Did you ever wonder how busy the servers of the world’s largest social networks are? It turns out it’s very hard work being popular, especially for the number one player.
According to data from Google, Facebook serves 260 billion page views per month. That’s more than six million page views per minute, or a staggering 37.4 trillion page views in a year. We can safely assume that Facebook’s web servers aren’t getting bored waiting around for work to do.
No wonder Facebook needs as many as 30,000 servers, and they probably keep adding more and more. After all, they’re still growing.
Not that the web servers of other social networks are on a picnic, although they’re on a totally different playing field. A few samples:
- MySpace: 24 billion page views per month
- Twitter: 4.4 billion page views per month
- LinkedIn: 1.9 billion page views per month
If you ever had any doubts that Facebook is king of the hill, at least in terms of sheer site activity, have a look at the chart here below that we put together using data from Google Ad Planner. These are global numbers.
A few observations on scale:
- Facebook has almost 11 times as many monthly page views as MySpace, which came up second, and 59 times as many as Twitter.
- In turn, Twitter has more than twice as many monthly page views as LinkedIn.
- Digg has twice as many monthly page views as Reddit and more than seven times as many as Slashdot.
- Comparing the first and last on this list, Facebook has 5,778 times as many monthly page views as FriendFeed (which Facebook owns these days anyway).
There are of course plenty of other things that can keep servers busy other than serving web pages, for example streaming music or video, third-party data access via APIs (for example Twitter apps), etc.
Also, don’t get page views confused with actual visits or user numbers. Having more users makes it more likely that sites have many page views, but there are also other factors to consider, such the site design itself and the type of service it offers. Some sites encourage exploration more than others, clicking around to different pages. We’re going to have a closer look at this in a later post.
But for now, let’s just admire the incredible amount of work being done by these sites, every minute and hour of the day. Being popular in social media is hard work. No wonder people complain when social network sites have downtime, there are always a ton of people using them.
Note: As always when working with estimates (which Google and all other external data collection services do), there will be a margin of error in the numbers.