How much do you know about the internet?
The internet is a pretty interesting place. It's mind blowing that so much of the world can now be accessed through a screen we can hold in our hands, isn't it?
The most interesting thing on the internet is always changing, and we are always looking for what's next. Do you know how long the average internet user spends online each day? The answer might surprise you!
There are billions of facts on the internet, about the internet! And we have rounded up 101 of the most bonkers internet use facts, interesting world wide web facts, facts about websites, a lot of trivia about the internet, and even thrown in some funny internet facts that will hopefully amuse you.
Check out these snippets of internet history and see if you can spot some previously unknown facts about internet evolution.
Fast Facts About The Internet
Check out these 10 facts about the internet, for a quick fire introduction to the world wide web.
1. So what is the internet? The internet is a global network of computer systems that send each other tiny parcels of digital data.
2. They communicate through TCP/IP which stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. Everyone using the internet will have an IP address. This is a random collection of characters, which changes automatically each time you log on somewhere new, or restart your internet hub.
3. Have you ever checked a box to allow 'cookies'? Cookies create a path to your IP address and let websites tailor things like advertisements specifically to you.
4. The highest internet speed can be found in Taiwan, with an average of 85.02 Mbps (megabits per second). The country with the slowest is Yemen, which has an average speed of just 0.38 Mbps!
5. The most popular activity online is emailing, next up is instant messaging, and social media comes in third, with 74% of people mostly using the internet to check in their socials.
6. The average adult will spend over 10 hours online every day, with around 2.5 of those hours being spent on social media.
7. In 1995, only one percent of the world had a connection. This number has grown at an amazing rate, reaching the first billion users by 2005.
8. In many developing countries, internet access has also had a huge increase, going from 8.4% to nearly 50% of people being online.
9. Most internet traffic isn't generated by humans. Bots are behind 52% of it! Some of these are just gathering data, but there are also malicious bots that mimic our activity to generate fake traffic - creepy!
10. As of 2020, there are 4.3 billion people using the internet, that's 56% of the world's population!
The History Of The Internet
We type it into our search bar all the time, but what are the origins of 'www'? Check out these crazy technology facts and internet fun facts that lead us to the way we use the internet today.
11. The distribution of information using technology has been explored since the 1900s. But it wasn't until the '60s that the 'Intergalactic Network' was created, followed very shortly by the ARPNET or 'Advanced Research Projects Agency Network'.
12. One of the core internet technologies we have today is 'packet switching'. This enables the flexible and reliable contraction of digital networks. ARPNET was the first packet switching network to start using the TCP/IP protocol.
13. In 1965 an experiment took place at the MIT Lincoln Lab. The experiment was a success, for the first time ever two computers communicated with each other.
14. In 1971 the first ever email was sent, U.S programmer Ray Tomlinson sent the email to himself, but he can't remember what he wrote!
15. It wouldn't be until almost 30 years later that email would become mega popular and used in the way it is today. Before gmail there was AOL, and that didn't take off until the late '90s.
16. In 1976, the Queen of England sent her first email. Queen Elizabeth II took part in a demonstration to showcase this new technology.
17. Ethernet was invented in the early '70s, by Bob Metcalf. This still is the most commonly used way to connect to the internet using wires.
18. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, a British physicist, created the World Wide Web. He coded the first website in 1990 and it went live in 1991, it's still live now!
19. The idea of a website was to embed a series of hyperlinks into a page, so that one page would take you to another and so on. The Hypertext Transfer Protocol or HTTP as we commonly know it, and the web address or URL created by Tim Berners-Lee are the concepts still in place today.
20. Building the internet and everything in it, is done by communicating with computers in a language called binary, which is made up exclusively of 0's and 1's. Coding is an impressive skill to have and is now being taught in schools!
21. Originally the internet was really only used by scientists, and the government, it wasn't until 1995 that commercial internet use started to take off.
22. The first option for commercial internet use was known as dial-up. Dial-up required a phone line for connection, meaning that the landline couldn't be used while the internet was in use. You would have to choose, phone or internet but you couldn't have both!
23. Dial-up was known for being incredibly slow, downloading a file could take hours, and streaming music or a film was virtually impossible! The best connection available in '95 was 56kbps.
24. In the early 2000s, broadband started to replace dial-up. This method allowed higher volumes of data to be transferred faster, using something called an ADSL, Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line connection.
25. Wireless internet was founded in September 1990, but it wasn't available commercially until 1999.
26. The earliest wireless internet devices were the Apple Airport and the Windows designed Wi-Fi router.
27. The definition of what we now know as Wi-Fi is: 'wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide high-speed network and Internet connections'.
28. Some of the other names considered for this new technology were, WaveLAN, FlankSpeed, DragonFly, WECA and the lengthy IEEE 802.11b Direct Sequence.
29. A company named Interbrand suggested the term Wi-Fi as a play on 'High Fidelity'. High fidelity is a high quality reproduction of sound. So 'Hi-Fi' became 'Wi-Fi', implying that this form of internet access was superior... Wireless Fidelity!
30. Soon, Wi-Fi found its way into businesses like coffee shops, meaning you could use their internet while out and about. Wireless hot spots started to pop up everywhere and all you needed to access it was a code connected to the router.
31. The Nokia 9000 Communicator was the first internet phone. It launched in Finland in 1996, but as this was before the arrival of the mega fast speeds and budget friendly data packages, it didn't really take off.
32. When smartphones were first introduced, the internet speed was even slower than dial-up. Then 2G came along and by the time we had 3G, mobile internet was reaching speeds of up 200kbps.
33. 4G was released in 2010, bringing mobile internet speeds up to 15mbps.
34. Fiber optic broadband was next and it achieved data speeds not seen before. Fiber optic cables are made of super thin strands of glass that allow laser light to speed through them, literally at the speed of light!
35. The Internet of Things, IOT, is the term used for everyday items that connect to the internet. So things like smart meters, smart locks, light bulbs you can control through an app, basically anything that helps with day to day life.
35. The first social network to exist before Facebook or Instagram, was called Six Degrees. It only lasted from '97 to '98 but it was one of the first online platforms where you would have a 'profile' and could add friends, to share photos and updates.
37. Facebook arrived in 2004, originally only available for college students in the United States, it is now the most popular social media platform in the world.
38. Google went live in '98. Since then, the company has branched into email, its own social network, video sharing, maps and online storage.
39. 'Google' was included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, its definition is "to use the Google search engine to obtain information about the World Wide Web".
40. After the Grammy Awards in 2000, the green Versace dress worn by Jennifer Lopez swiftly became the most popular Google search, but there was no way to view images, so in 2001 Google Image Search came along.
41. Online video platform YouTube was founded in 2005, and joined Google in 2006. It was sold for over $1.5 billion. YouTube currently hosts nearly two billion users a month.
42. The first YouTube video was uploaded in April '05, it was titled 'Me at the zoo', and featured Jawed Karim, one of the YouTube founders.
43. The first tweet was tweeted into the universe on 21 March, 2006. The founder Jack Dorsey, wrote "just setting up my twttr".
44. Jack Dorsey had an original vision for twitter: to enable people to share their thoughts, opinions, and just general updates, using only a few characters. This also became known as 'micro blogging'.
Super Interesting Facts About The Internet
Interested in a spot of internet trivia? Check out these cool internet facts, you might even learn some funny things about the internet.
45. "Surfing the internet", is a well known phrase that was first said in 1992 by Jean Armour Polly, a librarian from upstate New York.
46. Jean Armour Polly went on to start a brand called 'Net Mom', where she worked to help parents and teachers become familiar with the internet and how to use it safely.
47. 93% of website traffic arrives via a search engine.
48. The creator of the first website, Tim Berners-Lee has said he has one major regret: the double slash part of website URLS! He has admitted that the '// ' serves zero purpose.
49. NASA's internet speed is 91 gigabits per second, that makes it 13,000 times faster than that of average internet users in the United States!
50. The largest data breach on record was a hack of Yahoo. In 2013, the phone numbers, security questions and birthdays of around three billion Yahoo users were hacked!
51. Google Chrome is the most popular web browser with 64.92% of internet users choosing it. Safari follows, then Firefox, Samsung Internet, UC Browser, Opera, and finally Internet Explorer is currently used by 1.98% of internet users.
52. The word Google comes from 'googol', this is the enormous number shown as a one followed by a hundred zeroes. This reflects the massive amount of data that Google can search through in a matter of seconds.
53. In 2005 Estonia became the first country to allow people to vote over the internet. Residents each have a government issued smart card, which they can use from anywhere in the world to cast their vote online.
54. This online voting system is currently used by 46.7% of the population, and is so user friendly it actually saves the country 11,000 working days every election year.
55. In 2001, Finland made internet access a human right, they were the first country to establish this law.
56. Mobile internet users make up 40.1% of visits to sites while 55.9% of time spent on websites is by desktop users.
57. In 2009, a programmer at Google actually broke the internet! They accidentally added a '/' to the blocked website registry, and as almost every single website contains a '/', everything got blocked!
58. Did you know the internet and the World Wide Web are different things? The internet is made up of a network of computers, and the WWW is the way we access and share information through it.
Staying Safe On The Internet
Staying safe online is super important. Check out these internet safety facts, we have included ways to look after yourself personally as well as what to look out for in terms of online hacking and theft.
59. Don't forget about your digital footprint. Every time you post something online, it's there in some form forever.
60. Social media is loads of fun, most of the time we are sharing and catching up with those that we also know in person. It is really important to be as cautious with strangers online, as you would be in real life.
61. With online gaming, or chatting on forums, you can encounter people you don't actually know, if someone is asking for personal details, or something just feels a bit 'off', stop contact, and tell an adult you trust immediately. Most importantly, never arrange to meet up with someone that you only know online.
62. Protect your identity online, for example when posting, don't give away details about which school you go to or where you live. Don't reveal any identifying information about a place you are at while you are currently there. Keep your profiles set to private and only approve followers that you know in real life.
63. While you see every aspect of your own life, the good and the not so good, what you see of others online, is usually only the good. Remember that you are never really seeing the full picture, taking breaks and being mindful of who you follow can be helpful.
64. The internet can be incredibly addictive! If you find yourself thinking about online life most of the time and checking in a little too much, it's important to take a break and jump back into the real, 3D, version of the world.
65. If the internet has got you feeling down, talk to an adult or friend you trust and come up with some plans on how to use it in a more positive way.
66. If you see something online that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or worried: leave the website, turn off your computer if you want to and tell a trusted adult immediately.
67. So how can you stay safe online when we use the internet for everything? Cyber crime is the second most reported economic crime in the word, so it's important to know what to look out for.
68. The goal of many cyber criminals is to hack passwords in order to gain access to personal information. 81% of all recorded cyber attacks involved unstable and therefore easy to steal passwords.
69. Complex passwords are way harder to hack, try to change passwords regularly too, and don't use the same one for everything.
70. Have you heard of phishing? Phishing is when fake emails are created using highly recognizable and trusted names, to reach internet users and trick them into sharing personal information, allowing the hacker to infiltrate their personal accounts.
71. To avoid phishing, double check the email address. Often there will be slight errors or random numbers that hackers hope you won't notice!
72. Much like fake texts and phone-y phone calls trying to get information, hackers online often try to do the same thing. Familiarize yourself with the information your bank or certain companies will ask you for, and you are way less likely to get caught out.
73. Certain websites prove they have a secure connection with a small padlock symbol. If you look to the left corner of your address bar and can see the padlock, then the website to computer connection is safe.
Fun Internet Facts
Now that you know how to to stay safe on the internet, how about some things about the internet to make you smile! Check out these fun facts about the internet.
74. You can Google incomplete song lyrics by replacing the word you don't know with a '*'. Finally!
75. Over 40% of people with chronic illnesses have found support and community online. Sometimes an illness can make us feel isolated, but now there are online groups and blogs to interact with.
76. The internet has made life accessible in a way that it previously wasn't. People with disabilities that make travel or leaving the house harder, can have a fulfilling social life, and work online from home.
77. Things like screen readers also mean the internet is accessible for those with sight difficulties, and recently closed captions and subtitles have become more of a standard, making the internet a lot more inclusive for the deaf community.
78. There are over 4.2 million blogs posted every single day, and 500 million tweets tweeted daily! That's 6000 tweets per second, people have got a lot to say!
79. The Internet of Things is pretty big news but 87% of people admit they've never heard of it!
80. ATM machines first appeared in '74, they are widely considered to be the first 'Internet of Things' object.
81. The internet has a patron saint! In 1997, Pope John Paul II designated St. Isidore of Seville as the official guide of the internet.
82. The webcam was originally invented to keep an eye on a coffee pot!
83. An average day for Google will see between seven and 10 billion searches. Out of the billions, 15% are first time searches.
84. The GIF, the small soundless snippet of a well known TV show, movie, or cartoon was invented back in 1987! GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format.
85. Of all the food in the world, the most digitally photographed is pizza! Of all the millions of food photos posts daily on Instagram, pizza is by far the most popular.
86. Pre-internet, the acronym 'LOL' stood for "lots of love". An article published in 1989 suggest that it could mean "laugh out loud" instead and it stuck! The article also suggested using 'H', to mean "Huh?" but it doesn't seem to have caught on, lol.
87. If wireless internet signals could be seen, we would see that they emit in a doughnut shape!
88. Do you have a favorite emoji? The word emoji translates in Japanese to literally "image character". The most popular emoji as of April 2020 is the crying laughing face!
Mind Blowing Internet Facts
The entire premise of the internet is pretty mind blowing in itself, when you think about it, check out these internet usage facts to really be surprised!
89. There is a ratio of 100 existent IP addresses for every one single atom on the planet. This means that the Earth would go extinct, before it would run out of randomly assigned online identities.
90. The record for the highest selling domain name ever goes to... 'cars.com'. It sold for $872 million dollars.
91. Tim Berners-Lee, could have made billions by patenting his incredible systems, but he decided that anyone could use his invention totally free of charge, giving us the amazing user operated internet we have today.
92. The Internet Archive, founded by Brewster Kahle in 1996, is working on archiving every single web page ever made. So not just a record of every website but every page within that site, every video upload, every news article, everything.
93. So far, The Internet Archive has cataloged over 330 billion web pages, 20 million books and texts, 8.5 million audio and video recordings, three million images and 200,000 software programs.
94. All of this painstakingly archived information is stored in six giant servers in California. Back up copies are located in Canada, Alexandria in Egypt and the Netherlands.
95. Approximately five billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day, with over 300 hours worth of video being uploaded to the site, daily.
96. The internet is really affecting our attention spans, in 2000 the average attention span was 12 seconds, now it's just eight, the shocking part is that the average goldfish has an attention span of nine seconds!
97. Do you know how much the entire internet weighs? Just two ounces, around the weight of just one strawberry.
98. If the power of the internet was measured using horsepower, it would need horsepower of 50 million to run as it does today.
99. Should there be a catastrophic event, the WWW would survive. There are seven people, from different parts of the world who hold the power to restart the internet if something earth-shattering happened!
100. By 2030, there will be over 125 million IoT devices, that's a 403% increase from today's statistics, and a lot of robot minds running things.
101. Just one search on Google uses the almost the same amount of computing power that literally sent the astronauts of Apollo 11 to the Moon!
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully curated lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our interesting facts about the internet, then why not take a look at these funny wifi names and gross facts, or these doubles facts?
Freelance writer Amy lives in Hampshire with her 3 year old daughter, who is a super energetic, chatty child, leading to Amy’s interest in all matters to do with infant and child sleeping patterns and mindfulness for adults and children. Amy’s degree was in fashion design and she loves filling their beautiful home full of interesting textiles, tiles, art, ceramics, and houseplants or, alternatively, pining over them on Instagram. When they aren’t out exploring in the fresh air they can be found cosying up at home, painting, knitting, and dancing!