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How many websites are there in the world?

Calculating the total number of web sites in the world

I wanted to know how many web sites are there in the world. I’ve searched Google and have got varied results. Maybe you can help me out. I need to know the number of web sites for a school project.
Brian Doole

This seemingly simple question is not an easy one to answer. The problem is that no single agency controls the Internet (even though we all like to think that the CIA does!). Even so, can we come up with some kind of figure for the total number of web sites in the world?

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By the way, there is one more issue which we need to consider when trying to find the total number of websites which is the dynamic nature of the web. Things keep on changing always on the Internet and at a lightning fast pace. Web sites and web pages are added and removed every second! FYI, Google doesn’t search the internet in real time and it certainly doesn’t search the whole of the web! You see, there is just too much information on the web.

Deducing the total number of websites through hostnames

Another problem when counting the number of websites is defining what a web site is! Should two blogs on Blogger.com (for instance, blog1.blogger.com and blog2.blogger.com) be considered individual websites or are they just subdomains? Similarly, would the individual Twitter pages (micro-blogs) be regarded as different websites? Unfortunately, there are no consistent answers to such questions.

Anyway, the most respected source that keeps track of such information is Netcraft.com. They, however, count hostnames – machines running the web server software. As most of you know, many small and medium sized web sites run on shared servers (or hostnames). Therefore, there would be many more web sites in the world than hostnames.

Total number of web sites - hostnames from Netcraft

At the time of writing, there are 256 million hostnames in the world. The total number of web sites (and blogs, micro-blogs etc.) would be much, much more – a billion perhaps?

Website count through domain names

Another way to count the total number of websites is to look at domain names. As per Pingdom, in 2009, there were 187 million domain names and there was a 8% increase from the previous year. Assuming the same kind of growth, there would be about 202 million domain names in 2010! But this method of determining the total number of web sites is far from accurate as many domain names don’t have web sites.

I personally prefer basing the number of websites in the world on hostnames data rather than domain names. So would there be a billion websites in the world? Probably… and that would be enough for your school project. Case closed!

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Your comments
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  • Oldest website on the Internet « surethink on July 10th, 2011 11:18 pm

    […] 256 million hostnames and 187 million domain names (www.webdevelopersnotes.com) […]

  • Grace Wall on March 10th, 2012 4:58 am

    I like the way you’ve come up with these numbers though there is still a lot of gray area.

  • Awojobi Adebanjo on April 26th, 2012 3:29 am

    I think there are many more web sites. What about the underworld web?

  • Ranjit Jena on June 23rd, 2012 8:40 am

    There are zillions of web sites in the world.

  • Abhineet Pratyush on April 11th, 2013 3:37 pm

    Great article. Loved the way u came at those nos. and ur site is really very helpful for budding web developers. Thanks a lot!

  • newwebsitethemes on August 24th, 2013 4:52 pm

    Thanks for the great information, the number of websites / pages will increases day by day, the current top level domain name register including .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz and .us are around 146,458,111 on August 24, 2013.

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