Ever wondered just how big the Internet is? I know I have, and during my search for an answer I have discovered along the way how fast it is and how much spam it produces. But now I know how big it is as well.

When it comes to size, however, then you have to consider the metric upon which the measurement is based. Is it the number of websites, or maybe the number of people connected to it? How about the number of domain name registrations, which actually seems like a pretty good way of seeing the Internet in terms of capaciousness. Which is a bit of luck, because VeriSign have just told me that the Internet is 183 million big.

That is the number that came from the first quarter Domain Name Industry Brief for 2009 which also revealed, no great surprise, that .com remains the most popular of Top Level Domains followed by .cn, .de and .net of which the Germans hitting the third spot was probably the biggest surprise of the lot.

This first quarter 2009 figure represents a three percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2008 and a 12 percent increase over the same quarter from last year. Looking at the figures in a little more depth, Country Code TLDs (ccTLDs) rose to 74.1 million domain names during the first quarter, a four percent jump from the previous quarter and an 18 percent increase year over year.

There were, I am told, an average of 2.4 million new .com and .net registrations added each month of the first quarter with the overall base of .com and .net domain names growing to 92.4 million domain names. That's a two percent increase from Q4 2008, a jump of nine percent over the same quarter of the previous year, and an increase of 34 percent over the first quarter of 2007.