WWW FAQs: What is the most popular website?

2007-06-12: Since the Internet is not run by a single company or government, there is no perfect way to identify the most popular website. However, there are companies out there that work hard to "measure the web" and figure out which sites are receiving the most traffic. One of the best-known companies of this kind is Alexa.

alexa.com provides free access to their list of the top 500 websites. As of June 12th, 2007, Alexa ranked www.yahoo.com as the #1 most popular website in the world.

Alexa can also provide you with information about the popularity of your own site or any other site that you search for.

That much, they offer for free. Alexa also offers professional products, such as a database of the top 10,000 websites, for a hefty but not necessarily unreasonable price.

How Alexa Works

Alexa gathers data by giving away the Alexa toolbar, free software that displays the rank of the website you're currently looking at and offers other useful and entertaining features. The Alexa toolbar software transmits information about the websites you are looking at to Alexa, allowing them to build their website rankings.

The Catch: No Methodology Is Perfect

Of course, not everyone wants to run Alexa. And that does potentially bias their results. Also, the Alexa toolbar is only available for Windows Internet Explorer. Firefox users can obtain Alexa support through independently created plug-ins, but Mac users who prefer Safari seem to be out of luck at the moment.

Alternatives to Alexa

ranking.com offers a similar service based on data gathered by a product called BrowserAccelerator.

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