The most popular websites in the world in the years 1996 – 2019


The world has forgotten many of them.

The Internet has changed beyond recognition in recent years and it is evolving almost all the time, right before our eyes. Websites that enjoyed record popularity in the 1990s do not exist or have already disappeared. Thanks to new material published on the Data is Beautiful channel, we can track the most-visited websites in the world on a monthly basis.

Many of our readers probably do not remember well the beginning of 1996. At that time, AOL, one of the major Internet service providers in the United States, was unparalleled. Among the websites on a high place were those offering, among others e-mail and Yahoo news service. Nescape and MSN were even in the lead. It is worth noting that AOL was visited then about 92 million times a month.

Jan 1996
Source: Data is Beautiful

A decade later, at the beginning of 2006, the numbers were quite different. The increase in the monthly number of visits to the most popular websites should not surprise anyone. Internet access has become more widespread. Yahoo website has been visited … 5.8 billion times every month! At that time, Google was also on the podium, and AOL was still eagerly visited. Shopping services – eBay, Amazon and Walmart – were strengthening in the ranking due to the growing interest in online shopping.

Jan 2006
Source: Data is Beautiful

In 2008, an interesting competition began between Facebook and YouTube for the third place in the ranking. In parallel, there was a great battle for the palm of priority between Google and Yahoo. Today we know who came out victoriously.

August 2008
Source: Data is Beautiful

First, YouTube was ahead of Facebook in popularity. Then, in May 2012, both sites impressively outgrow Yahoo's popularity. Google became the undivided leader.

May 2012
Source: Data is Beautiful

To date, not much has changed. Google is visited over 77 billion times each month. YouTube with a result of 27.7 billion visits and Facebook with a result of 23.6 billion visits are far behind. Just behind the podium are even Chinese Baidu and Wikipedia, Twitter and Instagram. Fewer people use Yahoo, but the website is still among the best. See * videos and * ornhub in the list? Yes, it's popular adult sites. You know them well, so we can leave stars – and you know what's going on.

Oct 2019
Source: Data is Beautiful

You can follow the entire history of changes in the popularity of top websites month after month on the video below.

Source: Data is Beautiful