How much paper would you need to print the entire internet?

For example, how high would the stack be, how many A4’s would you need, how many liters of ink, how many books, etc.

Asker: Mathias, 17 years old


The size of the internet cannot be found exactly anywhere. The Internet Systems Consortium ( claims there are 46 billion web pages; Google claims there are now 4 trillion web pages. Personally, I would rather believe google.

Keep in mind that every year the number of web pages increases by about 13% … as you read this, only thousands of pages have been added.

A web page can be short or long … let’s equate a web page with 1 A4 sheet, then we calculate here with 4 billion sheets of paper.

The thickness of a sheet of paper varies depending on what paper you use. For simplicity, let’s take paper that is 100 µm thick. Then there can be 10,000 leaves in a stack of paper of 1 m high. That means that our 4 trillion sheets of paper are a stack of paper 400 million meters high or 400,000 km high.

So that is slightly more than the distance from the earth to the moon if we print out all web pages and put them in 1 stack.

If we assume that a book is on average 2 cm thick, or 200 pages, then the Internet now corresponds to 20 billion books.

Assuming that an average library contains 10,000 books, it would take 2 million libraries to collect all those books. There must be a number of books that are the same as many web pages are a copy of another web page … so 1 million libraries will suffice.

Let’s assume that an average library is 500 m2 is large, then you have 500 km2 needed or about the area of ​​our capitals together with libraries needed to stack everything that is on the internet in the form of books.

So we can be happy that the internet exists …

Answered by

ing. Rick Hostyn

Electronics ICT

Vives Catholic University
Doorniksesteenweg 145 8500 Kortrijk


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