There seems to be no end to what the internet can offer us. We can buy nearly anything, learn anything, and contact anyone else who happens to be online. With the internet growing in usefulness and size, it is becoming an increasingly important part of all of our lives. Yet how much do we know about it? Do we know its true size and what it can do? There’s nothing magic about it, and anyone can learn about it. It just takes the right first steps and a little bit of context. We hope to provide those starting facts for you here.
Here are 45 facts about the internet that are sure to get your thinking.
1. 4.95 Billion People are Using the Internet
That is well over half of the world’s population. And given that this data is from January 2022, the likelihood is that by the time you read this that number will be over five billion. A combination of a growing population and more markets getting reached is contributing to this, as is the decreasing cost of devices and connections.
The current data suggests that half a million people go online for the first time each day, but getting current information on the topic is more difficult than usual due to the pandemic.
2. 62.5 Percent of the World Population Uses the Internet
Using the information from the last fact, we have learned not everyone is using the internet. Depending on your preconceptions this might not seem like much. After all, it seems as though everyone is online in some capacity. This is a reminder that people live and survive without internet access daily.
Will there be an effective cap on the number of people connected? Will some people just refuse? Likely, though the exact number of people remains to be seen.
3. 92.1 Percent of Users Access the Internet Through Their Mobile Device
If a person is using the internet, there is a strong likelihood that they have done so through their mobile device. Given that a smartphone can do most things a computer can, and is much more convenient, that is hardly a surprise.
Granted, these 92.1 percent of users do not exclusively access the internet through mobile devices (though some do). Most people use several different devices. It does show that the internet is by no means limited to computers anymore, as it was in the early days.
4. The Average Internet User Is Online for 6 Hours, 58 Minutes Each Day
To some of you, this might not seem like enough. If someone uses the internet regularly for work that makes sense, and it is a good reminder that more people are reliant on the internet for entertainment and connection than ever before. Most people aren’t thinking about whether they are online or not. Either they are or they aren’t, perhaps as part of another task.
Interestingly, this number is going up regularly, if slightly (a four-minute increase from the last study). What is the upper limit here? There are only 24 hours in a day, after all.
5. There are 5.31 Billion Unique Mobile Phone Users on the Planet
By many measurements, mobile is taking over. Basic smartphones are sufficiently cheap for most people to have one, and the infrastructure is there to provide service. There are actually more unique mobile users than there are internet users, and most of the population has a mobile device. This number is only expected to increase over time, and it will have a huge impact on politics, globalization, the economy, and so much more.
6. The Average Social Media User Is on 7.5 Platforms Each Month
This might sound like a lot more than most people need, but remember that not all will be used equally. There are many LinkedIn accounts, but people do not use the platform nearly as much as Facebook or Twitter. Some social networks have more specialist purposes, and the average person uses at least a few major platforms.
We recommend taking a look at your own browser history and (more importantly) smartphone. How many social media apps do you have installed?
7. Amazon Web Services is a Huge Part of Amazon’s Business Model.
It is hard to overstate the absolute dominance that Amazon Web Services has over the internet. It represents a great deal of the company's revenue at this point, and if everything else the tech giant does disappears overnight, Amazon would eventually be fine just from the strength of this aspect of their business.
This does lead to some concerns about how much power they have, and whether there is a security risk in consolidating so much of the internet under one system. If something happened to AWS, then a large chunk of the internet would be knocked out, affecting all of us.
8. Amazon Has a Market Cap of $1.611 Trillion as of April 2022
This number will obviously change over time as Amazon has its ups and downs, but this is a massive number nonetheless. This makes it the world’s fifth most valuable company, and its value alone is greater than the GDP of all but ten countries.
This is to say nothing of the other tech giants, each with their own massive market caps. We are moving more towards a centralized internet, for better and for worse. How governments, consumers, and the companies themselves react will be an important thing to follow in the coming decade.
9. There Are About 1.93 Billion Websites Online
This are more websites than most of us can comprehend, and more than anyone could visit in a lifetime. Naturally, many of these websites are effectively all but dead, getting virtually no traffic or serving some specialized purpose. Nonetheless, you can visit them to learn more about the internet as it was or about subcultures and niches you never thought existed. If there is a topic or product, there is a website for it in some form.
This number will vary over time, as websites expire and as more get built. Yet if previous trends are anything to go by, we will reach two billion websites sooner rather than later.
10. The Number of Websites has Nearly Doubled Since 2014
The number of websites being created each year generally also increases every year. Though there are a few years where the number has effectively corrected itself, resulting in a spike downward, this doesn’t keep the numbers down for long. In the year 2000, there were only 17.1 million websites. By 2010 there were 207 million (and this was a downturn year). After a few years of decline, we are in a period of huge growth again, and there is much more to create online.
11. WordPress Powers 40 Percent of Top Websites
Out of the top ten million websites on the Internet (there are hundreds of millions more, but most are negligible), 40 percent are powered by WordPress. Now not all of them are necessarily a website with WordPress in the address. That can be removed for a fee. Yet it is important to note, partially because WordPress provides security risks if not updated and that one platform is responsible for so much. It is, however, a highly customizable platform that will continue to be used for years to come.
12. GoDaddy Hosts the Most Websites in the World
You might have heard of GoDaddy before from their advertising campaigns. It happens to be one of the top hosting platforms in the world, serving a bit more than 44 million websites as of this writing. How fares the competition? Not very well, if you look at the top platforms:
Note that the total number of websites isn’t always a perfect metric to go by. If you consider only the top million websites on the internet, then GoDaddy ranks tenth. Quality might beat out the quantity in looking at the importance of the internet as a whole.
13. The First Website Launched on August 6th, 1991
The internet is a lot older than this, but the first website as we might know it was launched on this date by Tim Berners Lee, a CERN employee. You can still visit a form of the website today. It is not all that spectacular by today's standards, but it worked and it set the groundwork for all of the amazing tools and services we have access to today.
14. January 1st, 1983 is Considered the Birthday of the Internet
The exact date and definition of the birth of the internet are held in some contention (the internet is made of several technologies, and we have to think about what makes the internet the internet), but this date is one of the most commonly cited. It was when computers could “talk” to each other using TCP/IP and have a standard method of communication. A lot of work was needed to make it available to the public and turn it into what we know today, but it was a huge step.
15. Advertising Makes Up Most of Google’s Revenue
Advertising is where most of Google’s revenue comes from, despite the many services they offer. Advertising revenue in 2021 reached about $209.5 billion. There’s a reason why Google provides such a robust search service, and you may be surprised at just how much businesses are willing to spend on Google Ads in various forms.
Google can and will expand into other industries and services, but take note when you use the search engine what is an advertisement and what is not.
16. Google Has 91.56 Percent of the Global Search Engine Market Share
There is no substitute for Google, and people rarely use anything else. Google SEO matters most, and most businesses run on that idea. Various Google tools and services and ingrained in our daily lives, and it is hard to imagine not keeping everything integrated. There are naturally concerns about tech giants being so centralized, but for the moment Google is doing things best and showing people what they want.
17. Bing Is Second in Search Engine Market Share, at 3.1 Percent
This is tiny compared to Google, and it shows. Bing isn’t given nearly as much attention from individuals, companies, or anyone else. Some would argue that it is only used because it is the default on certain devices and browsers. There needs to be competition in the search engine market, but people usually need an impetus to reject an existing service.
Will Bing or another competitor manage to dethrone Google or even gain some ground back soon? It seems unlikely, but innovation is always possible.
18. Google Is the Most Visited Website in the World
In what comes as no surprise, Google is the most visited site in the world, being a portal to the search engine. Yet take a look at the other top ten sites to see what people are interested in:
Out of these, three are search engines, one is Wikipedia, one is a news and media site, one is an adult site, and four are social media. YouTube is interesting in that it can count as both social media and video sharing. There is likely to be some movement in the lower ranks, but the top five sites are not going anywhere soon if the numbers are anything to be believed.
19. Facebook is (Still) the King of Social Media
Despite all of the talk of Facebook’s downfall and people not using it as much, it still is popular and still is the most widely used network in the world, with roughly 2.9 Billion Users. People use it regularly for a variety of reasons, often to keep in touch with family, and Facebook Messenger remains one of the most popular messenger services in the world.
If you look more deeply into the matter, the Facebook “family” of social media apps is doing very well, with both WhatsApp and Instagram topping the charts as well.
Facebook will need to keep innovating and gaining users to stay at the top, but on the surface, it is doing just fine.
20. Chinese Social Media Is A Huge Contender and Its Own World
Chinese social media can be a difficult topic to discuss because for the most part it is so far removed from the Western world. Most other platforms are international with users in almost every developed country, with perhaps some skewing one way or another. If you look at the last point, you will find Weixin, DouYin, QQ, and Sina Weibo. Yet unless you are interested in these topics, you’ll have barely heard of them. That is because they are extremely popular in China, and often the only ones allowed due to censorship. Networks can break out (TikTok), but few can break in.
21. 77 Percent of American Adults Are Online Every Day
Depending on your perspective this might seem like too few, but there are still people content to not live their lives online. It is also important to note that this number is likely to rise over time. More careers and lifestyles require internet access than ever before (especially after the pandemic), and even basic services are easier to access with an internet connection. The world does not seem like it will wait forever.
Also, the older demographics in the United States were not raised with computers and did not feel any need to use them until recently. Children today are practically born with a tablet in their hands. As the population in general ages, the percentage of adults that rely on the internet will increase.
It should be noted, however, that statistics of this nature are often self-reported, and the number can change regularly. Regardless of the specifics, most Americans are online daily and couldn’t imagine anything else.
22. Internet Addiction Is a Problem, but the Exact Numbers Still Aren’t In
As more people could go online and more could be done online, more people became addicted or dependent on the internet. You probably know someone that seems to be practically addicted to the internet or at least their smartphone, unable to leave their screen alone for any period of time. And while that might sound like a lot of us, there are degrees of severity and hopefully, you can take a break without too many issues.
Yet a problem that is hard to define is a problem that is hard to solve. There might be an addiction rate of anywhere between 1.5 percent and 8 percent. We have a loose definition of dependence and addiction, but most of the studies on this issue aren’t in yet or are incomplete. And we are not sure whether to classify the problem as an addiction as we traditionally know it? Scholars, policymakers, and the average person alike will have to work to learn more about the issue and determine what the parameters of the problem are.
23. There are 3.96 Billion Social Media Users as of 2022
Social media is so huge that most of us take it as a given, but not everyone was on it only some years ago. About 2.86 billion people were on social media in 2017. And the further back you go, the more you will see a dropoff.
Yet the current number is rising regularly. There may be a plateau in the coming decade as the world market becomes saturated and everyone who wants to go online will be able to, but for the moment social media networks are expanding on the whole, and they will be continuing to compete for people’s energy and attention.
24. TikTok is the Most Rapidly Growing Social Network
Just based on the public discussion you will likely notice that this is the case. While there was certainly rapid adoption of other social networks you know about today, it’s hard to rival what TikTok accomplished, effectively shaping youth culture overnight. Despite security concerns and calls for banning it from some people in the United States, it looks as though it is here to stay.
The exact numbers are hard to pin down, but TikTok is estimated to have at least 1 billion users based on data from later last year. The growth hasn’t stopped, so we could see 1.5 billion or even two billion users soon.
25. 80 Percent of Social Media Time Takes Place on Smartphones
This is perhaps because smartphones provide such quick access and social media is a great distraction for those idle minutes of the day (and add up). One also might not get so many notifications from social media on their other devices, while their smartphone will quickly remind them of the latest new interaction to engage with.
It should also be noted that plenty of social media platforms are only available on smartphones or have limited functionality on a computer. These apps were designed to be driven by smartphones, and it is working.
Will we see a return to the desktop driven social media platform? It seems unlikely.
26. 70 Percent of People Dislike Mobile Ads
Out of the ads online, people really dislike mobile ads. Perhaps it's how intrusive they can be or how they can deeply interfere with how you are experiencing the content you want to. More sites are trying to get people to sign up for a premium service, and the removal of ads is a strong motivator.
However, most everyone dislikes ads and would rather go without them. Does this stop people from using certain apps or mobile sites? In general, it does not seem so, so long as the ads are not too intrusive. People have put up with ads forever, and they will continue to do so, even on their smartphones.
27. Mobile Ad Spending Will Reach $137.13 Billion in 2022
Sure, people dislike mobile ads, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work. And as long as the mobile ads work, companies will continue to invest in them. Spending has jumped dramatically over the last few years. Most of the spending comes from the retail industry, but other industries such as financial services and consumer packaged goods also spend tens of billions on mobile ads every year.
And spending is only estimated to increase year after year for the foreseeable future. This is likely a combination of ads getting more expensive on top outlets, an increase in production value, and extraneous factors like inflation.
28. People View Native Ads 53 Percent More than Banner Ads
Banner Ads are easy to ignore, and doing so is practically second nature to anyone using the internet these days. Native ads, however, are not so easy to filter out, and people look at them more often.
A native ad is an ad designed to look heavily like the content on the website you are on, likely in agreement with the site you are on. It may take the form of a sponsored article or something similar. Critics say they are misleading to potential readers looking for something like an honest review or the news, but it is clear that they work, and so they will continue without outside action to reign them in. In short, they are more immersive, and thus more likely to get attention in their own way.
29. Cybercriminals Attack Every 39 Seconds
Every 39 seconds, some form of cybercriminal (hacker, social engineer, etc.) will attack some organization or individual online, and this is probably a conservative estimate. There is malware that is constantly acting to adversely affect people, and there is a constant stream of attacks in the form of DDOS attempts and the like. Regardless, cybercriminals and becoming more numerous and getting bolder, making them an unavoidable part of online life.
Naturally, there might be dips and upticks in this rate depending on the time of day and potential opportunities, but overall we can expect more attacks over time.
30. There Are More than 1900 Active Hacking Groups
One cannot discuss the internet without discussing hacking groups. It can be a hard thing to keep track of, but it is vital that we do. And contrary to the myth seen in movies of the lone hacker, most cybercriminals and hackers work in groups and collectives. It is simply more efficient that way, and other benefits are working together offers them.
There are 1900 groups, each with its own ideas, practices, and goals. They are regularly changing and evolving. And by the time you read this, that number could reach over 2000 distinct groups.
31. 30,000 Sites Are Hacked Every Day
Hacks happen quickly and they happen often. Several dozen sites (at least) are probably getting hacked in the course of you reading this article. And unfortunately, this is a normal occurrence, despite the best efforts of cybersecurity professionals. The reasons for this are numerous and there are more things to write about the topic than we possibly have time for. Simply put: the opportunities are there, and enough cybercriminals are successful.
The good news is that these sites aren’t just randomly selected. Some sites get the brunt of attempts due to their size (many hackers would love to get into Amazon, for example). However, the vast majority of successful attempts are on sites you haven’t and will never year about. They are mostly sites with old versions of WordPress, that aren’t maintained properly.
32. There are 112 Listings on the FBI’s “Cyber Most Wanted” Page
This is certainly an increase in previous years, and an indication that cybercrime is not only taking the forefront of the public mind but also the mind of law enforcement. Cybercriminals can be tougher to track down due to the often anonymous nature of the internet and the fact that international borders don’t mean much to them.
It might also be an interesting time to sort through all the listings on the page, to see the backgrounds and crimes of these individuals. It can provide a greater level of insight into what cybercriminals are doing and what the FBI sees as a priority.
33. Sixty Percent of SMBs go out of business after Falling Victim to a Cyberattack.
Most cyberattacks are on these types of businesses, and the impact can be devastating. Whether it is a data breach, a hack, or something else, these businesses do not have a lot of wiggle room to work out a recovery or backup plan, and as such do not survive the ordeal. This makes it vital that SMBs work out a cybersecurity plan ahead of time.
This number might be slightly inflated by the fact that small businesses regularly go out of business for all sorts of reasons, especially early on in their lifecycle. It might not be a direct result of the attack.
34. It Is Estimated that there will be 25.4 Billion IoT Devices in 2030.
The Internet of Things is already here, and it isn’t going anywhere. Out of all the different devices on the market, there is hardly an appliance that does not have a smart version. Current estimates vary wildly to the tune of billions and may depend on the definition of an IoT device in the first place.
The actual amount of devices that will be on the market in 2030 will depend on several things, including whether there is a shortage of certain parts, whether there are certain products that take off, and the number of investment companies who want to put into these products.
35. In 2021, 60.3 Percent of United States Drivers Were Driving a Connected Vehicle.
This figure is expected to rise by another ten percent by 2025. The internet goes beyond what we imagine as devices. The car is perhaps the largest item on the list of common connected items in the car of today. Nearly all have some form of connectivity, and car manufacturers and tech companies alike will be looking for more opportunities to integrate. We might be some time off from the self-driving car, but constant steps are being taken toward a more internet-connected driving experience.
36. Less than Ten Percent of United States Consumers Use Biometric Authentication
This is even though most of them think that it is a safer and more convenient option than passwords, PINS, and the like.
Yet why is this the case? Don’t people normally gravitate towards what is convenient? Yes, although there might be a gap between the ideal biometric security option and what is available on the average smartphone or device. It might not pick up on the scan often enough or be reliable enough to trust 100 percent of the time. As much as people want convenience, they want consistency.
37. English Is the World’s Most Common Website Language
As of January 2020, 25.9 percent of the websites online are in English (or are majority comprised of English).
This is interesting given that there are other languages used more widely than English as a first language, though English is used throughout the world and is used heavily throughout the developed world. With the centralization of technology where it is, perhaps this comes as no surprise.
With better translation programs and an increasingly globalized world, the language barrier might not be as big of a problem for worldwide users in the coming years and decades. For now, though, people who cannot speak English, Chinese, or Spanish are cut off from a large part of the internet.
38. 2.14 Billion People Shopped Online in 2021
A lot of what drove the growth of the Internet was eCommerce, and as of 2021 more than two billion people were engaging in it in some form. Practically everyone in the developed world buys something online, ranging from toilet paper to specialty art goods. And as more people realize they can get anything online and logistics improve, more people will be shopping online. The pandemic only spurred on this growth, creating an increased need for eCommerce.
39. 75 Percent of Customers Use Their Smartphones
Mobile commerce is becoming a huge part of eCommerce in general, and the stats are starting to come in to back that up. People will regularly research products on their smartphones and will be happy to buy something right from their phone if it’s a good deal. And with developers and companies making the entire process easier, people will continue to grow more comfortable with it in the coming years.
40. 58.4 Percent of Internet Users Ages 16-64 Buy Something Online Each Week
That is a regular occurrence for most internet users, especially every week. It is now easier than ever to buy practically anything online, it makes sense for a lot of households to search online for a product instead of going to the store. This makes the most sense for luxury or specialty products.
Naturally, this says a lot about the state of eCommerce. It is a regular occurrence, and will only become more regular as logistics and shipping improve. Everything to do with eCommerce certainly got a boost from the pandemic, but it merely sped up an inevitability.
41. 33.6 Percent of Customers Go Online to Look Up Prices While in a Store
The internet has even changed standard retail shopping. Why spend more for something in a store when you can often have it shipped to your house at a lower price for free shipping? And as a younger crowd starts shopping, this will become a more common practice.
This does spell some bad news for big box stores, which will likely have to adapt and improve their own online shopping experiences. Some have responded with online price matching, but
42. 14.4 Percent Bought a Second-Hand Item Online
While plenty of people are willing to buy things online, not many might are willing to buy second-hand goods. It can be difficult to verify quality online, and product descriptions and photos can easily cover up the damage. There is a lot of potential for fraud that customers feel is unaddressed, leading to this statistic.
43. The Deep Web Is Huge
The exact size of the deep web is hard to estimate, though it had about 7,500 TB of information years ago. It is said that it is hundreds of times the size of the web as we are used to it, and most of it is technically accessible (even if we would have no clue how to do so). The web as we know it comprises about four percent of what is available.
Note that the Deep Web is not necessarily the Dark Web. The Deep Web is just those pages and sites that are not indexed by search engines for some reason. You usually need a password or a direct link to access these pages. Think of videos you need an account on a streaming service to access. Some things we use so often we might not realize they are restricted to most of us.
44. The Dark Web Makes Up Less than Five Percent of the Internet
Based on the massive size of the deep web and available knowledge, the dark web cannot be that huge. That is, however, about as accurate as we can get.
The dark web is more based on restricted and anonymous access. You won’t be able to go on the dark web with your standard browser, instead of requiring something like Tor. You also cannot so freely explore it, often requiring passwords to even know what a site is about, even if you stumble upon it.
45. It Is Hard to Get a Handle on the Dark Web
Unlike the regular internet where we can get information simply if, with some effort, the dark web is something entirely different. We do not know exactly how many dark web marketplaces there are, or the frequency of transactions there. There is no way to truly index it and having it would partially defeat the purpose of the dark web. We would recommend that you take the most exact stats and percentages regarding the dark web with a grain of salt.
We would like to note that not everything happening on the dark web is illegal or even controversial. There is everything from baking recipes to book clubs on the dark web. There is even a New York Times site available on the dark web. However, the fact remains that it is the place online where criminal activity of all types takes place.
This is a lot of information to take in, and that’s ok. There will not be a quiz later (from us, at least) and you can come back to this page whenever you’d like. After 45 fascinating facts, we hoped you have learned something that has piqued your interest further on the internet or given you a broader perspective on the online space we all share. Have a great day online, and keep learning whenever you have a chance.