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Internet now active with 2.1 billion users

The year 2011 saw a jump in Internet users to 2.1 billion, now averaging 30 percent of all people around the world, according to stats revealed by traffic site Pingdom.

You're one of the 2.1 billion people actively using the Internet.

Looking at the state of the online world throughout 2011, traffic site Pingdom found that the number of Internet users has jumped from a mere 360 million at the end of 2000 and now accounts for 30 percent of the planet's population.

Sweeping across the continents, Asia holds 922 million Internet users, Europe has 476 million, and North America is in third place with 271 million. Drilling down to individual countries, China is on top with 485 million people using the Internet, more than 36 percent of its total population.


Revealing other data from different third-party sources, Pingdom discovered 3.1 billion e-mail accounts worldwide in 2011. Microsoft Outlook proved the most popular client with a 27 percent market share, while Hotmail was the most popular service with 360 million users. 2011 also marked the 40th anniversary of the first e-mail ever sent.

The number of global Web sites shot up to 555 million in December, with 300 million of those added just last year. And the number of registered domains reached 220 million in last year's third quarter. Domain names with a .com address were the most prevalent at 95.5 million.

Social media and mobile traffic continued to skyrocket, according to Pingdom's information.

By the end of 2011, Facebook had more than 800 million users, 200 million of which joined the service just last year. The number of Twitter accounts rose to 225 million, with 100 million active users in 2011. Lady Gaga ended 2011 as the most popular person on Twitter, currently followed by 18.1 million people, while #Egypt was the top hashtag on the site last year. Overall, 2.4 billion social network accounts flooded cyberspace in 2011.

By the end of the year, the number of mobile subscriptions was estimated at 5.9 billion in a world of 7 billion people altogether. Active mobile broadband accounts numbered 1.2 billion. And with more mobile phone users hopping onto the Internet, 85 percent of all handsets shipped in 2011 included a Web browser.

So, what's up for this year?

"For 2012, there's every reason to think that the Internet, by any measure, will keep growing," said Pingdom in a blog post. "As we put more of our personal as well as professional lives online, we will come to rely on the Internet in ways we could hardly imagine before. For better or worse, the Internet is now a critical component in almost everything we do."