The Internet is a fickle place. That isn’t an abstraction or figure of speech—the capriciousness of the World Wide Web is actually completely quantifiable, and you can see it in flux at any given moment on Internet Live Stats.
While the number of websites in existence is roughly 1 billion, pages are being born and are dying at such a rapid pace that the stat didn’t even stay consistent in the time it took me to write out the number 936,770,983. As The Atlantic notes, it’s difficult to define life and death online because defining a site itself is tricky, and that’s only the beginning.
You’d think that the number of webpages would only grow, but, in fact, the current number is down from a peak that surpassed 1 billion last year. Webpages usually disappear after only a few months (the usual lifespan is around 100 days), and, according to The Atlantic, about three-quarters of all websites are live but inactive. (Looking at you, person who’s squatting on JackRussellTerrier.com.)
While the number of websites is on a general uptick (there were only about 3,000 sites two decades ago), it’s interesting to consider whether the internet will ever top out. In the meantime, it’s pretty remarkable to watch the ever-changing number of active users, emails sent, and Googles Googled.