Here’s how the number of websites developed since 1998:
In 1998 there were about 2.4 million websites. This grew to 17.1 million at the turn of the millennium. In 2007 the Internet cracked the 100 million mark and soon after, in 2009, the 200 million mark. 2012 saw a sudden jump to about 700 million websites. 2010 and 2013 were the only years in which the number of sites declined.
The number of users has been steadily increasing at a rate of about 170 million per year. It went from 188 million (3 % of the world population) in 1998 to 2760 million (40 % of the world population) in 2013. A mathematical trend analysis shows that we can expect the 4000 million mark to be cracked in 2017 and the 5000 million mark in 2020.
Very interesting in terms of competition among websites is the ratio of users to websites:
Before 2000 it was relatively easy to draw a large number of visitors to a website. But then the situation drastically changed. The number of users per website dropped from about 88 to 24 and kept on decreasing. Today there are only 4 internet users per website, a tough market for website owners.
Some more numbers: in 1998 there were about 10,000 search queries on Google per day, this grew 1,200,000,000,000 (or 1.2 trillion) per day in 2012. Since Google controls roughly 65 % of the search engine market, the total number of queries per day should be around 1.8 trillion.
All the data is taken from this neat website: Internet Live Stats.
For more Internet analysis check out my post Average Size of Web Pages plus Prediction.