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How we got from 1 to 162 million websites on the internet

According to the latest numbers, there are more than 162 million websites on the internet today. We have come a long way since the first baby steps of the World Wide Web. Back in January of 1996 we had 100,000 websites, and if we go back to mid-1993 there were only a total of 130 websites. Not much need for Google in those days…

So how has the number of websites grown over time? Here is how we got from 1 to 162 million websites:

Number of websites on the internet from 1990 to 2008
The graph covers December 1990 to March 2008.

The early growth is difficult to see in the graph, so here is a table showing how long it took before the web grew to 100,000 websites:

Number of websites, Dec 90 to Jan 96
Date Number of websites
Dec 90 1
Dec 91 10
Dec 92 50
Jun 93 130
Sep 93 204
Oct 93 228
Dec 93 623
Jun 94 2,738
Dec 94 10,022
Jun 95 23,500
Jan 96 100,000

Hey, Pingdom could have monitored the uptime of the entire World Wide Web back then! :)

The world’s first website

Wonder about that one, single website back in December of 1990? That was info.cern.ch, the first-ever website and web server, created by Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the WWW).

It’s amazing how the web has gone from consisting of just this first little web page to the huge network of millions and millions of websites that it is today, and how pervasive the web has become in our society. We do our banking online, read our news online, have our encyclopedias online, meet friends online. And all this has happened since 1990.

Notes on the numbers

The definition of what counts as a website varies, but the numbers here are hostnames connected to sites that respond. The numbers from Netcraft (August 1995 and onward) include parked pages as well, so it is larger than the number of “active” websites.

Some of the data was taken from Hobbes’ Internet Timeline and then complemented with Netcraft data.