Languages used on the Internet
The most used language on the Internet is unknown, although about half of the homepages of the most visited sites on the Internet are in English, with varying amounts of information available in many other languages.
There is debate over the most-used languages on the Internet. A 2009 UNESCO report monitored the languages of websites for 12 years from 1996 to 2008 found a steady year-on-year decline in the percentage of webpages in English from 75 percent in 1998 to 45 percent in 2005. The authors found that English remained at 45 percent of content for 2005 to the end of the study, but believe this was due to the bias of search engines indexing more English-language content rather than a true stabilization of the percentage of content in English online.
Ongoing monitoring by W3Techs showed that in March 2015, just over 55 percent of the most visited websites had English-language homepages. Other top languages that are used at least in 2 percent of the one million most visited websites according to W3Techs are Russian, German, Japanese, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Portuguese.
The figures from the W3Techs study are based on the one million most visited websites (i.e., approximately 0.27 percent of all websites according to December 2011 figures) as ranked by Alexa.com, and language is identified using only the home page of the sites in most cases (i.e., all of Wikipedia is based on the language detection of http://www.wikipedia.org). As a consequence, the figures show a significantly higher percentage for many languages (especially for English) as compared to the figures for all websites. The figures for all websites are unknown, but some sources estimate below 50 percent for English; see for instance, Towards a multilingual cyberspace and the 2009 UNESCO report referenced earlier.
The number of non-English pages is rapidly expanding. The use of English online increased by around 281 percent from 2001 to 2011, a lower rate of growth than that of Spanish (743 percent), Chinese (1,277 percent), Russian (1,826 percent) or Arabic (2,501 percent) over the same period.
Content languages for websites
Estimated percentages of the top 10.1 million websites using various content languages as of 18 March 2015:
All other languages are used in less than 0.1% of websites. Even including all languages, percentages may not sum to 100% because some websites contain multiple content languages.
Internet users by language
Estimates of the number of Internet users by language as of November 30, 2015:
- Internationalization and localization
- Language localization
- Website localization
- List of countries by number of Internet users
- List of countries by number of broadband Internet users
- List of countries by number of Internet hosts
- English in computer science
- Global digital divide
- Rural Internet
- Computer recycling
- Computer technology for developing areas
- NET.LANG: Towards a multilingual cyberspace Laurent VAnnini and Hervé le crosnier (eds.), Maaya Network, C&F éditions, March 2012, 446 pp., ISBN 978-2-915825-08-4
- "Usage of content languages for websites". W3Techs.com. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Pimienta, Daniel, Prado, Daniel and Blanco, Álvaro (2009). "Twelve years of measuring linguistic diversity in the Internet: balance and perspectives". United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
- "Technologies Overview". W3Techs. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
- Rotaru, Alexandru. "The foreign language Internet is good for business". Archived from the original on 2013-04-07. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- "Number of Internet Users by Language", Internet World Stats, Miniwatts Marketing Group, 30 November 2015, accessed 6 January 2016
- Internet World Users by Language, Internet World Stats.
- "Estimation of English and non-English Language Use on the WWW", Gregory Grefenstette and Julien Nioche, in Proceedings of RIAO'2000, Content-Based Multimedia Information Access, Paris, 12–14 April 2000, pp. 237–246.
- World GDP by Language 1975–2002, Mark Davis, Unicode Technical Note #13 (2003).
- "Writing the Web’s Future in Many Languages", Daniel Sorid, New York Times, 30 December 2008.
- Statistical Survey Report on Internet Usage in China, China Internet Network Information Center (2009), English translation.
- List of CNNIC statistical reports, China Internet Network Information Center (1997-2010).
- Measuring Linguistic Diversity on the Internet, UNESCO (2006).
- Twelve years of measuring linguistic diversity in the Internet, UNESCO (2009).
- Language Observatory, Japan Science and Technology Agency (2012).
- Observatory of linguistic and cultural diversity on the Internet, Networks and Development Foundation, FUNRDES (July 2012).