating web pages, and as you might’ve guessed, it was text-only. Nowadays, modern technology (such as website builders) lets people create their own blog or website without any technical knowledge.

What really paved the way for good-looking websites was the web browser Mosaic. Marc Andreessen and his colleagues at the University of Illinois created and released Mosaic in 1993. It was the first web browser that allowed users to use “point-and-click” graphical manipulations.

Andreessen also co-founded Netscape Communications Corporation, the company behind Netscape Navigator, the most popular web browser of the 90s. 

Domain name registration wasn’t available until 1985. However, previous to that, some companies created and used domain names for intranet. The first one was Nordu.net, created on January 1, 1985. It was the domain of Scandinavian research collaboration. 

The first registered domain title goes to Symbolics.com, a domain belonging to a computer systems company in Cambridge, Mass. It was registered on March 15, 1985, followed by Bbn.com, registered on April 24, 1985.

Number of websites and their growth from 1991 to 2021

Let’s examine how many websites are on the web in 2021.

According to Internet Live Stats, there are currently over 1.86 billion websites online. Compared to what would be the beginning of the World Wide Web in 1992, when there were only approximately 15.000 websites online, this is quite an increase.

number of websites in the world

The trend of website numbers increasing continues year after year. By 2014, there were 1 billion websites online. It took only five years to almost double that number.

However, not all of the 1.8 billion websites currently online are active. It’s estimated that less than 200 million of that number are actually active. 

How many domain names are there? 

We all know that domain names are deeply connected to websites, but most people don’t know how domains work and what a domain name actually is. In most cases, people think they are the same as web hosting providers

The domain is the address each website has and is located in the URL of the browser. Domain names are the IP of a website, but these names are converted into logical names instead of numbers. 

The most popular domains are top-level domains or TLDs such as .com, .net, .org, and so on. These are generic domain extensions that take the highest spot in the system. Even though sites carry these extensions, they have fully customized names that go in front of them. 

The first quarter of 2021 reported 363.5 million top-level domains. This number has been growing ever since the domain name system was introduced in 1985, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.  

Source: Verisign

From all the top-domain registration 165.2 million belong to .net and .com. That’s a million and a half increase from the third quarter of 2020. Since the start of the year, these top-domain registrations grew by around 6 million. 

Here’s how top-level domains are ranked based on the number of domain names they currently have: 

  1. .com151.8 million domain names 
  2. .cn24.7 million domain names
  3. .tk24.7 million domain names 
  4. .de16.7 million domain names 
  5. .net13.4 million domain names 
  6. .uk10.9 million domain names
  7. .org10.3 million domain names 

The number of TLDs increased by over 4 million compared to 2019, which means that the total number of domain names has increased by around 1.1%. That’s just another statistic showing that many people buying new domains and the number of websites is still growing.

How many websites use CMS?

Not all websites are created in the same way. Some are coded and designed from scratch, but many use a CMS. CMS stands for Content Management System, a specifically designed platform that facilitates website creation and publishing. 

There are over 10 CMSs available, which makes this market quite competitive. You probably know some of the names, such as WordPress, Joomla, and Wix.

Let’s see how many websites use a CMS and which CMSs are the most popular.

According to BuiltWith, there are currently 63 million websites that use a CMS, and the most popular CMS by far is WordPress.

Here are the top 5 CMSs:

WordPress is the favorite CMS option overall. There are currently 28 million websites using WordPress, which accounts for 44% of all websites that use a CMS.

Wix Wix falls in second place. 4.5 million websites currently use Wix, which is 7% of all websites that use a CMS.

Progress Sitefinity is becoming more and more popular every day. It currently powers 3.1 million websites or 5% of the CMS market. 

Squarespace In fourth place, we have Squarespace, currently powering 2.5 million websites (here are examples) or 4% of the CMS market.

Joomla! Finally, with a 2.6% market share, we have Joomla. There are currently 1.6 million websites using Joomla.

How many websites on the web use eCommerce solutions?  

eCommerce is a very lucrative industry, with one of the largest market sizes in the world. According to Statista, the eCommerce revenue forecast tells us that it will grow to 3.1 billion US dollars in 2024. It’s only natural to see many eCommerce websites online, given the number of opportunities in the industry. 

The same rule that applies to making regular websites applies to eCommerce sites. You can build one from scratch with one of the available eCommerce solutions. There are many of these solutions available that let you start an online business.

Let’s dive into the statistics to discover how many websites use eCommerce solutions and which are the most popular ones.

According to the BuiltWith eCommerce usage distribution report, there are currently 19.7 million websites using eCommerce solutions, and WooCommerce Checkout is the solution with the largest market share.

The market share breakdown tells us that users value easy-to-use and automatic solutions over the more complex ones.

WooCommerce Checkout – is currently the most popular eCommerce solution. It’s a WordPress plugin, and given the popularity of the WordPress CMS, this is not an unexpected result. WooCommerce powers 2.8 million online shops, which accounts for 14.39% of the market. -> How to use WooCommerce

Shopify – is a specialized eCommerce platform (read Shopify review), and there are currently 1.4 million websites using it. Shopify’s market share is 7.32%. -> How to use Shopify

Wix Stores – is third on the list, powering 1.35 million websites, which translates into a 6.86% market share. -> How to use Wix

Squarespace Add to Cart – is a Squarespace extension eCommerce technology. Currently, there are 809,046 websites using it, and its market share is 4.11%. -> How to use Squarespace

Ecwid – Finally, we have Ecwid, currently powering 624,752 websites. Around 3.17% of the market share belongs to this eCommerce solution catering to the needs of small business merchants.

20 most visited websites on the web 

On the world wide web, there are superstars, just like any industry. Whether it’s the functionality, ease of use, look and feel, or some other factor, some websites are always going to have more visitors than others. 

Are you wondering which are the superstars among websites? For quite some time now, the US has been setting the global trend in this landscape, at least when it comes to the top sites that are generating traffic. According to the Semrush traffic analytics report, these are the 20 most visited websites on the web.

Google.com — 17.35 billion visits per month

In the world of search engines, Google is the absolute champion. It’s by far the most popular search engine for both desktop and mobile users, who primarily use it to search the internet and find relevant content. Currently, the website generates a whopping 17.35 billion visits per month.

Around 11.7 billion visitors come from mobile platforms, while desktop users amount to 5.65 billion visits. On average, Google.com visitors view 6.9 pages per visit and spend approximately 24 minutes on the website. Google.com has a bounce rate of 30.18%.

YouTube.com — 3.99 billion visits per month

YouTube is not only the most popular platform for sharing videos but also one of the most visited websites on the web. It has come a long way from being a mediocre video-sharing platform founded in 2005 to one of the most visited websites online. YouTube.com now generates 3.99 billion visits.

Unlike Google.com, YouTube.com is more popular among desktop users, which is quite logical since the website has a dedicated mobile app for both Android and iOS. Desktop users amount to 79.97% of the traffic or 3.19 billion visits per month, while mobile users amount to 20.03% of the traffic or 798.39 million visits. On average, visitors view 3.2 pages per visit and spend 30 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 52.02%.

Facebook.com — 3.75 billion visits per month

The social media platform craze is a real one. Almost everyone has at least one profile on one of the popular social media websites. The most popular, however, is Facebook, a platform that enables people to connect with each other, share images, videos, and other content. Facebook.com generates 3.75 billion visits per month, and it’s in third place on the top websites by traffic list.

The traffic share between mobile and desktop users is almost evenly distributed, with the advantage for mobile users. Desktop users amount to 1.51 billion visits or 40.17% of overall traffic, while mobile users amount to 2.25 billion visits or 59.83% of traffic share. On average, visitors view 5.6 pages and spend 23 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 35.37%.

Amazon.com — 3.54 billion visits per month

Amazon started as a small office project and slowly grew into the world’s largest eCommerce website. Over the years, Amazon expanded and successfully tapped into other markets such as video streaming, cloud-based services, and eBooks. It’s in fourth place, generating 3.54 billion visits per month. 

The platform is equally popular among desktop users and those who prefer their mobile devices. The desktop traffic share is 56.75% or 2.01 billion visits, while the mobile traffic share is 43.25% or 1.53 billion visits. Amazon visitors view 7.5 pages on average and spend 13 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 33.3%. 

Wikipedia.org — 2.92 billion visits per month

People enjoy reading facts about all kinds of things. Wikipedia manages to deliver them in the most digestible manner. It offers a comprehensive and searchable database offering information about almost anything. On top of that, anyone can contribute and create Wikipedia pages, which makes it even more accessible. Wikipedia.org generates 2.92 billion visits per month.

The mobile and desktop traffic shares are only a few percentiles away from being equal. The desktop traffic share is 50.85%, or 1.49 billion visits, while the mobile traffic share is 49.15% or 1.44 billion visits. The average Wikipedia.org visitor views 2.2 pages and spends 8 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 66%.

Yahoo.com — 1.77 billion visits per month

Yahoo.com is a veteran in the world of internet service providers. It’s most famous for online search engines and email services. People around the world still use Yahoo to look for information online, read the news, send emails, and more. It’s in the sixth position of top websites by traffic. Currently, it generates 1.77 billion visits per month. 

Yahoo.com is definitely more popular among mobile users. The mobile traffic share is 65.42% or 1.16 billion visits, while the desktop traffic share is 34.58% or 610.67 million visits. Yahoo.com visitors view 3.7 pages on average and spend 16 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 43.52%.

Pornhub.com — 1.29 billion visits per month

The adult entertainment industry market is popular worldwide, and it attracts various demographics. It doesn’t come as a surprise to see online adult entertainment platforms on this list. Pornhub.com is the most popular online platform in this niche and is among the top 10 most visited websites, generating 1.29 billion visits per month.

The mobile traffic share is 84.47% or 1.09 billion visits. The desktop traffic share is 15.33% or 200.38 million visits. Pornhub.com visitors view 8.9 web pages and spend 15 minutes on the website on average. The bounce rate is 21.68%. 

Reddit.com — 1.22 billion visits per month

Online communities have always been popular. Reddit has emerged as the most popular network for communities. It enables people to join numerous communities which are sorted by interest. It also has a dedicated mobile app. Reddit.com currently generates 1.22 billion visits per month.

The desktop traffic share is 66.27% or 810.59 million visits. The mobile traffic share is 33.73% or 412.66 million visits. On average, Reddit.com visitors view 4.6 pages and spend 18 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 47.07%.

Twitter.com — 914 million visits per month

Twitter.com is a social media website. It caters to the specific needs of social media users and attracts people who like to express their opinions and participate in public conversations. The platform also enables users to share images and videos, as well as to advertise products and services. It currently generates 914.46 million visits per month.

Twitter’s desktop traffic share is 36.5% or 333,74 million visits, while its mobile traffic share is 63.5% or 580.72 million visits. Twitter users view 3.5 pages and spend 13 minutes on the website per visit on average. The bounce rate is 49.11.

eBay.com — 895 million visits per month

eBay is a famous name in the online shopping industry. Unlike other popular sites in the niche, it enables visitors to directly trade their products to other visitors. It also comes with an auction feature, which makes its operations even more interesting. Ebay.com is in the 10th position on our list, and it generates 895.04 million visits per month.

The desktop and mobile traffic share are pretty close, 44.11% and 55.89%, respectively. When translated into numbers, desktop traffic amounts to 394.81 million visits and mobile traffic to 500.24 million visits. On average, eBay visitors view 7.2 pages and spend 13 minutes on the website, while the bounce rate is 31.44%.

Instagram.com — 871 million visits per month

Instagram is a social networking service with an emphasis on images and videos. Our civilization definitely has a sweet tooth for social media, given that it’s the third such platform on our list. Instagram.com generates 871.39 million visits per month.

The desktop and mobile traffic share are 53.68% and 46.32%, respectively. In numbers, it looks like this: 467.75 million visits originating from desktop platforms and 403.64 million visits coming from mobile ones. Instagram.com users visit 3.3 pages and spend 16 minutes on the website on average. The bounce rate is 58.09%.

Xvideos.com — 756 million visits per month

Xvideos is another player in the adult entertainment industry market. It’s an adult entertainment online platform with hundreds of thousands of adult videos and images. Currently, Xvideos.com generates 755.95 million unique visits per month.

The desktop traffic share is 14.68% or 111 million visits, while the mobile market share is 85.32% or 644.95 million visits. On average, Xvideos.com visitors view 9.2 web pages and spend 19 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 24.96%.

CNN.com — 676 million visits per month

Cable News Network or CNN is an American news-based television channel with its own website that is quite popular in the US and worldwide. The site features various categories, ranging from World and US politics to business, health, entertainment, and style. CNN.com generates 676.64 million visits per month.

The desktop traffic share is 27.37% or 185.19 million visits, and the mobile traffic share is 72.63%, or 491.44 million visits. The average CNN.com visitor views 2.4 web pages and spends 13 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 52.06%.

Walmart.com — 618 million visits per month

Walmart is a famous brand of North American department stores, and their website is an online shop for Walmart stores. It streamlines shopping for customers, offering great pickup discounts and a low bar on free shipping costs. Walmart.com generates 618.14 million visits per month, which is quite a success given that the company operates in a very specific niche.

The desktop traffic share is 30.57% or 188.95 million visits, while the mobile traffic share is 69.43%, or 429.19 million visits. On average, Walmart.com visitors view 4 pages and spend 9 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 46.75%.

Fandom.com — 604 million visits per month

People love being entertained, and Fandom.com does it perfectly. The website features fun and interesting pages about popular and niche TV shows, movies, and games, all conveniently categorized into searchable wikis. Fandom.com generates 604.29 million visits per month. 

The desktop and mobile traffic share are almost equal, amounting to 49.56% and 50.44% traffic respectively. In numbers, that amounts to 299.47 million visits and 304.82 million visits. The average number of page views is 3, and the average time spent on the website is 11 minutes. The bounce rate is 56.17%.

Craiglist.org — 560 million visits per month

There are thousands of online ad platforms, but there’s only one Craigslist.org. It’s a go-to place for millions of people around the world for classified advertisements. Craiglist.org generates 560.19 million visits per month. 

Craiglist’s mobile traffic share is significantly higher than for the desktop version – it’s currently 80.01% or 448.2 million visits. The desktop traffic share is 19.99% or 111.99 million visits. An average Craiglist.org visitor views 9.5 pages and spends 11 minutes on the website, and the bounce rate is 21.88%.

ESPN.com — 554 million visits per month

ESPN.com caters to the needs of sports fans. The web portal features the latest sports news coverage. Visitors can check scores updated in real-time and read the commentary for all popular sports. ESPN.com generates 554.55 million visits per month.

There are more mobile visitors than desktop ones to ESPN.com. The mobile traffic share is 73.9% or 406.79 million visits, while the desktop traffic share is 26.1% or 144.76 million visits. On average, visitors view 3.5 pages and spend 23 minutes on ESPN.com. The bounce rate is 44.4%.

Xnxx.com — 490 million visits per month

Xnxx is the third online adult entertainment platform on our list. It’s quite obvious that the market for adult videos is huge and very active. The website features adult videos, stories, pictures, and forums, generating 489.95 million visits per month.

Mobile site visitors amount to 90.88% mobile traffic share or 445.26 million visits, while the desktop traffic share is only 9.12% or 44.69 million visits. On average, visitors view 9.7 pages and spend 19 minutes on Xnxx.com. The bounce rate is 23.77%.

Weather.com — 471 million visits per month

Weather forecasts are obviously very important, which is why we have a weather forecast website among the top 20 websites with the most traffic. It delivers both national and weather forecasts for cities around the world, along with weather radar and hurricane coverage. Weather.com generates 471.21 million visits per month.

The mobile traffic share is 80.39% or 378.8 million visits, and the desktop traffic share is 19.61% or 92.41 million visits. The average Weather.com visitor views 2.6 pages and spends 4 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 37.08%. 

Imdb.com — 437 million visits per month

Movie, TV, and celebrity content has a fairly large audience. Imdb.com delivers the latest information about popular movies and TV shows. Many people hit the site to check the ratings and reviews before they decide to watch a movie themselves. Imdb.com generates 436.9 million visits per month.

Interestingly, the Imdb.com desktop and mobile traffic share are well-balanced. The desktop traffic share is 45.05% or 196.78 million visits, while the mobile traffic share is 54.95% or 290.02 million visits. An average visitor views 4.2 pages and spends 6 minutes on the website. The bounce rate is 44.48%.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this has quenched your thirst for interesting facts about the internet and websites. As you can see, the Internet is a very interesting space that currently hosts almost 2 billion websites, among which only about 200 million are active. 

The most popular websites can be grouped into several categories: search engines, social media platforms, online adult entertainment, eCommerce, news, sports, and weather. However, the websites in the top 20 will change as the needs and preferences of the audience change.

2 comments on “How Many Websites Are There? – The Growth of The Web (1990 – 2021)”

  1. Sara kim

    I must say you did a good job. Your way of explaining is excellent.

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