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The Internet Today vs 1979

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Surfing the Internet, creating and finding hosting for a Web site, and sharing with social media are all things we take for granted today—but none of them would be possible without the efforts of the innovators who established what we now know as the modern Web.

In October of 1969, four leading US universities - University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Stanford Research Institute (SRI), University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the University of Utah - activated a project known as the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), creating the first successful network of computers in a time when computers barely interacted with their users, let alone one another.

This historic connection provided the basis for the Internet as we know it today. Over the nearly five decades since ARPANET's debut, computer networking has evolved to a level beyond even the loftiest dreams of those who created it.

The Internet Today vs 1979

The next time you shoot a quick email to a friend and send it winging through the electronic ether, consider this: the first message ever sent on a network consisted of just two letters.

The message was meant to read, "LOGIN," but the network only managed to transmit two letters before the whole system crashed. Not a very auspicious beginning for a system that would one day support 297 billion emails every single day.

Even the enormous amount of data created by email is but an eddy in the raging river of data that surges through the modern internet. But it wasn't always so.

In 1984, when ARPANET was released from military control and began to merge with the National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) to form what we now call "the Internet," the cutting-edge hardware that carried its traffic pushed data at 56 Kilobytes(K) per second. That's a speed best remembered as the fastest possible in the not-so-distant days before broadband internet.

By way of comparison, the average Internet access speed in the US today is 7.6 Megabytes (MB) per second—roughly 136 times faster.

And Americans - with our online shopping, hosting for personal and professional websites, email and social media - use every bit of that extra bandwidth. In just one minute on an average day, 700 videos, 28,000 Tumblr posts, 100,000 tweets and more than 34,000 Facebook "likes" hit the 'net, and with total internet traffic expected to quadruple by 2014, our "need for speed" is only likely to grow.

Internet then and now-james-final

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The Internet Then and Now

Do you remember what the internet looked like 40, 30, 20, or even 10 years ago? Neither did we. Let's take a look at the Internet then compared to the Internet now.

Internet Adoption

  • 1969: The U.S. military's funding of a research network, dubbed Arpanet, connected 4 computers at university research labs.
  • 1984:It was renamed the Internet when it linked 1,000 hosts at university and corporate labs.
  • 1998: The Internet saw 50 million users, supported by approximately 25 million servers.
  • 2009:It linked more than 440 million computers directly & topped 1 billion users.
  • 2012: The global internet population reached 2.1 billion people.
  • 2013: More than 2.7 billion people are using the internet. That's 47% of the world's population.
  • 2013: 750 million households - 41% globally - are connected to the internet.


  • 1993: 130
  • 1996: 100k
  • 2012: 634 million

Active Domain Names

  • 2000: 17.8 million
  • 2008: 174 million
  • 2012: 226 million

Google Search Queries

  • 1998: Google's first official year, 9.8k/day, 3.6 million annually
  • 2007: 1.2b searched/day, 438 billion annually
  • 2012: 3b searches/day, 1.2 trillion annually


  • 1971: first email was sent
  • 2001: 31b emails sent daily
  • 2008: 170 billion daily, 2 million per second
  • 2012: 297 billion daily, 204 million per minute

Social Media Usage

  • 2002: Friendster reached 3 million users in 3 months
  • 2003: Myspace and LinkedIn launched
  • 2004: Facebook launched
  • 2006: Twitter launched
  • 2009: Facebook has 200 million users, Myspace has 75 million
  • 2010: Facebook has 400 million users, Myspace has 57 million
  • 2010: Myspace has 50 million users, Twitter has 100 million users and Facebook has 3.5 billion pieces of content shared weekly
  • 2011: Facebook has 7 billion pieces of content shared weekly and Twitter has 65 million daily tweets
  • 2012
    • 58/sec Instagram photos
    • 135 million sers on Google+
    • 1 billion Facebook users
    • 2.7 billion likes every day on Facebook
    • 175 million tweets sent daily
    • 200 million users on Twitter
  • 2013
    • 200 million users on LinkedIn
      • 2 new users per second

Video Uploads

  • 2009: YouTube reached 1 billion daily video views
  • 2011: 2 billion video views every day on YouTube, more than 1 trillion views or around 140 views for every person on earth per year
  • 2012: Gangnam style was the first video to hit 1 billion views
  • 2013
    • 14 million Vimeo users
    • YouTube has 1b unique monthly visitors
    • More than 4 billion hours of videos are watched every month
    • 72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
    • YouTube became the No. 2 search engine
    • 500 years of YouTube videos are watched every day on Facebook
    • Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute

E-Commerce Sales

  • 2002: $72 billion
  • 2012: $225.5 billion


  • 1973: Motorola producted the first handheld mobile phone
  • 1978: The first analog cellular system widely deployed in North America
  • 1993: IBM Simon was introduced - a mobile phone, pager, fax machine, and PDA all rolled into one
  • 2001: The first pre-commercial trial network with 3G was launched
  • 2007: 295 million subscribers on 3G networks worldwide, which reflected 9% of the total worldwide subscriber base
  • 2009: Only 31% of American adults used their cell phones to go online
  • 2009: 4G technology was introduced
  • 2012
    • 1.3 billion global smartphone subscribers
    • 500 megabytes of monthly data traffic consumed by the average smartphone
    • 55% of American adults use their cell phones to go online
  • 2013
    • 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions
    • 25% of global YouTube views come from mobile devices
    • People watch 1 billion views a day on YouTube mobile


WhoIsHostingThis Team

About WhoIsHostingThis Team

Our writing team comes from all over the world with diverse backgrounds in the arts and sciences. But what links them is their passion for the internet. All together they represent many decades of experience working in all facets of it -- from programming and hardware creation to website design and marketing.


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