The internet has been a mainstay of everyday life for almost a quarter-century. Over that time, it’s become the primary resource for information, entertainment, commerce, and personal business. A few internet destinations have commanded the most attention and become household words.
In reverse order, here’s a brief rundown of SimilarWeb’s nine most popular websites in the world, along with some of the factors behind their omnipresence.
Yahoo! may no longer be the most popular search engine on the internet, having ceded that title to Google long ago. But it’s still a destination for its 200 million active users, offering a hub of core services including email, personalized news, fantasy sports, daily horoscopes, and more.
Yahoo! Finance, in particular, has become one of the most relied-upon sources for breaking business news. And of course, its search engine is still fully functional.
Yandex is the primary search engine in Russia and the most prevalent online service in that country. Over 84 million users hit Yandex every month, helping the site keep a slim market share advantage over Google.
Launched in 1997, Yandex also aims to be something of a universal aid to everyday life with guided suggestions for home, entertainment, and business decisions. Its search engine is still its primary focus, but Yandex has broader ambitions.
The open-source online encyclopedia is the most popular non-profit website in the world. The source for more detailed knowledge on everything from Yieldstreet to the 1972 French Open to myxospores, Wikipedia is edited by its user base and maintained by a San Francisco foundation.
While Wikipedia sometimes faces scrutiny for inaccuracy, it now issues quicker responses to online vandalism and is more reliable in its academic content.
Baidu is, in short, China’s version of Google. The search engine controls a hefty 78% share of the country’s search market. Baidu’s results and content are heavily censored by the Chinese government, which has blocked Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter from its population with the so-called Great Firewall.
That’s made it easy for Baidu to register more than 200 million daily and 580 million monthly active users. Baidu also emphasized advertisement space before Google did.
The image-centric social media site reached one million registered users within two months of its 2010 launch. Over the years since that number has mushroomed to almost 1.4 billion.
Now owned by Facebook, Instagram has evolved beyond a photo and video repository and become a central focus of marketing and branding. By harnessing the power of imagery, Instagram is one of the most reliable storytelling tools for both individuals and savvy businesses.
The social network that emphasizes brevity, Twitter has over 206 million active users every day. Since its 2006 launch, Twitter has become the flashpoint for instant information from celebrities, politicians, influencers, and the public.
Thanks to its immediacy, Twitter is often the first place people look to for breaking news and opinion. It’s the internet equivalent of the television “sound-bite” and a major focus for public and private social media strategies.
The social media platform has endured its share of controversy over the past couple of years, but its status as the biggest social network in the world is unchanged. With almost 2.9 billion active users every month, Facebook has become a source that users depend on to stay in touch.
It’s also become a major news source—for better or worse—that has spotlighted how information is distributed, and at times, manipulated.
Launched in 2005, YouTube has become the entertainment capital of the internet. Over one billion users visit YouTube every month, watching one billion hours of the channel’s video content every day.
Bought by Google and owned by its parent company Alphabet, YouTube boasts the “stickiest” users on the internet. The average YouTube visit lasts over 21 and a half minutes, the longest by far of all of the sites on this list.
The internet search engine that started as a Stanford research project in 1996 remains the most popular website globally. Google’s simple functionality redefined information retrieval, and in the process, changed the role of data in everyday life.
With over 6.9 billion searches every day, Google has cemented its status as the internet’s gatekeeper of knowledge. It’s also impacted commerce, as businesses adjust their online strategies to improve their Google rankings to appear near the top of search results.