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Monday, December 7, 2015

The Growth Of The Web

Growth Of The Web

The World Wide Web is exploding in size. From
a barely noticeable handful of websites 20 years
ago, it has mushroomed into a gigantic resource
In 2010 alone, around 21.4 million new websites
were added to the Web. And as huge countries
like China, India, Indonesia, and Brazil get more
and more of their population online, it’s only
set to get bigger and bigger.

The World Wide Web is exploding in size

Most visited websites 
Google publishes a list of the number of 
monthly unique visitors the world’s other 
most popular websites receive. While the 
exact number remains a mystery for Google
itself, it’s safe to assume that it would top 
this list.
Most visited websites

                                                               Access all areas
 Access all areas

Imagine facing a 2-day trek 
every time you wanted to check
your e-mail. That’s the prospect
facing many who live in rural 
parts of mountainous Nepal. 
Here, on the “Roof of the World
fewer than three percent of the
country’s 29 million people have
direct Internet access. Nepal  
is far from alone. There is a  
huge digital divide between the
Internet haves and have-nots 
around the world. All kinds of 
initiatives, both big and small,
are working to shrink the gap.

According to Internet World Stats  
in 2010, more than three-quarters  
of the U.S. population were Internet 
users. By contrast, just 0.3 percent 
of the population of the African 
nation of Sierra Leone used  
the Internet. 

Network Nepal

Many communities in rural Nepal are remote, at high 
altitude, cut off by steep valleys, and poorly served by
roads or electricity. Building long-distance Wi-Fi 
networks in this terrain has been a huge challenge. 
Materials have been carried up by hand to construct 
the relay towers that beam the signals through the 
narrow valleys. The highest tower stands 11,800 ft 
(3,600 m) above sea level and is manned by a yak 
farmer, who must check the connections every day.

Online impact

The Internet has brought 
together isolated Nepalese 
communities. School children 
work online, farmers can buy 
and sell on a local trading 
website, and health workers use 
webcams so patients can be 
examined by hospital doctors in 
the capital, Kathmandu.

Everest 3G

In 2010, the Nepalese telecom 
company Ncell brought 
wireless 3G Internet and phone 
coverage to Mount Everest—
its climbers, guides, and nearby 
villages. Since there is no 
electricity supply, the system’s  
10 base stations are powered 
by solar panels, with batteries 
for backup. The highest of the 
stations is 17,060 ft (5,200 m) 
above sea level. 

How the Web is run

The World Wide Web is huge and complex,
so who runs it all? Surely, someone must be in
charge? It’s not the Internet service providers
(ISPs) who connect you to the Internet, or the
telecom companies who supply phone lines and
infrastructure. Nor is it national governments or
the UN. The answer is that no single organization
administers all websites and the content that
flows between them.

How the Web is run

“The Internet is
not a thing, a place,
a single technology,
or a mode of
governance. It is
an agreement.”
John Gage, Director of Science,
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Internet to splinternet?

The Internet has relied on
agreement between many parties
to survive and prosper worldwide.
Could a lack of future agreement,
censorship, and other restrictions
placed on websites by national
governments lead to a “splinternet,”
with different standards in different
nations? No one is certain, but
changes are likely as more and
more of the four billion people
currently without access get online.

Internet to splinternet?

The good side
of the Web

The founders of the World Wide Web made it freely 
available because they thought it could be a 
powerful force for good. In many ways, they were 
right. In its relatively short life so far, the World 
Wide Web has been an astonishing success, 
helping to inform and transform millions of lives. It 
provides a platform for new businesses, puts 
people with shared interests in touch, and 
provides a convenient, regularly updated source  
of news and entertainment for millions every day.

Free software 

The Web holds a growing collection of 
computer programs that are free for anyone 
with Internet access to download. People 
often take these resources for granted, but it is 
quite remarkable that the results of thousands 
of hours of hard work are given away. The two 
main kinds of free software are freeware and 
open-source programs. Freeware is software 
that is free for personal or non-commercial 
use. Open-source programs go even further, 
offering the entire program code and 
background details so that fellow software 
designers can alter or improve the program.

Wayback Machine

Interested in time travel? The Wayback  
Machine is a gigantic archive of web pages 
dating back to 1996. Users can see what a 
website’s content was like at different points in 
the past—for free. In 2007, the California-based 
organization performed a massive web crawl 
in order to take a global snapshot of the 
World Wide Web. It cataloged and 
archived two billion web pages. 
Archives like this will be invaluable 
to future Internet historians. 

MIT’s OpenCourseWare  
offers free lecture notes, exam 
papers, and video tutorials for 
2,000 different academic 
courses. More than a million 
students and educators visit 
the site each month.

Sharing expertise

The Web is bursting with knowledge on a vast  
range of subjects. Experts and enthusiasts give  
up their time to offer insights and information  
on personal websites or take part in collaborative 
projects such as iFixit, which offers repair manuals 
for hundreds of electrical devices. Surfers can 
download sports rules and coaching tips from 
governing bodies, identify wildlife they have spotted, 
learn a language, or get advice on how to improve 
their paintings, photography, or music, all for free. 

On December 10, 2010, users donated
more than 60 million grains
of rice to starving people 
worldwide. All they had to do
was click on advertisers’ 
links on websites. 


In 2003, recycling activist Deron Beal 
sent out an email to about 40 friends 
and local charities around Tucson, 
Arizona. He wanted to set up a 
system in which people offered 
unwanted goods to others rather than 
throw them away. The Freecycle 
Network now operates in more than 
85 countries and has more than seven 
million members. Its online notice 
boards advertise all kinds of gifted 
items, from baby carriages to printers. 

Michelle Miles, a 19-year-old 
from Arkansas, began a 
charitable cause on Facebook.
Her “Race to End Cancer”  
has more than six million 
members and has raised  
more than $80,000. 

Helping others 

Charities and campaign groups use the Web  
to raise awareness of issues. Their websites 
feature facts and figures, video case studies, and 
interviews. Many provide helpful free resources, 
such as advice on how to deal with bullying, 
eating disorders, alcohol, drugs, or gang violence. 
Charities can raise funds by running online 
campaigns or organizing virtual volunteering, in 
which people donate their time or skills over the 
Internet to help a cause some distance away.  

The bad side  
of the Web

Most people build web pages in order to  
educate, inform, or entertain. Some, however,  
misuse the fabulous resource at their fingertips,  
and play pranks, start rumors, or build websites  
full of lies. Some use the Web, email, and instant 
messages to upset and intimidate people. Others 
spread malicious computer code that can damage 
computers or steal passwords, allowing criminals  
to divert money from victims’ bank accounts. 

Viruses and worms 

Computer viruses are types of malware that make 
copies of themselves and run automatically on a 
computer, often destroying files or even erasing hard 
disks. When a file containing a virus is sent to another 
computer, it can become infected, too. Worms  
are viruses that use network connections to spread 
automatically. Identified in 2008, the Conficker worm 
has infected millions of machines, including computers 
in the French navy and British police. It may have 
caused more than $9.5 billion of damage. 

Offensive sites 

Many websites display images or discuss 
subjects, such as violence or sexual 
content, that are unsuitable for children 
and distasteful to many adults. Internet 
filters, such as Net Nanny, Safe Eyes, and 
Google’s SafeSearch, can prevent  
these sites from being viewed by  
people who do not want to  
or should not see them.


Computer software that is sent  
to your computer with mischievous 
or criminal intent is called malware. 
It includes viruses, worms, Trojans, 
and spyware. Malware can be just  
a harmless, if irritating, prank or 
designed for more serious purposes, 
such as stealing credit card and 
bank account details or crippling  
a victim’s computer. Malware is  
a massive problem, with around 
60,000 new malware threats 
identified every day.

In 2009, 11 people in China 
were found guilty of using 
Trojans and other malware. 
They had stolen more than 
five million user names  
and passwords.

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