Web about to reach one billion site mark

Michael PhillipsHere at Everleap we use the Windows Azure Pack, so we’re always happy to see headlines like, “Microsoft threatening Apache’s market lead” in Netcraft’s May 2014 Web Server Survey.

But even more interesting than that are the latest Netcraft website numbers: “In the May 2014 survey we received responses from 975,262,468 sites — 16 million more than last month.”

That means that this summer – in June or July – the web will hit the one billion sites mark. (Update: We reached it in early July!)

That’s a staggering number, and when you put it into perspective it’s even more amazing. The first Netcraft survey was done in August of 1995 (the first year that www data surpassed ftp data), and it reported that there were 18,957 web sites. Total. In the world.

At the time, 18,957 web sites was equal to one website for every 300,785 people on earth. Meaning in a group of people the size of the population of Pittsburgh, one person would run a website. In a group the size of Los Angeles, a dozen. Two dozen in London, 40 in Tokyo – you get the idea. It was still a fringe technology that few of us used or even understood.

But a mere ten years later, in October of 2005, there were 74 million sites on the web. An astounding 390,257% increase, and one website for every 87 humans. The web had become mainstream, and it would only be a few years before your mother was commenting on your Facebook posts.

Now in the summer of 2014, we rapidly approach one billion web sites. One website for every 7 people.


What I find fascinating about these numbers is that despite sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Google+ becoming the hub of many people’s online worlds, we are still compelled to create new websites of our own.

The early days of the web were all about establishing a presence in the world: fan sites, family sites, blogs, businesses, and I suppose our desire to stand up and be counted is so deeply ingrained that it will never go away. Even when there are 2 or 3 websites for every person on earth. 😉

And I truly believe that we will eventually hit the 2 or 3 sites per person mark. I started in this business in 1995, and eight years later, when I was moving to a job at my second hosting company, a friend of mine said, “What are you doing? Web hosting is dead! Everyone who wants a site already has one!”

To be honest, I didn’t really disagree with him. It certainly seemed to be true at the time. But clearly we were wrong, as here we are more than a decade later, talking about the continuing growth of the web.

So here’s to the web! A revolutionary ongoing human experiment that takes us into new and unknown territory every day. How lucky are we?

Calculations based on the following:
1995 mid-year world population: 5,702,000,000
2005 mid-year world population: 6,464,750,000
2014 mid-year world population: 7,164,000,000
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