What The Internet Is Really Used For


Roughly one third of the global population is connected to the Internet. So what do over two billion people use it for?

If you’re like most people you probably check email, look at the weather, find out how to get somewhere, or look for information. Alexa is a web information company that tracks page views and other global web metrics to calculate a website’s popularity. They publish the results in a top 500 list, which can tell us what people are really using the Internet for.

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Finding Information

The most popular website in the world is Google. Not only does it have the most powerful search engine, but it also has a stable of awesome programs and functions to go with it. Gmail, adwords, maps, translation, docs, and a host of other functions are the reason why Google’s reach is so wide.

Even though Google is the most popular site, it doesn’t actually tell us what people are searching for. It’s like saying the most popular program on TV is the guide. But everyone has to start their search from somewhere, and for most people the journey begins at Google.

Yahoo, Baidu (Chinese search engine), and Wikipedia are all in the top 10 most popular sites on the planet. People need to know where they can go to find the things they’re interested in.

Connecting With Others

People aren’t just using the Web to find information, they’re using it tofind other people. The second most popular site on the Internet is Facebook. It’s used by about one billion people. Twitter is also in the top ten, and LinkedIn is the biggest source for business networking, including finding industry experts and job candidates.

Blogs are an easy way for users to create and share their thoughts and interests, and two blogging platforms, Blogspot and Wordpress, are both in the top 20. They offer free accounts and an easy opportunity for people to share, without the need for any technical knowledge. Wordpress alone receives 3.8 billion page views a month.

Blogging and social media sites, including Tumblr and Pinterest, are in the top 50 and continue to gain popularity.


If you think the Internet is only good for LOLcat pictures and fail videos, you’re half right. Youtube is the third most popular site in the world. 72 hours of video is uploaded every minute, and the site gets over 800 million unique visitors each month. People are constantly streaming music and videos on their TVs, smartphones, and computers.

During peak hours, Netflix accounts for roughly 30% of all Internet traffic in the U.S. They have about 25 million DVD subscribers and 27 million streaming subscribers.

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The Internet has made it incredibly easy to shop and find deals. Amazon and eBay are both in the top 25 sites in the world. Customers can find almost anything they want to buy online with low prices.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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