China and the US dominate the 50 most popular websites in the world.

Alexa, the California-based subsidiary of online retail giant Amazon, puts the search engine Google, headquartered in California, at the top of its global rankings.

In second place is YouTube, owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, and in third place is Facebook, another US company founded by Mark Zuckerberg in Boston 13 years ago.

Chinese language search engine takes fourth place and an instant messaging software service, developed by Shenzhen-based Tenzen Holdings, is ranked eighth.

Chinese e-commerce websites and, both owned by Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group rank ninth and tenth respectively.

The rankings include data on the average daily amount of time visitors spend on a website and its daily page views per visitor — similar to a bounce rate.

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Disclaimer: The algorithm according to which Alexa traffic ranking is calculated is based on the amount of traffic recorded from users that have the Alexa toolbar installed over a period of three months, amongst other things. This traffic is based on such parameters as reach and page views. This means it’s pretty much an educated guess. 

Verdict takes a look at some trends from the top 50 global websites based on Alexa’s analytics.

Here’s how the top 50 most popular sites on the internet are spread across just three countries: the US, China, and Russia (hover over the chart for more information)

The US takes up over half, with Russia snatching just three of the top 50. China takes the rest.

When broken down by company, Google easily comes in top (hover over the chart for more information)

Social media

People spend an average of 14 minutes on Facebook every day, five minutes more than they do on web giants like YouTube and Google. Facebook is the third most popular website in the world and the most popular social media platform overall. It has 5.39 daily unique pageviews per visitor and had 1.18bn daily active users on average for September 2016. Facebook is valued at about $363.8bn.

In some countries, however, Facebook does not even feature in the top 10 most popular websites. It seems that the social media platform does not receive much traffic from regions in south-east Asia and Africa in particular. Facebook ranks 48th in Malawi; 45th in Zimbabwe; 42nd in Tanzania; 25th in Liberia; 21st in Cameroon; 17th in Senegal; 15th in Myanmar; 14th in Botswana; 13th in Cambodia and 12th in Nigeria as well as Sudan. In Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, Facebook does not even feature in the top 50 most popular websites.

In Russia, Saint-Petersburg based VKontakte (VK), a social networking platform is the most popular website in the country. VK is the 15th most popular website globally and is exactly like Facebook in many ways — its design is almost identical. VK allows users to message each other, share photos, create groups, public pages as well as events. However, VK does not pose a threat to Facebook just yet.

As of January 2017, VK only had about 410m accounts, while Facebook has about 1.86bn monthly active users. On average, people spend almost 12 minutes on average on every day, which has 5.13 page views per visitor. VK, which had a total revenue of $82.4m for 2015, has been used as an opposition platform against the policies of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Outside of Russia, ranks second in Ukraine, tenth in Poland and 11th in Israel.

Odnoklassniki ( is the second most popular social media website in Russia, with more than 200m registered users. The social network service for classmates and old friends has 2.25 daily unique page views per visitor and people spend on average about two and a half minutes on the site every day., founded by Albert Popkov, a Russian web developer in 2006 is also visited by people in other European countries. It is the fifth most popular website in Ukraine, the eighth most popular website in Latvia and the 11th most popular website in Germany.

Search engines

Google is the number one most popular website in the world. The search engine, valued at $109.5bn, replaced Apple this year as the world’s most valuable brand. On average, people spend almost 9 minutes on Google every day, which has 8.64 daily unique page views per visitor.

Yahoo, the American multinational technology company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California is known for its search engine, but also for its news coverage and e-mail service. Founded in 1994, it now ranks as the sixth most popular website in the world. Every day, people spend an average of four and a half minutes on, which receives over 7bn views per month.

In China, is the most popular search engine — Google and Yahoo do not even feature in the top 10 there. With a market cap of $66.1bn in 2016, Baidu was founded in 2000 by Robin Li, creator of the search engine Rankdex, and Eric Xu Yong, founder of YIFANG Group Holdings Limited, an investment company.

The pair’s first office was located in a hotel room near Peking University in Beijing. Today, people spend almost seven and a half minutes on on average every day. The website had 260m monthly active users in December 2015.

Online shopping

Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce platform is the most popular online shopping website in the world and the ninth most popular website according to Alexa’s overall global rankings.

Visitors spend just over eight and a half minutes on the website, which has 4.48 daily unique pageviews per visitor. Taobao was founded by the Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce company, in 2003. It boasts an estimated 400m active users. is the 13th most popular website in the world, with visitors spending an average of eight and a half minutes on the site every day. Founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, an American retail entrepreneur, the website started out as an online bookstore before branching out to sell everything from groceries to clothing.

In Poland, however, Taobao does not feature in the top 50 websites in the country. Instead, the most popular online shopping website is, founded in 1999 as a Polish version of eBay where users bid on items they wish to purchase.

Visitors spend about nine and a half minutes on the website on average every day. Allegro, with more than 14m monthly users and 20m registered customers was sold to three private equity firms for $3.253bn last year.


Wikipedia is the fifth most popular website in the world. It was founded in 2001 by two Americans — Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Visitors spend about four and a half minutes on the website, which has 3.31 unique pageviews per visitor.Wikipedia boasts more than 40m articles in over 250 different languages.

News and blogging

In the UK, the BBC website was the most popular news outlet and the fifth most popular website overall. Every day, visitors spend almost four and a half minutes on the site, which has 4.01 unique pageviews per visitor. The BBC website dominated digital news in 2015, generating a 30 percent market share.

In the US, New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) is the most popular news provider. NTDTV, the largest Chinese media company outside China is a 24/7 channel, which broadcasts programmes on a variety of topics including news, entertainment and culture. Its stated mission is to “promote uncensored information on China; to restore and promote traditional Chinese culture; and to facilitate mutual understanding between the East and West”.

Visitors spend almost two and a  half minutes on the site, which has 1.33 unique pageviews per visitor. is the second most popular news site in the US, with visitors spending almost four and a half minutes on the website on average every day.

The Times of India is the most popular online news site in India. First published in 1838, it is the oldest English-language newspaper in India still in circulation. Currently under the ownership of India’s largest media conglomerate, Bennett Coleman & Co, visitors spend almost four and a half minutes on every day.


YouTube is the second most popular website in the world. Visitors spend just over 9 minutes on the video-sharing platform, which has 5.41 daily unique pageviews per visitor.

Bought by Google in November 2006 for $1.65bn, YouTube has local versions in more than 88 countries, and can be navigated in 76 different languages. The highest paid YouTube stars earned a combined total of $54.5m in 2015. In South Korea, Youtube is the most popular website in the country.