Most popular websites for news in the world: Monthly top 50 listing

MSN closes the gap on the BBC: Top 50 English language news sites globally for October

Biggest news websites in the world for September 2021

MSN – Microsoft’s news and app platform continued to close the gap on the BBC in October, according to Press Gazette’s ranking of the biggest English language news websites in the world.

There were 1 billion visits last month to the Microsoft site which aggregates news, as it continued to eat into the BBC’s position as the leading news site in the world. BBc.co.uk and bbc.com meanwhile had 1.1 billion visits from around the world in October, according to data from web analytics firm, Similarweb. Similarweb’s data for the BBC includes visits to the BBC’s main site as well as its news offering while its data for MSN is for the entire portal.

Nevertheless, both sites were well ahead of third-placed CNN which had 569.5 million visits in October. CNN's sites, CNN.com and edition.cnn.com, had for much of 2019 and 2020 been vying with MSN for second place but  were overtaken for number of visits by the Microsoft platform in February this year. Rounding out the top five were Google News (498.7 million visits) and the website of The New York Times (317.3 million visits). The BBC was the only British  site in the top five - although Mail Online placed sixth (302.9 million visits).

Of the top ten news sites by volume of visits in October, only MSN saw a year-on-year increase in the number of visits (up 16% compared to October 2020). Of this group, CNN saw the biggest fall in audience compared to October 2020 (visits were down 36% on last October’s total of 891.6 million).

For year-on-growth among the top 50 global news sites as a whole, several English-language news sites from India did well in October. Website of Indian news magazine India Today was the fastest growing top 50 site in October (69.7 million visits - up 62% year-on-year). It was followed by livemint.com, the website of the Indian financial daily, Mint (45.3 million visits - up 38%) and Warner Media's India news site news18.com (129.3 million visits - up 34%). Seven sites record double-digit year-on-year growth in October.

USnews.com (54.7 million visits - up 9%) and Reuters.com (73.4 million visits - up 9%) also featured among the fastest-growing sites in October.

Following a particularly intense news cycle in 2020 which saw the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the US elections, all but 13 sites among the top 50 saw a fall in year-on-year traffic.

Similarweb generates its traffic data by applying machine learning and modelling to the statistically representative datasets that the company collects. Datasets are based on direct measurement (i.e. websites and apps that choose to share first-party analytics with Similarweb); contributory networks that aggregate device data; partnerships and public data extraction from websites and apps.

Press Gazette last month revised its ranking to now include MSN and Yahoo! News among the sites it analyses.

Press Gazette uses Similarweb data for its digital traffic analysis stories so we can compare figures across publishers, who differ in how they measure their own audience data.

September 2021

Australian news site 9News.com.au was the fastest growing site in September.

The site, the digital arm of broadcaster Nine News, had 45.6 million visits in September - an increase of 30% compared to the same month last year according to data from web analytics firm, Similarweb. 

It was followed by far-right fake news site, thegatewaypundit.com, which was last month's fastest growing site. The site which has published false information about Covid-19 and the 2020 US presidential election grew 28% year-on-year to reach 39.4 million visits. 

Four other Antipodean sites also made it into the top ten for year-on-year growth. Visits to nzherald.co.nz were up 24% year-on-year (46.9 million visits).  Australian site abc.net.au also saw visits up 24% (121 million) while visits to stuff.co.nz were up 21% (48 million) and news.com.au saw a 15% increase (107.8 million).

When it came to monthly gains,  only a handful of sites saw an improvement in traffic compared to August. Ctvnews.ca, the news site of Canada's CTV Television Network saw the biggest month-on-month gain (80.7 million visits - up 15%). It was followed by technology news specialist theverge.com (44.8 million visits - up 8%) and msn.com (960.5 million visits - up 5%).  

Press Gazette has this month revised its ranking to now include MSN and Yahoo! News among the sites it analyses.

Once again BBC.co.uk and BBC.com combined to come out on top in terms of total visits with 1.1 billion website visits in September. Newly-ranked msn.com came in second place, while CNN's sites (cnn.com and edition.cnn.com) counted 583.8 million visits together. Similarweb’s data for the BBC  does, however, include visits to BBC’s main site as well as its news offering while its data for MSN is for the entire portal. 

The next largest websites belonged to the New York Times (329.5 million visits, down 13% year-on-year), Mail Online (313.6 million visits, down 15% year-on-year), Fox News (292.7 million, down 22% year-on-year), and The Guardian (284.7 million, down 10%).

Continuing the trend seen in recent months, all but 18 of the top fifty sites had less year-on-year traffic this September. MSN.com and Yahoo! Finance were the only top ten-ranked sites for number of visits that saw year-on-year increases in traffic

August 2021

Far-right fake news site Gatweaypundit.com was the fastest growing site in August according to Press Gazette’s ranking of the biggest English language news websites in the world.

The site, which has published false information about Covid-19, vaccines and the 2020 US presidential election, had 39.7 million visits in August - an increase of 31% compared to the same month last year according to data from web analytics firm, Similarweb. Monetising that popularity is however, now likely to be more difficult: according to Forbes, in September Google removed the site from its AdSense programme due to violations of its company policy. 

The website of New York-based news agency Associated Press was the second fastest growing site in August, with year-on-year visits up 26% from 41.4 million in August 2020 to 52.2 million in August 2021.

The remaining sites in the top five meanwhile were all Australian. The third fastest growing site was that of Australian news broadcaster, abc.com.au, which saw visits increase 26% from 109 million to 137.7 million. It was followed by 9news.com.au, which saw visits up 22% from 41.6 million to 50.8 million, and smh.com.au to which visits were 22% higher at 47.4 million.

When it came to monthly gains, Al Jazeera saw the biggest increase compared to July. Visits to the broadcaster's site were 29% higher in August than July  (40.5 million visits). The site of longstanding Antipodean daily The New Zealand Herald also grew well over the month (48.1 million visits - up 25%) while another site from New Zealand, stuff.co.nz, was the third-fastest growing site month-on-month (51.2 million visits - up 22%). 

Once again BBC.co.uk and BBC.com combined to come out on top in terms of total visits with 1.2 billion website visits in August. Next placed CNN racked up just over half the number of visits as the BBC sites (656.1 million), although the gap between the two leading sites narrowed slightly in August compared to July: BBC’s visits decreased compared to July , while CNN’s increased. Similarweb’s data for the BBC does, however, include visits to both BBC’s main site as well as its news offering. 

The next largest websites belonged to the New York Times (356 million visits, down 9% year-on-year), Mail Online (335 million visits, down 15% year-on-year), Fox News (313.9 million, down 21% year-on-year), and The Guardian (306.4 million, down 4%).

All but 16 of the top fifty sites had less year-on-year traffic in August. Of the top ten sites only BBC.co.uk and BBC.com, express.co.uk and finance.yahoo.com saw small falls in the number of visits. 

July 2021

For the second month in a row Australian news sites dominated the list for the top five fastest growing sites in June.

The website of celebrity and royalist news magazine Hello! was the fastest growing site, with year-on-year visits up 34% from 46.3 million in July 2020 to 62.1 million in July 2021 according to data from web analytics firm Similarweb.

Three of the top five, however, were Australian national news sites. The second-fastest growing site year-on-year was that of leading commercial Australian news broadcaster, 9news.com.au which saw visits increase 33% from 42.6 million to 56.7 million. It was followed by abc.net.au, which saw visits up 31% from 103.4 million to 135 million, while news.com.au was the fifth-fastest growing site with visits up 16% to 113.1 million.

American news site The Daily Beast, described by its editor-in-chief Noah Shachtman as a “high-end tabloid”, saw the biggest month-on-month gains in July with visits up 26% to 36.2 million visits compared to June 2021.

The three Australian news sites that grew well year-on-year were also among the fastest growers on a monthly basis, as were hellomagazine.com (up 23%) and apnews.com (46.2 million visits - up 21%).

Once again BBC.co.uk and BBC.com combined to come out on top in terms of total visits with 1.3 billion website visits in July. Next placed CNN racked up just under half the number of visits as the BBC sites (630.1 million), although the BBC’s lead over the CNN in July has reduced slightly compared to June when the BBC had over 700 million more visits than CNN. Similarweb’s data for the BBC does however, include visits to both BBC’s main site as well as its news offering.

The next largest websites belonged to the Mail Online (348.8 million visits, down 7% year-on-year), New York Times (342.7 million visits, down 18% year-on-year), The Guardian (317 million, no change year-on-year), and Fox News (298.4 million, down 25% ).

Most of the top ten sites saw slightly more traffic in July than June. Of the top ten sites only BBC.co.uk and BBC.com, express.co.uk and finance.yahoo.com saw small falls in the number of visits.

Overall, there was little change in the combined amount of visits to the current top 50 most popular news websites in July (6.8 billion visits) compared to June (6.6 billion visits). Combined year-on-year traffic remains 10% lower than in the same month last year, when there were a combined 7.6 billion visits to these leading 50 sites.

June 2021

Australian news sites 9News and ABC were among the fastest growing sites in June.

US-based technology news site theverge.com was the fastest growing site in June 2021, with month-on-month visits up 22% from 43.4m to 52.8m according to data from web analytics company Similarweb.

It was followed by the website of leading commercial Australian news broadcaster 9news.com.au, which saw visits increase 18% from 38.6m to 45.8m, and abc.net.au, which saw visits up 13% from 100.7m to 114.2m.

Among the sites that saw significant falls in traffic that month were sites from India. The timesofindia.com saw visits fall 18% from 211.4m to 147.1m between May and June, while visits to indiatoday.in were down 9%, falling from 81.7m to 63.5m.

Right-leaning video news platform BitChute saw the biggest year-on-year gains in April: up 78% to 40.1m visits.

Also among the top ten fastest growers year-on-year were hellomagazine.com (50.5m visits, up 25%), finance.yahoo.com (288.5m, up 21%) and usnews.com (56m, up 15%). Three Australian sites (9news.com.au, abc.net.au and news.com.au) also made the top ten.

BBC.co.uk and BBC.com combined came out on top with 1.3bn website visits in June. This was 10% more than in June last year, when both sites combined received 1.2bn visits.

Next place CNN had 599.7m sessions on its websites (CNN.com and edition.CNN.com). Visits to CNN.com and edition.CNN.com sites were 30% lower than the 857.6m visits that the two sites received in June 2020.

The next largest websites belonged to the New York Times (336.9m visits, down 20% year-on-year), Mail Online (325.6m, down 6%), The Guardian (304.6m, down 12%) and Yahoo! Finance (288.5m, up 21%).

Overall, the current top 50 most popular news websites saw a combined 4% fewer visits in June (7.2bn) versus May (7.5bn), and traffic remained 10% lower than in June last year, when there were a combined 8bn visits to these leading 50 sites.

April 2021

Hello magazine and The Times were among the fastest growing sites in April.

Hellomagazine.com was the fastest growing site in March 2021, with month-on-month visits up 117% from 27.9m to 60.6m according to Similarweb. It was followed by right-wing video news platform BitChute, which saw visits increase 83% from 20.3m to 37m and thetimes.co.uk, which saw visits up 35% from 27.6m to 37.3m.

Among the sites that saw the falls in traffic year-on-year were politics-focused news site The Hill, right-wing news aggregator Drudge Report and business news site Forbes.

The websites of two Canadian brands, CTV Television Network and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, saw the biggest month-on-month gains in April: up 17% to 87.6m and 8% to 84.3m, respectively.

Also among the top ten fastest growers month-on-month were dailystar.co.uk (35.3m visits, up 5%), nypost.com (109m, up 1%) and the website of Russian-state owned RT (131.8m, up 0.5%).

BBC.co.uk and BBC.com combined came out on top with 1.2bn website visits in April. This was 8% more than in April last year when both sites combined received 1.1bn visits.

As a result the BBC has widened its lead slightly over next place CNN with 636m sessions on its websites (CNN.com and edition.CNN.com). Visits to CNN.com and edition.CNN.com sites were 35% lower than the 979m visits that the two sites received in April 2020.

The next largest websites belonged to the New York Times (363m visits, down 18% year-on-year), Fox News (269m, down 30%), Mail Online (320m, down 13%) and The Guardian (301m, down 23%).

Overall, the current top 50 most popular news websites saw a combined 5% fewer visits in April (6.6bn) versus March (6.9bn), and traffic remained 15% lower than in April last when there was a combined 7.7bn visits to these leading 50 sites.

Note: Press Gazette will be updating this page on a monthly basis. See our previous coverage here:

Biggest news websites in the world archive data

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