Website count

Steven Pemberton

I was asked if it were possible that the CWI website was amongst the first 5000 websites.

You should remember that when the web started there was little idea that this was going to be a historic event (the same can be said for the start of the internet here in 1988). As a result, we didn't particularly keep records, or screen dumps, or anything like that.

I knew that the CWI website was first running sometime in 1993 or early 1994. Luckily I still have all my email from then, and a quick search revealed that the first email I had received that mentioned the CWI URL was from mid-November 1993. I remember receiving that email, and know that when I read it the site had already been up for a time, but at least it gives us an upper-bound.

The following webpage gives data from a web-crawler of the period, and gives the number of websites in the period June 1993-December 1994:

From it we see that at the given dates, there were the following number of sites:

Month Number of sites
June 1993 130
December 1993 623
June 1994 2738
December 1994 10022

If we draw a graph of this using a log scale, we see this:

The growth of the number of websites.

which demonstrates a pretty convincing exponential function.

Calculating the doubling times, and monthly growth for these values we get:

Period Doubling time
Monthly growth
June-December 1993 2.654 29.8%
December 1993-June 1994 2.809 27.98%
June - December 1994 3.205 24.1%

Interpolating for the first six months of this period:

Month Sites
June 130
July 169
August 219
September 285
October 370
November 480
December 623

From which I conclude that the CWI website was easily amongst at least the first 500 websites.