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The rather petite Internet of 1995

As you may know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, sometimes we like to take a trip down memory lane. It’s time for another one of those trips, to the murky past of the Internet and the dawning World Wide Web of 1995.

Let’s start first with the people who actually use the Internet. How many were there back then?

Worldwide Internet users in 1995

Today there are almost 2 billion Internet users worldwide. In 2000, there were 361 million worldwide. But go back even farther in time and you’ll find out that back in 1995, the Internet had a worldwide user base of less than 40 million.

For perspective:

  • The Internet user base of today is 50 times larger than it was in 1995.
  • Facebook today is 15 times larger than the entire Internet was in 1995.

Top Internet countries, 1995 and now

The top five Internet countries in 1995 (in terms of Internet users) were:

  1. United States (25 million)
  2. Japan (2 million)
  3. Germany (1.5 million)
  4. Canada (1.2 million)
  5. United Kingdom (1.1 million)

Now the top countries are:

  1. China (420 million)
  2. United States (239 million)
  3. Japan (99 million)
  4. India (81 million)
  5. Brazil (76 million)

A wee bit of a difference, as you can see. Both in which countries are in the top, and of course the actual number of Internet users per country.

What about the number of websites?

Today there are 298 million websites on the Internet (as of March 2011, according to Netcraft). Back in June of 1995 there were 23,500 websites. For those of you counting, that means there are 12,681 times as many websites now as there were in 1995.

So, if we were to make a similar chart as the one for Internet users above, the 1995 part would be just a tiny fraction of a pixel.

A few other things from 1995

To help you orient yourself in time, here are some other things that happened in 1995.

  • Netscape introduced JavaScript.
  • Netscape Navigator completely dominated the web browser market.
  • Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 1.
  • Microsoft released Windows 95. Most people were using Win 3.1 or 3.11 at the time.
  • Sun announced Java.
  • Intel released their 133 MHz Pentium processor, and the Pentium Pro processor (running up to a mighty 200 MHz).
  • Sony launched the first Playstation.
  • Linus Torvalds released version 1.2.0 of the Linux kernel (a.k.a. Linux 95).
  • And sadly enough: The final original strip of Calvin & Hobbes was published.

Oh, and some guy called Bill Clinton had recently been elected president of the United States, but that didn’t quite fit in with the geek level of this post. 😉

Data sources: Wikipedia, Netcraft, Internet World Stats, The World Bank.

Photo credit: Steve Rhode.

Further reading for those of you who like stats: The incredible growth of the Internet since 2000.

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