How Many .Edu Websites Are There? (14 Related Stats)

How Many Edu Websites Are There

The .edu top-level domain (TLD) — one of the first-ever domain extensions introduced — represents educational institutions and their websites. Not anyone can just go to a domain registrar’s website and purchase a .edu domain name. Quite the opposite, in fact.

To receive access to a .edu TLD, an organization must prove itself as a US-based, postsecondary educational institution accredited by one of the many agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

It’s hard to get a .edu domain name, so we expect to see a lot fewer websites with the TLD when compared to .com and .org. So, how many .edu websites are there?

1. There Are 7,300 .Edu Websites

It may surprise you that only around 7,000 .edu websites exist. That’s a small number when compared to .com (156 million), .net (12.7 million), and .org (10.8 million).1 Yet, when you think about the purpose of the .edu TLD, it makes more sense.

As mentioned, the .edu TLD is only available for institutions in the United States. That already makes it a rather exclusive domain extension.

.edu websites infographic
Only institutions in the U.S. can use the .edu TLD.

Not only that, but it’s distributed only to postsecondary schools — colleges, universities, and vocational schools — so any school at the high school level or lower can’t get a .edu TLD.

Finally, a limited number of agencies (approved by the U.S. Department of Education) accredit .edu-eligible schools.

Since 2010, there have been anywhere from 5,916 to 7,021 postsecondary schools in the US.2 The numbers make sense, since those are the only organizations with the potential to receive .edu TLDs.

2. With Roughly 23.04 Million Visits per Month, Is the Most Visited .Edu Website in the World

Harvard receives the most visits out of any .edu website (23.04 million visits per month) thanks, in part, to its reputation as one of the most prestigious universities in the world.3 However, we can attribute most of its online prominence to its “Harvard Health Publishing” blog.

The main page receives more than 119,000 views per month, but the next highest is a health blog post (about CBD) with around 115,000 views per month.

The following five most frequented pages come from the health blog, and they all have close to 100,000 visits each month.4

3. The Top 5 Most Visited .Edu Websites in the World (Not Including are (19.27M), (14.51M), (13.61M), and (12.01M)

When you explore the most popular .edu websites, it’s important to note that most have either robust online learning experiences or notable online publications.

Like the “Harvard Health Publishing” blog, there’s usually more than a school’s homepage that brings so many visitors. After all, there aren’t 19.27 million enrolled students at MIT.

Bar chart of the most visited .edu sites
Although .edu isn’t a widely used TLD, it has several high-traffic websites.

One of the main reasons these websites receive so many hits is online learning, often given for free, like how MIT offers its OpenCourseWare initiative.

Another example is, which has a massive network of satellite schools with enrolled students, so the numbers aren’t as reliant on other sources.4

4. Users From Countries Outside the U.S. Visit .Edu Websites in Large Numbers, Like How Receives Close to 6% of Its Visits From Canada

The Philippines also accounts for 1.39% of Purdue’s internet traffic, while users from Kenya make up 1% of Purdue’s site visitors.5

Every U.S. college has students coming from all around the globe. So, it’s not uncommon for prospective students, parents, alums, and students returning home to visit a school’s website.

What’s interesting is how each school seems to have a niche for serving different countries. For instance, (University of Minnesota) receives around 142,000 visitors from Turkey monthly.6 sees about 247,000 monthly visits from the UK, while the site receives roughly 132,000 Columbian visits each month.7,8

5. Western Governors University ( Has the Highest Enrollment (150K+) Out of Any Online University With the .Edu TLD

Online universities almost exclusively cater to long-distance learners or those who can’t attend a college campus because of other obligations like family or work. Some have small campuses, but the vast majority of their students learn online.

online universities rank table
These are the top three online universities according to enrollment numbers.

Western Governors University has the highest enrollment at around 150,000, while Southern New Hampshire University (139,000) and University of Phoenix-Arizona (86,000) have high enrollments, too.9

6. The Website Gets 1.5 Million Visits per Month

Although its enrollment is substantially higher than that of Harvard or MIT, Western Governors University only has a fraction of the online visits that those two institutions receive.

That’s because online-only websites like and serve mainly as student portals, so students, parents, alums, and potential students are the only ones accessing them.

Harvard and MIT, on the other hand, offer additional resources, free courses, and world-renowned publications beyond what’s available with their standard student portals.10

7. Usage of the .Edu TLD Is in Decline, Down to About 0.04% of All Websites Online

Although .edu usage has always been low — because of its requirements — we’ve seen universities opting for other domain extensions in recent years.

Line chart of .edu domain share
The .edu TLD has experienced a decline in usage over the years.

In 2023, about .05% of all websites used the .edu TLD. That has decreased to less than 0.04% and continues to decline.

Universities have many reasons to abandon the .edu TLD: better branding with other TLDs, lower costs with other TLDs, and a stronger global reach when using something like .com or .org.11

8. The Earliest Instances of .Edu Websites Given to Schools Were,,,, and, All Registered on April 24, 1985

It’s unclear why these universities led the way in obtaining .edu domain names before other colleges. Perhaps they had preferential treatment or simply an administrator in the school who knew the credibility that may come with a .edu TLD.

We do know CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) played a significant role in developing all TLDs and the internet. Regardless, UCLA, Berkeley, CMU, Purdue, and Rice all became the first .edu websites on the same day: April 24, 1985.12

9. The First Actual .Edu Was Given to a U.S. Defense Agency ( on January 1, 1985

Although some experts argue that Carnegie Mellon University created the first .edu address, other sources claim that predated any school like Carnegie Mellon or Purdue.

the first .edu TLD infographic
DARPA was the first institution to have a .edu TLD, although it no longer has one.

Many reports show that was registered on January 1, 1985, before April 24, 1985, for registration. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) was heavily involved in developing the domain name system and the internet.

The organization funded and developed the early form of the internet (ARPANET), so it’s possible that it tested out the .edu TLD before any school registered.16

10. By August 1995, Universities Had Registered 1,588 .Edu Domain Names

The year 1995 is important in the world of .edu TLDs. That’s because the previous years, between 1985 and 1995, saw a rapid increase in universities adopting the .edu domain extension.

After that, we only saw the occasional college sign up for a .edu domain each year. Notable additions in 1995 include,, and

11. The First Historically Black College Registered to a .Edu Domain Was (Texas Southern University) in 1987

Although not considered the first historically black college (HBCU), Texas Southern University claimed the first .edu TLD out of all historically black colleges.

first HBCUs with .edu timeline
These are the first four historically black colleges and universities to register a .edu TLD.

Adoption by, and approval of, historically black colleges moved slowly, seeing as how the next HBCU to get a .edu domain was in 1988, followed by and in 1989.12

12. By 2020, 101 Historically Black Colleges Held .Edu Domain Names

With 107 colleges considered historically black in the United States, this stat shows that not every one of them has opted for a .edu domain name.13

However, that number is inching toward 100% usage. Some notable colleges with .edu TLDs include Howard University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College.12

13. There are Between 625 and 687 Non-U.S. .Edu Sites

Although EDUCAUSE (the organization that reviews applications for .edu TLDs) states that all .edu domains must go to universities in the United States, some exceptions exist.

Non-U.S. TLDs infographic
A grandfather clause has allowed some .edu TLD owners to keep their TLD even without the requirements.

Thanks to a “grandfather clause” from EDUCAUSE and the U.S. Department of Education, any .edu domain name created before October 29, 2001, can keep its .edu TLD even if it doesn’t meet the current requirements.

That means several hundred websites created outside the U.S. actually hold the .edu TLD; the estimate is 625 to 687 non-U.S. .edu websites.14

14. A .Edu Domain Name Costs Roughly $77 per Year

EDUCAUSE has increased the yearly fee in the past, but it remains rather affordable to lease the .edu domain name.

It is, however, more expensive than what you might expect from a .com or .org TLD, which are often $10 per year. The .edu top-level domain also comes with indirect ongoing expenses to uphold the standards required to use the TLD.

The school must comply with guidelines, maintain accreditation, and be ready for potential audits.15

Establishing Credibility and Recognition With the .Edu TLD

The evolution of the .edu top-level domain shows a rapid increase in its adoption throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. In recent years, the usage of .edu has slowly decreased because universities often seek alternative TLDs for greater global reach or branding purposes.

These stats show the exclusivity of the .edu domain extension. The total number of .edu websites make up a small fraction of the entire internet.

Although getting one is not expensive, a postsecondary university must apply to an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Regardless of its loss in growth, .edu still displays a strong image of the university behind that top-level domain.

It says the university has U.S. accreditation and follows certain standards and integrity in its educational operations and programs.

Sources and Further Reading