There’s no easy way to find out or explain the size of the web.
After all, though there are a few governing bodies and consortia, there’s no real central control system for the Internet. No one really knows with 100% certainty exactly how many websites exist, for example, or how many new websites are set up each day.
However, a few organizations do make it their business to keep an eye on the domain names that make up the Internet as the web continues its rapid sprawl throughout the infinite expanses of cyberspace. Although their data isn’t infallible, it does give us a pretty good idea of the size and growth of the web.
We’ve gathered information from a few of these sources and created some handy graphics below to help put it all in perspective.
How Old Is the Web?
The oldest currently registered URL is Symbolics.com, which was registered March 15, 1985. Other notable domains in the first 10 registered URLs include Northrop.com, Xerox.com, and HP.com, all registered in 1985. [source: WhoIs.com]
Who Registers the Web’s Domains?
GoDaddy is the largest ICANN registrar of domain names, controlling almost a third of the total market and almost half of domains from the top ten registrars. Enom, Tucows, and Network Solutions are next in line, with 5-9% each. [source: WebHosting.info]
How Many TLDs Exist?
A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the URL that comes after the dot. There are currently 324 TLDs. 291 of these are country codes. Only 5 TLDs (.com, .net, .biz, .info and .org) are unrestricted and unreserved for specific types of sites. [source: IANA]
How Fast Is the Web Growing?
Just how fast is the web growing? In 2009, around 3.7 million new domains were registered each month. As of June 2011, it’s not uncommon for 150,000 new domains to be registered with generic TLDs alone in a single day. [sources: VeriSign and DailyChanges.com]
How Big Is the Web?
How many websites are there? That’s a difficult question to answer, because there’s no central control system for the Internet. Here are some tidbits we do know:
- In 1992, fewer than 15,000 .com URLs had been registered.
- By 1998, Google said it was indexing 26 million pages.
- By 2007, one survey of the web found .
- In 2008, Google revealed it was indexing 1 trillion unique URLs.
[graphic source: Netcraft]
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