How many hard drives are needed to store the entire Internet

Have you ever wondered how much storage space you would need to download the entire internet? Although it is difficult to provide an exact figure for the weight of the internet, some estimates exist to work with. However, one thing is certain: if you intend to download the entire internet, be prepared to spend a significant amount of money.

It is important to note that the standard units of measurement such as Megabytes, Gigabytes, and Terabytes fall short when we try to quantify the scale of the internet. These units of measurement are commonly used at the user level, but at the internet level, the scale is significantly larger.

save internet hard drive

Putting numbers on the internet

Have you ever wondered how much storage space would be needed to download the entire internet? While it’s difficult to give an exact figure, it’s safe to say that it would require a massive amount of storage. Our smartphones, for example, typically store photos that occupy around 4-5 MB each, while video games can range from 10-200 GB depending on the game. Solid state drives (SSDs) typically offer between 1-4 TB of storage capacity, while hard disk drives (HDDs) can offer up to 22 TB.

However, it’s impossible to accurately determine the total size of the internet due to the sheer amount of data being uploaded daily across millions of websites. While social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram could provide us with data on the amount of data uploaded to their platforms, it’s only a small fraction of the internet.

Rancounter has attempted to make a rough estimate and has presented it in an infographic. According to their estimate, it’s predicted that by 2025, approximately 463 Exabytes of data will be generated every day.

amount of daily internet data

Have you ever wondered how many hard drives would be needed to download the entire internet? Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine the exact size of the internet. The scale of measurement changes significantly when we consider the entire internet as compared to the units we use daily. For instance, a photograph taken on a smartphone may take up 4-5 MB on average, while video games may occupy between 10-200 GB, and standard hard drives are around 1-4 TB, and some HDDs can hold up to 22 TB.

It’s impossible to know precisely how much data is uploaded to the internet every day. Even major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitch do not provide information about the exact amount of data that is uploaded. Based on estimates by Rancounter, it is expected that 463 Exabytes of data will be generated every day by 2025.

To put that into perspective, 1 Exabyte equals 1,000,000 Terabyte. That means every day, the internet will grow by 463 million terabytes. Currently, the largest mechanical hard drives (HDD) available on the market are the WD Red Pro 22 TB and the WD UltraStar DC HC570 22 TB. Seagate also offers the IronWolf Pro 20 TB and the Exos X20 20 TB. However, if we were to store all the data generated every day on these drives, it would cost us between 8,400-9,260 million euros daily, only in hard drives. This does not even include other expenses such as motherboards, processors, RAM, power supplies, rack cabinets, refrigeration, electricity, installations, and maintenance.

hard drives needed to store internet

It’s not worth just storing it

Storing and backing up such vast amounts of data is no easy feat. It becomes even more complex when we consider that none of the data can be lost, which means all messages, photos, and videos must be kept forever.

To achieve this, simple RAID 1 configurations won’t cut it, as more specialized configurations are needed. To give an example, a single video from a YouTuber like Ibai is likely stored on at least five different hard drives. And this is not just true for Ibai’s videos, but for every single video, including associated data like comments and likes.

Multiplying the previous figures by five leads to even more staggering numbers. However, there is a way to make these figures more manageable.

You have to squeeze each data, well, compress it

It is clear that spending billions of euros on hard drives every day is completely unrealistic and impossible. Moreover, the HDD manufacturers would not be able to produce the required number of hard drives even if they worked non-stop.

So, does this mean that the data is deleted every day? Absolutely not! The solution is simple: compression. There are special algorithms that compress data to such an extent that it occupies only a fraction of its original size, which is similar to using a high-pressure hydraulic press.

Using encryption algorithms, a 4 MB photo can be compressed to just a few KB. This compression technique saves the need for purchasing countless hard drives, which can result in multi-million dollar savings.