Miscellaneous Technology

What’s the History of the Internet?

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The ideas and development for the internet began as early as 1962 when an M.I.T. scientist proposed a network of computers that could talk to each other. This was mainly to allow government leaders to communicate in the event the Soviets disabled or destroyed the telephone system. A few years later another M.I.T. scientist developed a way for this kind of communication to be more secure against attacks with “packet switching.”

Development of computer communication continued over the years mainly with contributions from universities like UCLA, the University of Hawaii, and London’s University College. As more of these massive-sized computers were added to the network, the communications became more difficult to integrate so it had to evolve.

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee created the internet. He changed what used to be simply a method of communication or file-sending amongst groups of computers and expanded its usage to having information stored in a way that allows anybody to retrieve it. Tim Berners-Lee still works in the industry now, leading the W3C, which is the company overseeing the development of the World Wide Web.

How Is the Internet Being Used? 

Fast forward a few decades later to 2020, and we have over 4 billion people using the internet. For many people it is unfathomable to not use the internet at some point during their day. In fact studies show that the average internet user spends about 6 hours and 43 minutes per day online! This is a significant part of anyone’s waking hours.

What are the majority of people doing online? We looked into stats at a higher level overview of where these hours are going. Each day there are more than 3 billion searches worldwide on Google, which is estimated to account for about 73.35% of the Desktop user market share. Much of the time people spend online in the world and in the US are on websites that are household names now, such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

On any given day, there are around 120 billion emails sent–which equates to around 1.38 million emails per second. Of course, the speed and simplicity of sending these probably increase the rate at which they’re sent, but imagine trying to ask our mail carriers to deliver those as letters instead! Yes, the simplicity and ability to automate also means there are people spamming as well. According to Statista, about 57.26% of emails sent in December 2019 were spam. 

The Speed of Internet Adoption

The top three countries in the world by number of internet users are led by China, India, and the USA with 854 million, 560 million, and 300 million internet users respectively. When comparing this to each country’s total population (on Worldometers), the % of the population using the internet comes to roughly 55% in China, 40% in India, and 90% in the USA.

It’s interesting to see the disparity in adoption rates and makes you wonder what causes this large rift. Internet rates are on the rise globally, but there are still countries with limited access. In North Korea, internet service is available, but its access is severely limited to mainly government use–there was roughly 0% internet penetration there in Jan 2020 according to Statista. The next four countries with the lowest internet adoption rates include Eritrea (8%), South Sudan (8.3%), Burundi (9.9%), and Somalia (10%).

Africa is by far the continent with the lowest rates of internet penetration. According to a study by Al Jazeera, Africa has about 18% internet penetration, with Southeast Asia in second at 25%, and South America at 47%. These stats suggest that the lack of internet access is hindering these nations full potential for growth.

The Speed of Website Growth

There are an estimated 1.7 billion websites in existence and this number continues to grow by the second. Approximately 570,000 websites are created every single day. This equates to about 6.67 websites being published every second–an impossible number to try to keep up with if you had to visit each one, but a much easier number to grasp when visualizing the speed of growth.

The growing number of websites sounds incredibly impressive, and we have a large pool of internet users consuming this content. However, these websites are more or less competing for attention from the same crowd, meaning that, of course, not all websites are getting the same amount of read time. Website Setup pegs the number of active websites to be around 15%, which is still a staggering number of active websites, but many are becoming inactive over time due to technical issues and because  people are simply abandoning their projects.

About the author


Megan Darmody

Megan is a content marketing lead who's passionate about creating and promoting unique content that drives growth. When she’s not at work, you can find her camping with her dog or consuming way too much coffee.