Online journals known as blogs and virtual shops for small businesses have pushed the number of Web sites past the 100 million mark, an Internet monitoring firm reported on Thursday.
A survey by Britain-based Netcraft determined that the number of Web sites on the Internet climbed from 97.9 million last month to slightly more than 101 million this month.
The 100-million-site milestone "caps an extraordinary year," Netcraft concluded.
The number of Web sites on the Internet has already grown by 27.4 million to date this year, compared with the 17 million sites added in all of last year, according to Netcraft.
"Blogs and small business Web sites have driven the explosive growth this year, with huge increases at free blogging services at Google and Microsoft," Netcraft said in a survey report.
The Internet has doubled in size since a May 2004 Netcraft survey that found 50 million Web sites. Netcraft's first survey was conducted in August 1995 and showed 18,957 Web sites.
Web site registry firms Go Daddy in the US and One and One Internet in Germany have seen strong demand for low-priced domain names and shared hosting accounts, according to Netcraft.
Technorati was tracking 58.7 million blogs on Thursday at its Web site devoted to searching for and organizing user-generated Internet content and "citizen media."
"Blogs are powerful because they allow millions of people to easily publish and share their ideas, and millions more to read and respond," Technorati said in a message to Web site visitors.
"They engage the writer and reader in an open conversation, and are shifting the Internet paradigm as we know it," it said.
More than 175,000 new blogs are created daily, according to Technorati, which estimated that more than 18 are updated each second.