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How many servers in Wikipedia and other interesting facts about the world's largest dictionary

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29.09.2022
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The whole world knows the name of Wikipedia, whose articles are used for self-education, writing texts and simply read for curiosity. We know that it cannot be trusted 100%, as long as the materials in the giant online dictionary are created by amateurs and do not have centralized professional editing. But still, it continues to be the largest and most popular encyclopedic repository of knowledge, which has no analogues.

Of course, Wikipedia has an article about Wikipedia itself. But it does not contain all the information about this unique project. Let's look under the cover of the dictionary to learn about the technical and financial components, staff, statistics and other interesting facts about Wikipedia.

The history of the creation of an online encyclopedia

Wikipedia was founded by Jimmy Wales, an American Internet entrepreneur. In 2000, he created Nupedia as a global encyclopedic dictionary that was filled and edited at a professional level. The process was very slow, so in 2001 an additional Wikipedia project appeared, initially designed to be a preparatory platform — users were supposed to fill it with interesting articles, and then editors checked them and added them to Nupedia. But the new dictionary very quickly began to live its own life and turned into a major project.

The first part of "Wiki" refers to the concept of software, an engine, a site where users can independently edit content.

The wikipedia.org domain was created on January 13, 2001. Six months later, on July 27, the main page of the project looked like this.

The appearance of the main page of Wikipedia in 2001

Wikipedia statistics for 2022 according to published data :

  1. 318 active language versions; in total - 329, but for some languages only the main page was created or only one article was published, so they were moved to the so-called "incubator";

  2. 59,634,765 articles (but some of them are just templates that do not contain materials and are waiting for their editor);

  3. more than 100 million registered users;

  4. 3,771 administrators;

  5. more than 14 billion visits in the three summer months of 2022 (June-August), an average of 4.8 billion per month (according to Similar Web).

How Wikipedia is organized

The basic concept remains the same - anyone can create a Wikipedia article or edit an existing one. Moreover, non-registered readers can edit.

The community has a certain structure of members who have access to different functions. Statuses are determined using so-called flags, some of which are assigned automatically, and some of which are obtained after submitting and approving the relevant application.

There are more than 20 roles on Wikipedia, with the widest range of technical tools and rights available to administrators and bureaucrats, as approved by the community of editors. But together with opportunities, they have more duties and responsibilities. Roles are also called "level of user access", emphasizing that it is not about some social hierarchy where there are managers and subordinates, but only about access to deeper use of functionality for the most responsible participants.

Wikimedia — all knowledge in open access

In 2003, Jimmy Wales founded the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organization to support Wiki projects. They are all subordinate to the mission of giving people free access to knowledge and work through volunteer efforts. The fund itself exists at the expense of donations from benefactors and patrons, and the funds go mostly to technical support, maintenance of a small staff (about 500 people) and campaigns to popularize projects.

You probably already know about Wikipedia, Wiktionary or Wiktionary, because they are mentioned most often. But the Wiki has a number of useful projects thanks to which you can get new information.

  • Wikisource is a library of books and articles available in their entirety. They can be read online or downloaded as a PDF.

  • Wikimedia is a library of media materials (video, images, audio). Available in English only.

  • Wikispecies is a description of the varieties of all living organisms, currently available to us only in English.

  • Wikimander is a guide with articles about different cities and regions of Ukraine.

  • Wikitravel is a similar guide, but already about the whole world. Unfortunately, among the language versions there is no Ukrainian, the most accessible for understanding is Russian. Also available in English, German, Spanish and other languages.

  • Wikitutorial is a section with educational materials on a wide variety of subjects.

  • Wikiversity is an educational platform with various faculties where you can find information on university disciplines. The Ukrainian direction is in the beta stage, there are no materials in the sections yet.

  • Wikinews is a news portal, but in the Ukrainian sector publications are still far behind the rhythm of a real news magazine and need their enthusiasts.

All these projects are extremely interesting, so it is worth waiting for their full implementation in the Ukrainian Internet space.

Read also: " How to remove Russian sites from Google search ".

How many servers are in Wikipedia - the technical base of the project

According to a 2019 Wikimedia Foundation infrastructure report, the organization uses about 1,300 dedicated servers running Linux. All these capacities are distributed among the fund's projects, among which Wikipedia ranks first in terms of popularity and attendance.

Wikimedia also has a DNS to distribute requests between 5 data centers, three of which are in the US, one in Europe (Netherlands) and one in Asia (Singapore).

Wikipedia is powered by MediaWiki, a free and open source software that is freely provided by the Foundation to users. That is, now many other sites also work on the Wikipedia engine.

Servers in the Wikimedia data center

And here you can look at the Wikimedia servers (although, only for the years 2012-2015, the organization has not yet provided later photos).

Artificial Intelligence

Because anyone can write and edit Wikipedia, it's difficult to monitor what the community calls vandalism, which is the distortion of information on existing pages or the addition of articles with known false facts. But officially, such actions are not called vandalism, but "damage", because they can be carried out unintentionally.

In order to better control the quality of content, in 2015, Wikimedia created a tool for searching for potentially harmful edits - ORES. In fact, it is an artificial intelligence with a self-learning function, but it does not have the authority to edit articles, but only shows editors suspicious sections of the text.

Read also: " Fakes and disinformation: learning to recognize false data on the Internet ."

How much does Wikipedia earn

Wikipedia does not sell banner ads, losing billions on it, but continues to follow the concept of a non-commercial educational project. The online encyclopedia started almost simultaneously with Google, they developed in parallel and constantly interact with each other. But the search engine became a profit giant, and Wikipedia remained a volunteer project, although it had every opportunity to bring crazy money to its founder.

For example, in 2020, the budget of the Wikimedia Foundation was just over 127 million dollars, while Google's profit for the same year was 183 billion.

When Jimmy Wales was asked why he created Wikipedia, he replied: “Nothing. For fun."

Read also: " How the age of the site affects promotion in Google "

Ukrainian Wikipedia

The Ukrainian version of Wikipedia appeared in 2004. Enthusiasts of the Ukrainian section of the encyclopedia are engaged in creating and editing articles on a volunteer basis and do not receive money for their work (as in other countries). Only 6 people work at "Wikimedia Ukraine" in the state, dealing with technical issues and popularization of projects. There are about 300 active authors in the country, including professional scientists, journalists, artists, art critics, and historians.

As of September 2022, it employs 49 administrators and has more than 150,000 registered contributors. Currently, the Ukrainian section of the encyclopedia has more than a million articles, and it ranks 16th among other countries in terms of the number of published materials.


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Author: Bohdana Haivoronska

Journalist (since 2003), IT copywriter (since 2013), content marketer at Cityhost.ua. Specializes in articles about technology, creation and promotion of sites.