TikTok tops Google to win Cloudflare’s 2021 traffic ratings

Other Chinese properties also doing very well


TikTok became the world’s most popular web site during 2021, according to Cloudflare’s Radar service.

Cloudflare’s explanation for how Radar calculates site popularity says its assessment is “derived from aggregated data from the 1.1.1.1 Public DNS Resolver” and “a range of data that Cloudflare has about global Internet traffic patterns.”

But just how Cloudflare decides its rankings unknown, while the fact that Radar launched in September 2020 means its assessments for that year were based on less data.

With that in mind, here’s the firm’s top 10 sites for 2021 and 2020.

Ranking 2021 2020
1 TikTok.com Google.com
2 Google.com Facebook.com
3 Facebook.com Microsoft.com
4 Microsoft.com Apple.com
5 Apple.com Netflix.com
6 Amazon.com Amazon.com
7 Netflix.com TikTok.com
8 YouTube.com YouTube.com
9 Twitter.com Instagram.com
10 WhatsApp.com Twitter.com

Cloudflare’s a network grooming company, so offers no opinion on why TikTok overtook its rivals. But its analysis suggests TikTok first topped global traffic on February 17, 2021, , then by March scored a few more days in the top slot. After August 10, 2021, TikTok took the lead on most days.

Google occasionally scores a day on top of the charts, but TikTok is the leader on most days.

YouTube topped the charts for a single day – February 2nd – a day that saw some Superbowl commercials debut, but which was also the day after a coup in Myanmar that was inadvertently recorded in an exercise video broadcast on local TV and then widely shared on YouTube.

Cloudflare rates Facebook “a solid number three” – except during its October outage when it slumped to fourth place.

That’s usually Microsoft.com’s slot, thanks in part to Cloudflare counting traffic to Teams and Office365. Apple’s ranking is helped by traffic to Apple TV+.

Cloudflare’s also noticed robust performance by Chinese companies: Alibaba’s Taobao.com remained the world’s second-most-trafficked e-commerce site, while JD.com topped Shopify.com and even made it into the global top 100 sites for a few days.

Chinese fast fashion outlet shein.com beat out Bestbuy.com and Target.com in the week before Christmas 2020. It’s since peaked at number 301 on the global traffic charts.

Cloudflare’s revealed plenty more events and oddities in its summary of Radar results, here. ®


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