The web now has more than 500 million sites, according to UK research firm Netcraft, which tracks Internet growth. The latest results reflect a period of torrid growth for the sites tracked in the Netcraft survey, which stood at 249 million sites last November, meaning the web has virtually doubled in size in 11 months. While there has certainly been strong growth in that period, it's possible that some of the increase is related to improved site detection.
These benchmarks always trigger debates about the best way to measure Internet growth, but Netcraft is a popular baseline, as its survey has been conducted every month since August 1995, when there were 18,000 sites and the NCSA web server had a 57 percent share. Some personal history: I used to blog for Netcraft, and the day the Web Server Survey hit the 100 million site milestone I wound up on CNN.