The internet is a global, virtual community, and the people who use the web speak multiple languages. In fact, there are roughly 2 billion native speakers of the world’s 6,000+ languages online, according to Facebook data scientist Fernanda B. Viégas. Today we are going to take a look at which languages are the most used online for 2023.
According to Statista, English is the most commonly used language online, with 58.8% of websites and web content published in English. The United States is where most English-language websites are hosted, with over 3.2 million domains. This is an unsurprising statistic as English is often used as a lingua franca, or common tongue, between people who don’t share a native language.
It was also the founding language of the internet, so naturally, it makes sense that most online content should be written in English.
Coming in second position, Russian has grown considerably, with 103.1+ million users online. In 2011, the population of Russian speakers accessing the internet increased at a rate of 41.5% and is continuing to rise. It’s unsurprising to see Russian in second position, as the language is spoken by more than 260 million people worldwide. This includes 73 million native speakers and 194 million who use it as a second language.
The main reason for the popularity of Russian is that it’s widely used in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This includes countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Spanish is the second most common language in the world. With over 486 million native speakers and 750 million speakers worldwide, it is the official language in 21 countries. Spanish is also the official language of the European Union and one of six official languages in the United Nations. With so many speakers across the globe, it makes sense that 4.3% of the share of websites are published in Spanish.
Most websites published in Spanish are based in the United States, with over one million sites using Spanish as their language. The next most popular countries for publishing sites in Spanish include Mexico, Argentina and Colombia.
The official language in 29 countries, French is one of the most global languages online and offline, with about 274 million people using it as their first language. 3.7% of content online is in French. France, Morocco and Algeria are the most popular countries for publishing sites in French.
German has an estimated 100 million native speakers and about 95 million non-native speakers (including speakers with varying degrees of proficiency). Therefore, the number of German speakers can be estimated at around 195 million worldwide. Most of the world’s German speakers are based in Europe, but it’s also one of the most popular languages in Africa and Asia. It has official status in 26 countries worldwide, and around 3.7% of content online is in German.