How Many Websites Are There In The World In 2020?

Netcraft have provided a new estimate of how many websites there are in the world in 2020.

It is impossible to be absolutely certain how many there are but UK research company Netcraft have released their latest June 2019 survey of web servers.

They received responses from about 1.3 billion hostnames – a decrease of 300 million (23%) in the last year. But hostnames are just registered website domain names – it doesn’t mean that they also have an actively maintained website on them that you can visit and browse.

How many Active Websites Are There In 2020?

Interestingly, the number of active websites is only 186 million – so there are more than 1.1 billion inactive sites. That suggests that 85% of all the website names in the world are not actually being used to host an active site on that domain name – but why not?

I think it is because many of these will be domain names bought to cover every possible eventuality e.g. a large company like Apple will buy the Apple .info and .net domain names (and many others) to prevent cyber-squatters misusing them to profit from the goodwill of the Apple trademark.

These ‘ghost’ domain names are either parked or simply redirect web browsers to the primary domain name e.g.

Other inactive sites could be speculative domain names registered by individuals e.g. you might register just in case you ever become famous ;-)

And the rest of the inactive sites are likely to be domain names that have been pre-registered in bulk and parked – often by domain registrar companies like Godaddy to sell off later.

The full Netcraft report is here and is updated each month.

Huge Increase In Hostnames

As shown in the report, it’s astonishing that 10 years ago (June 2009) the total number of hostnames was only 238 million – just 18% of the current total. That would explain why it is so difficult to find a good (and short) new website name nowadays – all the best ones are already taken – plus the good ones, the average ones and even most of the poor ones!

If you want to register a new website name today you often have to pay a premium to buy a pre-registered name or come up with something unique (e.g. your business name) or a clever workaround by combining multiple words.

The pre-registering of hostnames is further shown by the fact that the total number of new hostnames added in the whole of 2009 was just 48m – but nowadays that rate of increase can be achieved in a couple of weeks!

Number Of Active Websites Is Fairly Static

From 2009 to 2012 there was a dramatic increase in the number of active websites – from 71 million to 182 million.

However, the total number of active websites has remained much the same ever since 2012 – holding quite stable at around 180 million.


It’s really hard to find a good website hostname that is still available if you want to create a new online presence – and it’s not getting any easier…

So if you fancy having your own personal domain name (and email address – because having email sent to your own name is quite cool!) now might be the time to buy one!

15 thoughts on “How Many Websites Are There In The World In 2020?”

  1. Hi there; two things. First, it would be helpful to have the website-numbers3 figure larger and broken down by numbers going in increments smaller than 200M. Second, I didn’t quite understand how the total number of websites can decrease. We are not talking about active websites, right? Otherwise nice effort. Cheers.

  2. Thank you very much for emailing me your updated information.

    It makes me feel so much better. You have cut my competition
    down by almost 80%. Wow!

    I am always on the look out for this kind of information and
    appreciate being kept on your “Need to Know” list.

    Upwards and Onwards

    • @Rob – maybe, depends what you’re looking for. Just browse to a domain seller (e.g. Godaddy etc) and do a free check if the domain name you want is available or not

  3. Great information and hopefully you will be able to follow up next year as I have linked to these particulars on my front page.

    Thank you very much for a good read.


  4. It means that from every 10.78 people of world 1 person is owning a website

    Population/Websites = 7000/649 million = 10.78

    • @Naveen – in theory yes :-) In practice, a single company can own thousands of websites so anyone wanting one for their own name had better hurry!

  5. I’d be interested to see the breakdown of these websites, specifically the active website by vertical. For example of the 185 million active sites 90 million are retail related and 25 million are finance related. Any clue on this?

    • Hi Daniel, I haven’t seen such figures and doubt they can be calculated over all active sites due to methodology used. At best it would need extrapolation from a smaller sample but then the question is which sample and how big…

      e.g. the top 100 or 1000 websites will not be representative of the whole – a more random sample would be needed but, considering there are nearly 200 million, it would need to be a huge sample to draw any sort of accurate scaling up of the figures

  6. wow, but 30 million increase per month must be unsustainable – shows why it is almost impossible to find a decent new website name though!

    • You Know Something the World Wide Web is just a small segmentation of the Entire Internet and as Someone Even When You do a Census of An Entire Nation it is very difficult to gain an exact figure of the Numbers.

      Just to say that it is Impossible to Count all the Human Beings that Reside in One Jurisdiction like the Intenet.

      As Someone Said if He had not a Domain Name in the Year 1995 by Today in Year 2012 there will have been no Site to talk about in terms of access for himself and his familiy and Associates that are communicating over the Internetr.

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