Incredible Growth of the Internet

Today we take the internet for granted. It's everywhere, and is deeply integrated into the way we live, work, and play. Of course, it wasn't always this way. In 1984, just over 30 years ago, the internet was a private network of 1,000 corporate and university research labs. However, even then the pace of acceptance was breathtaking, and the number of connected hosts multiplied tenfold to 10,000 by 1987, and duplicated that tenfold increase to 100,000 hosts just two years after that.

That was just the beginning. Over the last 30 years we have watched the internet grow from a novel network used by labs and technology enthusiasts into the infrastructure that empowers modern communication networks.

Interested in seeing some statistics to put this growth in perspective? Take a look.

Signs of Growth

The amount of content available online has increased exponentially in the last 30 years. From 130 websites in 1993, to 634 million websites in 2012, having an online presence has become the norm for any organization. One of the most common ways to develop a digital footprint is through the use of social media. While social media was unheard of just a couple of decades ago, in 2012 an average of 300 million photos were shared on Facebook every single day.

The growth in internet users has been similarly staggering. In 1984 around 1,000 universities and corporate labs were linked up to form the internet. Today, 2.7 billion people, nearly 40% of the world's population, have internet access.

Moving to Mobile

We don't have to convince you that the internet's reach is growing at a staggering pace. The real news is the move to mobile. In the past, the primary way users accessed the internet was at a desktop or laptop computer. While large screens aren't going anywhere, the use of mobile devices is on the rise. This move has spawned a new design philosophy that takes a mobile first approach to designing websites and applications so that they render beautifully and functionally across a wide range of screen resolutions.

Today's internet is moving to mobile. In 2012 there were over 6 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, and 57% percent of these subscribers used their phone to browse the internet, while 16% browsed for at least three hours per day. The number of app users, app downloads, and time spent using mobile apps are all projected to climb rapidly for the foreseeable future, and the app economy is already valued at approximately $25 billion.

We've witnessed the internet's incredible growth over the last few decades, and that growth continues today as innovation pushes connectedness forward. With hindsight as our guide, the only thing we can be sure of is that the internet of the future will look nothing like the internet of the past.

Related Resources:

The Future of the Internet - What will the internet look like in 10, 20 or even 100 years from now?

How to Start Your Own ISP - Yes, it is possible to build your own internet connection.

Tor and the Deep Web - What is the Deep Web? Put simply, it is the part of the internet that is hidden from view.