The most popular sites since 1993
Over the past three decades, the Internet has grown at a mind-boggling pace.
In 1993, there were fewer than 200 sites available on the World Wide Web. Fast forward to 2022, and that number has grown to 2 billion.
This animation is by James Eagle It provides a historical look at the evolution of the Internet, showing the most popular sites over the years from 1993 to 2022.
From the 1990s to the early 2000s: the dial-up Internet
The proto-internet could have been in use as early as the 1970s, but the user-centric and widely accessible version we believe today wasn’t really achieved until the early 1990s with dial-up modems.
Dial-up gave users access to the web through a modem connected to an active phone line. There were many different portals in the 1990s to use the Internet, such as Prodigy and CompuServe, but AOL soon became the most popular.
AOL has been the most visited site for nearly a decade. By June 2000, the online portal was out 400 million monthly visits. For context, there were about 413 million internet users around the world at the time.
|Rank||website||Monthly visits (May 2000)|
But when broadband Internet came to market and made telephony obsolete, AOL lost ground, and a new website took the lead – Yahoo.
The mid-2000s: Yahoo vs. Google
Founded in 1994, Hey ho It started as a web directory that was originally called “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”
When the company began to gain traction, it changed its name to Yahoo, which became a back name that stands for “another hierarchical oracle.”
Yahoo grew rapidly and by the early 2000s, it had become the most popular website on the Internet. It held its position in the lead for several years – by April 2004, Yahoo was receiving 5.6 billion monthly visits.
|Rank||website||Monthly visits (April 2004)|
But Google was close to that. Founded in 1998, Google started out as a more simple and efficient search engine, and the website quickly gained traction.
It’s funny that Google was actually Yahoo’s default search engine in the early 2000s until Yahoo dropped Google so it could use its search engine technology in 2004.
Over the next few years, Google and Yahoo competed fiercely, and both names rotated at the top of the list of the most popular sites. Then, in 2010, Yahoo’s trajectory began to head south after a series of missed opportunities and unsuccessful moves.
This cemented Google’s position at the top, and the website remains the most popular site as of January 2022.
Late 2000s, early 2000s: Social media enters the chat
While Google has held its place at the top for nearly two decades, it is worth highlighting the rise of social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.
YouTube and Facebook were certainly not the first social media platforms to gain traction. MySpace was successful in 2007 – at one time, it was the third most popular website on the World Wide Web.
|Rank||website||Monthly visits (January 2007)|
But YouTube and Facebook ushered in a new era for social media platforms, in part because of their flawless timing. Both platforms entered the scene at the same time that smartphone innovations were turning the mobile industry upside down. The design of the iPhone, and the introduction of the App Store in 2008, has made it easier than ever to access the Internet via your mobile device.
As of January 2022, YouTube and Facebook are still the second and third most visited websites on the Internet.
1920s: Google is now synonymous with the internet
Google is by far the leading search engine, making up about 90% of all web, mobile and in-app searches.
What are the most popular websites in a few years? Will Google continue to lead? There are no signs of the internet giant slowing down anytime soon, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that things are changing. And no one should feel comfortable at the top.
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