Number of websites 1998 - 2000:








2001/10: 8,400,000

2006/11: 100,000,000

Web reaches new milestone: 100 million sites
November 1, 2006

The Web now has 100 million sites
There were 18,000 Web sites in August of 1995
Web sites have become a way to bond and belong




October 14, 2001:

On the size of the World Wide Web

OCLC has made another survey of the size of the Web and finds that the growth is slowing down. Pandia takes a look at the importance of language on the Web.

October 14 2001.

The size of the Web

Researchers at the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC)claim that the Web now contains Some 8.4 million unique sites, compared to 7.1 million in year 2000.

Given that the number in 1999 was 4.6 million, this indicates that the growth of the Web is slowing down. The growth from 1999 to 2000 was 53 percent, from 2000 to 2001 only 18.

This should come as no surprise. The period up to 2000 was exactly the years where Web presence became a necessity among companies and public institutions in the industrialized countries.

Now as so many of them has got their own Web property, the growth must slow down, and one cannot expect the rest of the world to pick up the slack. The fact that we are in the midst of a dot com depression does not help either.

Public sites

Out of the present 8.4 million websites, 3.1 million are classified as public sites (i.e. a site that offers content that is freely accessible to the general public), 2.1 as private (with restricted access) and 3.2 provisional or in a transitory or unfinished state, according to OCLC.

The importance of language

The Web remains predominantly an English speaking continent. As many as 73 percent of the sites have material predominantly written in the English language. Number two, German, is found on 7 percent of the sites, Japanese on 5 percent, French and Spanish on 3 percent each.

There are several reasons for this English dominance. The main one is American Web usage of course. 47 percent of all public websites are found in the US. Moreover, several of the most Internet intensive countries has English as their mother tongue, including Canada, the UK and Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.

At the same time the language of Shakespeare has become the lingua franca of the Web. A Norwegian site like Pandia is written fully in English, as it gives us the widest reach possible.

This does not mean that webmasters should underestimate the power of having a non-English version of their websites, however. The fact that there are fewer German or Spanish websites, means that the chances of getting a good position in the search engines for pages written in these languages increases significantly.

Many search engine optimizers are taking advantage of this. Even if they do not translate entire sites into -- let's say -- Dutch, they do perhaps translate an article or make a so-called doorway page in order to lure the Dutch into their main English site.

As regards the Dutch, the Scandinavians and some strata of the Indian population, this may actually work fine, as most of them read English very well. Many Europeans, Latin-Americans and Asians prefer not read text not written in their own tongue, however, meaning that you will have to translate the main parts of a website in order to reach them. Now, that could be very expensive, if you have to hire a professional translator.

Link popularity

OCLC has also a list of the Top 50 Web Sites Most Frequently Linked to from Other Sites. Note: This list does not measure the number of visitors to a site, and is therefore not a reliable measure of a site's true popularity. It does, however, say something about how important webmasters think these websites are.

At the top of the list you find Microsoft and Netscape, probably indicating that there remain a lot of "Download Netscape 4.7 now!" buttons out there. But then again, they are both search engine portals in their own right.

As regards the more traditional search sites, one finds Yahoo at number six and Alta Vista at number seven, Excite at number 13 and Google at number 14, Lycos at number 18 and Infoseek at number 19. The fact that Infoseek is no more, demonstrates the historical lag of these statistics. Many webmasters don't bother to update many of their links. It is a fair guess that Google will be closer to the top very soon.