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Animation: The Most Popular Websites by Web Traffic (1993-2022)

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The Most Popular Websites Since 1993

Over the last three decades, the internet has grown at a mind-bending pace.

In 1993, there were fewer than 200 websites available on the World Wide Web. Fast forward to 2022, and that figure has grown to 2 billion.

This animated graphic by James Eagle provides a historical look at the evolution of the internet, showing the most popular websites over the years from 1993 to 2022.

The 90s to Early 2000s: Dial-Up Internet

It was possible to go on the proto-internet as early as the 1970s, but the more user-centric and widely accessible version we think of today didn’t really materialize until the early 1990s using dial-up modems.

Dial-up gave users access to the web through a modem that was connected to an active telephone line. There were several different portals in the 1990s for internet use, such as Prodigy and CompuServe, but AOL quickly became the most popular.

AOL held its top spot as the most visited website for nearly a decade. By June 2000, the online portal was getting over 400 million monthly visits. For context, there were about 413 million internet users around the world at that time.

RankWebsiteMonthly Visits (May 2000)
1AOL400,891,812
2Yahoo387,573,587
3MSN354,239,803
4eBay116,101,785
5Lycos116,064,930

But when broadband internet hit the market and made dial-up obsolete, AOL lost its footing, and a new website took the top spot—Yahoo.

The Mid 2000s: Yahoo vs. Google

Founded in 1994, Yahoo started off as a web directory that was originally called “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web.”

When the company started to pick up steam, its name changed to Yahoo, which became a backronym that stands for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle.”

Yahoo grew fast and by the early 2000s, it became the most popular website on the internet. It held its top spot for several years—by April 2004, Yahoo was receiving 5.6 billion monthly visits.

RankWebsiteMonthly Visits (April 2004)
1Yahoo5,658,032,268
2MSN1,838,700,057
3Google1,318,276,780
4AOL905,009,947
5eBay805,474,705

But Google was close on its heels. Founded in 1998, Google started out as a simpler and more efficient search engine, and the website quickly gained traction.

Funny enough, Google was actually Yahoo’s default search engine in the early 2000s until Yahoo dropped Google so it could use its own search engine technology in 2004.

For the next few years, Google and Yahoo competed fiercely, and both names took turns at the top of the most popular websites list. Then, in the 2010s, Yahoo’s trajectory started to head south after a series of missed opportunities and unsuccessful moves.

This cemented Google’s place at the top, and the website is still the most popular website as of January 2022.

The Late 2000s, Early 2010s: Social Media Enters the Chat

While Google has held its spot at the top for nearly two decades, it’s worth highlighting the emergence of social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook.

YouTube and Facebook certainly weren’t the first social media platforms to gain traction. MySpace had a successful run back in 2007—at one point, it was the third most popular website on the World Wide Web.

RankWebsiteMonthly Visits (Jan 2007)
1Google7,349,521,929
2Yahoo5,169,762,311
3MySpace1,276,515,128
4MSN1,259,467,102
5eBay957,928,554

But YouTube and Facebook marked a new era for social media platforms, partly because of their ​​impeccable timing. Both platforms entered the scene around the same time that smartphone innovations were turning the mobile phone industry on its head. The iPhone’s design, and the introduction of the App store in 2008, made it easier than ever to access the internet via your mobile device.

As of January 2022, YouTube and Facebook are still the second and third most visited websites on the internet.

The 2020s: Google is Now Synonymous With the Internet

Google is the leading search engine by far, making up about 90% of all web, mobile, and in-app searches.

What will the most popular websites be in a few years? Will Google continue to hold the top spot? There are no signs of the internet giant slowing down anytime soon, but if history has taught us anything, it’s that things change. And no one should get too comfortable at the top.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Misc

Ranked: The Top 10 U.S. Pizza Chains by Market Share

Domino’s is the biggest pizza chain in the U.S. by sales.

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Graphic showing America’s biggest pizza chains by 2022 revenue.

Ranked: Top 10 U.S. Pizza Chains by Market Share

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

About 3 billion pizzas are sold annually in the United States. In 2022, pizza restaurant sales in the U.S. reached an all-time high of $46.9 billion, an increase of roughly $10 billion compared to just a decade prior.

This graphic lists the top 10 U.S. pizza chains based on 2022 sales figures. This data was accessed via Statista (published June 2023).

Domino’s Domination

Domino’s is the biggest pizza chain in the U.S. by sales, reaching $8.6 billion in revenue in 2022. The brand is also found in 90 other countries around the globe, including stores on every continent except Antarctica.

According to Domino’s main website, there are over 20,500 locations worldwide, which collectively serve over 1 million customers per day.

Domino’s is followed by Pizza Hut with $5.3 billion in revenue. Little Caesars, with $4.7 billion, completes the top three.

Company2022 Revenue (USD)
Domino's Pizza8,572,000,000
Pizza Hut5,270,000,000
Little Caesars4,724,000,000
Papa Johns3,712,000,000
Marco's Pizza1,063,000,000
Papa Murphy's753,000,000
MOD Pizza662,000,000
Hungry Howie's534,000,000
Round Table463,000,000
Jet's Pizza441,000,000

The top end of this ranking contains household names, but regional pizza chains also make the cut. Jet’s Pizza is popular in the Great Lakes region, and most Hungry Howie’s locations can be found in Michigan and Florida.

The overall number of pizza restaurants in the U.S. has been on the rise, reaching more than 80,000 units in 2022.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic, which visualizes the change in market share of U.S. carbonated soft drinks between 1995 and 2023.

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