23 Surprising Internet Facts

We don’t need to tell you about the importance of the internet — after all, you’re on it right now!

But how much do you really know about the amazing invention that links the whole world together?

These intriguing internet facts won’t just wow you… they’ll give you a deeper connection to the technology you know and love.

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23+ Astonishing Internet Facts and Stats Every User Should Know

Internet Usage Around the World

A people using the internet in an office

1. There Are 4.8 Billion Internet Users Worldwide

62% of the world’s 7.7 billion people are internet users — an increase of 1,239% since 2000!

2. 94.6% of North Americans Use the Internet…

The next highest penetration is in Europe, where 87.2% of the population has internet access.

3. …But Just 39.3% of Africa Has Internet Access

There’s good news, though: internet access in Africa is rapidly improving, with some countries seeing an increase of over 100,000% over the past 20 years.

4. China Has More Internet Users Than Any Other Country

854 million people use the internet in China, dwarfing the rest of the world.

India has the next highest number of internet users at 560 million, followed by the US with 313 million.

5. Kuwait Has the World’s Highest Internet Penetration Rate

The internet penetration rate is the percentage of a country’s population that uses the internet.

Using this metric, the world’s leaders are quite surprising: Kuwait and Qatar both clock in at 99.6% penetration, followed by the Falkland Islands at 99.3% and Bermuda at 99.2%.

6. North Korea and Eritrea Have the Lowest Internet Penetration Rates

North Korea is a bad place to be if you love the internet: virtually 0% of the population has internet access.

The next lowest penetration rate is found in Eritrea, where just 8% of the population has internet access.

7. Singapore Has the World’s Fastest Broadband

The average download speed in Singapore is 218 Mbps, making it the fastest in the world.

At rank 11 sits the US, where you’ll get an average download speed of 156 Mbps.

Turkmenistan ranks last with an average speed of just 3.5 Mbps.

Internet History and Development

8. The First Website Was Published on August 6, 1991…

Tim Berners-Lee, a computer scientist who’s often credited as the father of the internet, published the first website nearly 30 years ago.

After creating the first web browser, he published his guide to the world wide web from his work computer at CERN on August 6, 1991.

9. …But Email Has Been Around Since 1971…

Ray Tomlinson, a computer engineer working on instant long-distance communication, sent the first email 20 years before the first website was published.

He sent it to himself just to see if his invention worked — and it did.

Unfortunately, he has since forgotten the contents of the message.

10. …And Domain Names Have Been Registered Since 1985!

Computer company Symbolics registered the very first domain name way back in 1985, when it purchased Symbolics.com.

The company still owns and operates the domain name today, and it takes pride in being a pioneer of the internet as we know it.

11. The First Spam Email Was Sent in 1978

Back in 1978, email was used mainly by universities and research institutions via a system called ARPANET.

That’s when Gary Thuerk, a marketing rep from Digital Equipment Corp, saw a new business opportunity and seized it.

He sent the first spam email, with the subject “Make Money Fast,” to all 393 west coast ARPANET addresses on May 3, 1978 — and generated a few sales as a result!

Internet Usage in America

A woman using the internet in America

12. 100% of Americans Between Ages 18-29 Use the Internet

It’s virtually impossible to be a young American without going online: 100% of 18-to-29-year-olds use the internet, as do 97% of 30-to-49-year-olds.

13. 79% of Americans Use Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites are so entwined with modern life that 79% of Americans over age 12 uses at least one social media site.

14. The State with the Highest Percentage of Internet Users Is Colorado

88.2% of Coloradans over age 3 use the internet, followed by Utah at 88.1%.

North Carolina has the lowest percentage of internet users, with 74.3% of the population being connected.

15. 48% of Web Traffic in the US Comes from Mobile Devices

Smartphones account for nearly half of the US’s total web traffic, with the remainder coming from desktops, laptops and tablets.

16. 49% of Americans Say the Internet Has Made Politics Worse

But 57% say that the internet has improved education, and 48% say it’s been beneficial for personal finances.

The Internet and Modern Life

17. The US Generates Nearly $350 Million in E-commerce Sales Annually

2019 saw $343 million in e-commerce sales in the US, a huge increase from $279 million in 2017.

18. 80% of Americans Shop with the Amazon App

The next most popular e-retailers are Walmart (46%) and eBay (33%).

19. There Are Nearly 31 Billion IoT Devices in Use Worldwide

Smart homes are on the rise: as of 2020, there are over 30 billion IoT devices connected to the internet, nearly double the amount from 2015.

20. Over 3.5 Billion Google Searches Are Performed Each Day…

That’s a big difference from the 10,000 daily searches Google handled when it was founded in 1998!

21. …20% of Which Have Never Been Searched for Before

Up to 1/5th of all Google searches are completely original queries.

22. The Internet Contains Approximately 40 Zettabytes of Data

That’s around 40 billion terabytes.

Growth isn’t slowing down, either: the size of the internet doubles every two years!

23. Around 40% of All Internet Traffic Is Bot Traffic

Bots are programs that use the internet automatically to collect data, compile search results and perform other tasks, both good and bad.

They account for 40% of all web traffic, much of which is malicious in intent.

38 Facts About the Internet (Video)

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