The Internet is vast, there are millions of websites, the battle for ranking is huge. Who are the winners and losers, which are the world’s most visited websites.
The Internet’s Most Visited Websites
The Internet is vast. It is made up of tens of millions of devices, millions of websites and servers and of course, all of us. They, the people who do such things, have tried to estimate the number of websites on the Internet but it is hard. The average age of a website is only a few months, websites disappear and new websites are created every day so keeping an accurate count is virtually impossible. Perhaps the Ghost In The Machine can tell us. In any event the quest to be number 1, the battle for the highest ranking and the most visibility, is what drives these websites, most of them anyway.
Knowing which is the best, which one is the most visited, is also a loaded question. For one thing, it completely depends on most visited by whom, or most visited in which geographic region, or do you mean in general, which one is the most visited in the world? The answer to each question is different, for different reasons, and comes down to 1 thing: the Internet is not as free as you might think. The Internet is censored, monitored, blocked, restricted and declared forbidden to varying degrees from place to place around the world. What is accessible for you may not be accessible by someone else, and if you live in one of the worst places for Internet censorship you may not even be able to access what the rest of the world knows as the Internet at large.
- Geo-Restriction – Geo-restriction is the practice of blocking, denying or limiting access to a website for Internet users from specified regions of the world. This may be due to censorship, copyright laws or other. Examples of this are US and UK television channels who stream content over the Internet, if they don’t recognize your device or connection as being in-country you will not be able to watch you favorite shows. The only way to avoid it is to be anonymous online.
The good news for Internet users wondering how to unblock websites that are blocked, of hiding your IP address and maintain anonymous Internet use so that you can avoid censors, evade restrictions and gain access to all the best the web has to offer is that there is a solution, and it’s a good one. What I’m talking about is a fast VPN. VPNs are a form of Internet security that comes with an added benefit; anonymous IP addresses, complete privacy on the Internet and the unintended consequence of slipping right past geo-restrictions and other Internet blockages.
Anonymous VPN service works like this: you download the VPN software to your computer, when you log onto the Internet you do it using one of the dedicated VPN servers (bypasses your ISP servers and Geo-tagging), your connection is encrypted (the software you downloaded) and goes direct to the end-point destination (bypassing censorship). What you end up with is a totally secure connection that is nearly impossible to detect, routed through a server of your choice (choose a server located in the UK to watch UK TV, the US for US TV etc) and encrypted so that if it is intercepted, no one will ever be able to read or use it.
- Unblocking websites is only a side benefit of the VPN service. The real benefit is security, if you haven’t already gotten the idea I’ll be frank: VPN fills in all the gaps left by your malware, firewalls and Internet best practices. If you doubt the power of the VPN let me explain it like this: VPN is the hybrid child of mega-corporations and the US government, combining 2 of the most advanced techniques for securing Internet connections and maintaining Internet safety.
Which Is The World’s Most Visited Website?
So, back to question at hand, which is the world’s most visited website? To be honest, I don’t think anyone really knows but there are a couple of websites that like to try and track it, and keep a tally of which is top. The two most notable are Alexa and SimilarWeb. Alexa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, no conflict of interest there, and is a California based web analytics company. SimilarWeb Inc. is a UK based independent digital analytics company.
Alexa works by tracking the traffic of users who have installed its toolbar, which is also the basis of much of the criticism of the company’s rankings. Since the company only tracks users who have installed Alexa the data pool is very limited. SimilarWeb Inc uses big data technology to gather information about the web, websites and its users. Big data is data sets that are so complex that more traditional methods of analytics are useless. Basically, big data analytics extracts information from an unlimited and never ending data set… all the web traffic on the Internet it can get its hands on.
Needless to say there are some pretty big discrepancies between the two rankings. Within the top five, the first three are the same but ranked in completely different order. The number four spot on each list are also very different; #4 on the Alexa side is #16 on the SimilarWeb list, the #4 spot on the SimilarWeb list is ranked #21 by Alexa. The only thing they have in common is the #5 spot, Yahoo.com. Moving down the list the differences only get bigger.
The Top Ten (or Eleven) Websites On The Internet
Blending the two rankings together yields a top 5 list with 6 names on it; Google.com, Youtube.com, Facebook.com, Baidu.com, Yahoo.com and VK.com. A quick analysis of the list reveals a quick snapshot of what the average Internet user is doing; search, streaming video and social media. The three top censored items on the Internet around the world.
- Google.com – Google.com is ranked #1 by Alexa but #3 by SimilarWeb. I guess it depends on how you look at it. If you think of Google as only being the white page with the search box then it may only be ranked #3 in the world. If you consider that Google represents much of what the Internet is (search, SEO, ranking, Adsense, Blogger, webmaster tools, Drive and so much more) then I think it is most likely the most visited and used website and web service on the Internet.
- Youtube.com – Youtube.com has long been incorporated into the umbrella of Internet based businesses that is Google.com but for the purposes of this ranking is counted as a stand alone. Youtube.com is a web based video and live streaming content service and one of the most widely censored and geo-restricted websites on the Internet. The site hosts video content and live webcasts from around the world on every topic imaginable, including news from within oppressed countries and quite a bit of offensive, off color and extremist content. It is ranked #2 by Alexa and #3 by SimilarWeb.
- Facebook.com – Believe it or not the social media giant Facebook.com is not the #1 website on the Internet, or is it? It is ranked #3 by Alexa and #1 by SimilarWeb. What is for sure is that Facebook is the #1 collector of data and information about you, what you like and everything else that you do while using it or any of its many apps and services. It is also one of the most censored websites on the Internet because it allows for the free and fast flow of information across a broad network of users.
- Baidu.com – Baidu.com is a search engine very similar to Google.com, including many of the same types of web services. The difference is that Baidu.com is based in China and serves the Chinese market. As such, and perhaps due to the vastness of the Chinese nation, it is one of the world’s top visited websites and ranked #4 by Alexa. SimilarWeb ranks them much lower, in 16th place, but still high on the list relative to other popular sites.
- Yahoo.com – Yahoo.com is a US based search engine and web portal. Along with search services Yahoo.com offers many services similar to Google.com with the addition of a news and information services. Yahoo.com can be set up as a homepage with feeds delivering the latest news, entertainment, politics and fashion directly to your device. It is the only website in the top five that is ranked the same by both Alexa and SimilarWeb, #5.
- VK.com – VK.com is ranked 6th by SimilarWeb but only 20th by Alexa. It is a social networking and messaging app for mobile devices with versions for Android, iOS and even for Windows. It connects people together in one seamless app across platforms. The app has more than 90 million active monthly users and is a favorite for mobile devices in Europe. Interestingly enough they claim to be ranked #5 by SimilarWeb on their website, I guess the rankings changed.
- Amazon.com – Amazon.com s the 6th and 10th ranked website on the Internet. It is the world’s leading ecommerce website, originating as a means of ordering books online and now representing every segment of the consumer marketplace. The website was founded by Jeff Bezos, a Bond-villain-like super mogul with a grand vision for the Internet and the world. The company and website has extended far beyond the realm of commerce and is on the cutting edge of cloud computing technology, among other things. Amazon.com is not only heavily geo-restricted, they themselves have and encourage the use of such technology.
- Wikipedia.com – Wikipedia, the much used, often hated, regularly erroneous and long-lived encyclopedia of the Internet. This website is an open source, community supported and user generated encyclopedia of everything imaginable. All you have to do is sign up and use the correct format to create a page detailing information about any subject. The problem is that often times information comes from dubious sources, is unverified, unsubstantiated or without references. Regardless, it is still widely regarded as an open source of information and is often the target of censorship and blockages. It is ranked in 7th place by both Alexa and SimilarWeb.
- Tencent QQ – Tencent QQ is an instant messaging service and social media platform operated by Tencent Holdings LTD of China. The site hosts games, music, shopping, blogging, movies, and various forms of chat. The site is aimed at the Chinese marketplace, available in a variety of languages and popular throughout Asia. The site is ranked 8th by Alexa and 41st by SimilarWeb.
- Twitter – Twitter is social media platform where users send short messages and links called Tweets. It is a leading source of instant news and information from on the scene and there is the focus of censors around the world. Twitter censorship of Internet connected wireless devices is a big concern around the world and easily avoided using VPN for wireless.
- Taobao.com – Taobao.com is an Amazon like shopping service located in China. China, you may have noticed, is home to many of the world’s most visited sites. This is due to a combination of the large population and government support of local websites and businesses over those from abroad. It is an offshoot of the Alibaba platform and is intended to help facilitate consumer to consumer shopping and services. As of last count there were close to a billion product listings.
- Bing – Bing is ranked 14th by Alexa and 36th by SimilarWeb and is another search engine dominating the search space. It has notable differences from Google, it is the result of Microsoft projects including Live Search and others, and was adopted as the power behind Yahoo’s search services in 2009.
- Instagram – Instagram is a photo sharing and social media platform used by millions of mobile users daily. The platform integrates with other social media such as Facebook where photos can be instantly shared across platforms. The site is ranked 15th and 6th and is another of the most blocked sites on the web.
- Weibo – Weibo is a social media outlet along the lines of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. It is based in China and targeted to the Chinese market, claiming 30% of the total digital market in the country. It is ranked 16th and 79th.
Through public service data about Internet traffic provided by Alexa the Oxford Internet Institute’s Information Geographies blog has developed a map of the most popular websites by country. This little globe of old colonial style shows that Google and Facebook dominate the global Internet, however, it reveals some interesting exceptions on a region to region basis. Even in today’s global world there are still unexplored territories: Alexa lacks information on countries with small populations using the Internet, for example in Africa sub-Saharan, and where traffic is blocked.
In the Palestinian territories where the Internet is heavily censored the al-Watan voice newspaper is the most visited site. Yahoo! still has some entrenched camps in Japan and Taiwan while other search engines have prominence elsewhere. In Russia, the search engine Yandex dominates the digital arena.
In China, as mentioned earlier, the search engine Baidu is the most popular site in the country. The caveat is that its record can be partially attributed to the government. Chinese officials have acted to limit the market share of Google and other outside influences to promote Baidu and other local businesses. To date, Baidu controls around 80 % of the Chinese search market. According to Alexa data, it has also recently become the market leader in South Korea.
But don’t think the Google giant has too many weaknesses. It is the most visited site in 62 of the 100+ locations surveyed. The researchers also noted that “among the 100+ locations where Facebook is the most visited site, in 36 of them Google stands second, and in the other 14 is YouTube (which also belongs to Google).
If you want to visit one of these top sites and are having trouble accessing them, or need to avoid unwanted prying eyes, a VPN is the only solution. Use a VPN service to encrypt your communication and data transfer on the Internet, whether you surf from your computer or your mobile phone or tablet. This way, no one can analyze your browsing information, target you for geo-tracking or block you from accessing their content. With a VPN, you can easily change your IP address by selecting a hosting country between several servers worldwide in order to gain access to websites in any country. The best part is that Le VPN technology allows you to hide both your personal information and your country while you do it, protecting you and your devices from tracking, malware and hack attacks. Honestly, if you use the Internet for anything at all you will benefit from VPN technology so why wait, get Le VPN now.
*Article updated on August 29th, 2018*
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