Internet Social Media

7 Most Important Websites We Can’t Live Without

Dave Parrack 16-01-2013

7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without seven wonders webThe World Wide Web (now more commonly known simply as the Web) has been with us for over 20 years now, and in that relatively short space of time it has unequivocally changed the world. For better or worse. The architects of the Web could not have foreseen what a huge impact their creation was going to have, but over the course of two decades and counting the Web has evolved into a sprawling mass of websites and pages that number in the billions.

MakeUseOf deals with a mix of new and old sites, often comparing those of a similar nature to each other. We’re mainly focused on the fresh, the new, the undiscovered, but just occasionally it’s worth reminding ourselves of the websites that we’d be lost without. The ones which, if they didn’t exist, could bring the Web grinding to a halt.

What follows are what I consider to be the seven wonders of the Web, at least as it stands in 2013. There are many more missing that were considered for inclusion, but for me the websites included are the linchpins around which the rest of the Web operates. The list is also made up of websites that, were the rest of the Web to disappear, I could use to survive. If I were you I’d bookmark each and every one of the following, if you haven’t done so already.


7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without google homepage

Google is arguably the glue that keeps the Web together. Certainly the Google homepage, with its minimalist design and constantly changing Google Doodles 5 Of The Best Google Doodles Videos The Google logo is recognized the world over. It's a logo that many people see on a daily basis as they make the Google homepage their first port of call in exploring the wider web.... Read More , is the first port of call many people make when they open their Web browser. From the Google homepage you can also access Gmail, Play, Maps, News, and a host of other services provided by the company.

The Google homepage is the tipping off point for various trawls around the Web. It’s certainly telling that “Google” quickly became a verb, with people Googling websites, names, and places. In many ways Google helped turn the Web from a geeky collection of disparate websites into a mainstream phenomenon for the masses. All of which assures its place on this list.


7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without wikipedia homepage

Wikipedia is the free online encyclopedia that is the website most people turn to when they need to source extra information about a particular person, place, or product. At the time of writing it contains 24 million entries, 4 million of which are written in English. This is a vast collection of data about every subject under the sun. And a few more besides.

Wikipedia had a poor reputation for many years thanks to untruths, misquotes, and the vandalization of entries. But those issues have mostly been resolved thanks to a dedicated team of editors who check every crowd-sourced revision. It’s a truly invaluable resource, and it’s completely free and funded by donation, meaning you don’t even have to put up with adverts.


7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without youtube homepage

YouTube is the premier video-sharing site on the Web, with a vast collection of videos of all descriptions being uploaded every day, all of which are added to the growing repository. When YouTube was launched in 2005 it was good, now, thanks to a strong guiding hand from Google, which acquired the site in 2006, it’s phenomenal.

While some people may not explore past the music videos and clips of animals doing funny things, YouTube is home to a lot more than that. Not only are movies, concerts, sporting events, and original programming available on the site, there are channels dedicated to subjects of particular interest to MakeUseOf readers, including science 10 Science YouTube Channels You Can't Miss The word science essentially means knowledge, and it is this quest for learning and understanding that has driven mankind to the height of its power. The Web offers ample opportunity to disperse that knowledge to... Read More and technology 10 Technology YouTube Channels You Can't Miss Read More .


7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without facebook homepage

Facebook is by far the largest social networking site in the world, with more than 1 billion people registered for an account. Strangely, a good proportion of those users don’t particularly like the site, or at least Facebook’s often-clumsy attempts at opening up user data to a wider audience or introducing new, unwanted features. Still, Facebook makes this list because its power cannot be disputed.

Many other sites and services now connect to Facebook or let you use your Facebook credentials in place of their own. In other words, Facebook has its tentacles spread far and wide across the Web, and is hard to ignore as a result. It’s important to remember Facebook’s primary function is for keeping in touch with family and friends, and as long as you stay on top of your profile A New Year, A New You: How to Clean Up Your Facebook Like social networking sites as a whole, Facebook can be a force for good. The problem is Facebook can also be a force for evil, but it's more about how we, the people, use Facebook,... Read More , it doesn’t have to be a painful experience.


7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without twitter homepage

Twitter is a different beast than Facebook, with its 140-character limit on updates and a much weaker bond between the contacts and connections made. If Facebook is for friends and family to communicate, Twitter is for strangers to do the same. You can follow individuals you admire and find out what they’re up to, or become the conduit for your own broadcasts, telling the rest of the world whatever it is you want them to hear.

This, however, isn’t the reason Twitter makes the list. Instead it’s the capacity for Twitter to be used as an organ for breaking news that makes it one of the wonders of the Web. There are countless examples of big, important news stories having first broken on the micro-blogging social network. The only problem is sorting the real news stories from the fakes.


7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without ebay homepage

eBay may not be the force it once was, but it’s still the first port of call for many people looking to buy and sell new and used items online to others. You could literally buy and sell all your worldly possessions on eBay multiple times over, and that’s justification enough for its inclusion on this list.

If you have a need or desire to pick up an item that isn’t available in bricks-and-mortar stores (for reasons of age or availability) then eBay is the obvious solution. The reverse is also true; if you have an item you no longer want but think will be of worth to someone else, then eBay is the place to go. If you have spare cash and a desire for unnecessary material possessions then browsing eBay also makes for an entertaining evening.


7 Most Important Websites We Can't Live Without reddit homepage

Reddit is the dark horse on this list, the one most likely to elicit furrowed brows from some readers. But bear with me for a second. Although there are many websites offering similar compendiums of awesomeness, Reddit is the daddy of them all. Partly thanks to the scale and scope of content available on the site, and partly because of the number of users now getting involved on a regular basis.

Reddit calls itself “the front page of the Internet,” and that description seems more apt with every passing day. While there is a need to sort the wheat from the chaff on Reddit, the quality of content that makes it to the front page is improving rapidly. With Reddit it’s a definite case of the more you put in, the more you get out, and I suspect its popularity is only going to grow from this point on.


As mentioned in the opening paragraphs I considered many, many more websites for inclusion in this list, but in the end these seven won out over the countless others vying for attention. The reasons each one was included have, I hope, been explained to the satisfaction of most. If not then feel free to leave a comment below questioning the inclusion of any of the above or exclusion of your pick.

Think of this as a starting point. If you think another website should have made the list then link to it in the comments section and explain why it should be considered an absolute must for all Internet users. Readers stumbling upon this article in years to come can then read on past this paragraph and gain more insight from the MakeUseOf readership.

Image Credit: Hobvias Sudoneighm

Related topics: eBay, Google, Reddit, Wikipedia, YouTube.

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  1. Akisha Leon
    May 6, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Practical blog post , I loved the analysis - Does someone know if I would be able to grab a fillable TX DMV VTR-34 document to edit ?

  2. antanio
    May 14, 2015 at 7:52 am

    Time is very important.Basically we do telecons almost 12 hrs a day involving multiple time zones.. I love this and all of us in our office use this.

  3. Precious
    March 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Great article Dave.

    But what we are all dying to know is...

    When will Elizabeth shut up!?!?!?!???

  4. Keith Swartz
    March 1, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I must not be living because NONE of these are “live without status”. Good read though. Keep them coming!

  5. harley bellwood
    February 28, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I'm going to add Yahoo Sports & IMDB.

  6. hotdoge3
    January 28, 2013 at 10:29 am

    YouTube the only one I like and use

  7. Arius Susanto
    January 22, 2013 at 6:39 am

    i think web-based email client service should be included.

    • no name
      January 23, 2013 at 12:26 am

      how could you not include piratebay.. it's more popular then any of the sites you mentioned..
      and also a good site for direct downloads, such as warez-bb..

      most people are pirating stuff, and the web would grind to a halt if they all stopped..

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 4:37 am

        WBB & TPB FTW

  8. Scott Nunyadamnbidness
    January 22, 2013 at 3:05 am

    Google, Wiki, YouTube, yes. Mostly for research and how-to stuff. Especially woodworking or outdoor projects.
    Facebook, recently went back to it after a year of not using it. Hard to stay in touch with my niece and other relatives.
    Twitter, haven't tried it. Despite a gajillion invites in my email.
    eBay, have done a lot of digging around for things, never actually bought anything.
    reddit, have heard of, but never messed with it. I might check it out.
    Good list, though. Thanks, Dave :)

  9. panny
    January 22, 2013 at 12:55 am

    c'mon.... for me number two, at least in the top three is the wayback machine. And if delicious was still alive and hadn't deleted my yearlong tags (what a shame! unfassbar actually...) it would range in the top three. And I'm pretty sure a dissapearance of google is like someone would shut down the lights, the web is going nowhere as long as google (or at least other) search engines exist.

  10. Martina de la Cruz
    January 21, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Live without? I'm pretty sure I'll still be alive if the internet would turn off tomorrow. I lived just fine for the first 20 years of my life.
    Really need? If any of these sites died today a replacement would be up tomorrow.
    Really miss? Yeah, lots of them, for sure.

  11. Amanda Nagle-Chicoine
    January 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Personally I think Amazon should be on any list of top web sites - the main reason being I have yet to come across any company (on or off the web) that is so helpful and always has plenty of customer service reps and they all seem to be very good at fixing any issue that comes up. I have a 5 year old grandson who loves to play on my Kindle. He is a little young to understand about money and in one night he had downloaded around $50 worth of games and apps that showed up on the card on file. I explained what happened and they took them off and told me how to use parental controls. When I "thought" my Kindle was broken, I called Tech support. Since it was in the first year without any hassles whatsoever they shipped me a new one. .

    • Elizabeth
      January 30, 2013 at 4:51 am

      I hate Amazon, hate it, HATE IT WITH A PASSION. I've never used a Kindle and have no intent of doing so either. I don't mind the existence of blogs like MUO as a digital-friendly medium, because blogs are updated on a more rapid basis than newspapers, and the latter takes time to print and ship. By that point, the news has already changed, and the paper is way behind. But for coverage of ongoing events or a build-up to a major one (like, say, the Super Bowl or a presidential election), newspapers still have their place, with Drudge and HuffPost useful for real-time commentary between readers.

      But books are a static medium. The book ends when there are no more pages between the binding, or you read the words "The End" (more likely with novels than nonfiction books). This whole new thing of so-called "transmedia" seems to me either a fad or an improvement upon something that didn't need to be improved upon. I never saw any of the Harry Potter movies because I preferred the books, and I cursed a pox on Rowling for going digital with the series (the whole Pottermore thing was really just a promo to get her name back in the headlines before "Casual Vacancy"). But I wouldn't doubt that of the millions upon millions of teenage girls and depraved mothers who bought Twilight books, far fewer read them because they were waiting for the movies.

      Fifty Shades of Grey is another reason I'm boycotting Amazon. That woman should be in jail under a U.K. "ASBO" (anti-social behaviour order, to use the correct regional spelling), like her counterpart the Marquis de Sade was for similar crimes some years ago. Amazon, with their "game changer" self-publishing division that has done far more to discourage the consumption of quality literature than a bomb hitting every major bookstore and public library in the world, enabled a sick nymphomaniac to earn a billion "quid" with her how-to manual on seduction and rape. This lunatic glorified the "bad boy" concept and made a hero out of Christian Grey. I never read ANY of those books or even the excerpts, but from what I gather of the description, his character was quite the sociopathic narcissist the likes of which make Ted Bundy seem chivalrous. I don't know how government works in England, but Parliament or whoever should seize every pound of her overstuffed assets and have her sectioned for psychiatric help. It's all fun and games until someone gets suffocated with a latex mask.

      Never mind the fact that Fifty Shades was already an apparently atrocious fan fiction of that other aforementioned atrocious supernatural teen sex romp. 1987 called; "The Lost Boys" wants its (much better) greaser vampire story back. And Bellevue called to say E.L. James forgot to take her medication.

      • Dave Parrack
        January 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

        Just because you dislike something doesn't mean the rest of society should be prohibited from enjoying it. No one is forcing you to read Fifty Shades Of Grey, but millions of people out there have done and have enjoyed doing so.

        People already willingly engage in that kind of activity. All the author has done is use it as the basis for a fictional story. Where is the crime?

  12. noah mcelroy
    January 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Netflix has to be in my top 5 since I've cut the cord

    • Dave Parrack
      January 21, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      That's an avenue I didn't even explore, so thanks for introducing it into the conversation. However, Netflix isn't just a website, but an app and a service as well. I'm a fan but I could live without it in that form.

  13. Nancy B
    January 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Google -yes- use Chrome, Maps and email on there and tons to investigate yet;

    Wikipedia- on occasion but I know to go there when I want a definition or explanation of something;

    You Tube - again on occasion but do have an account;

    eBay -yes have accounts, have bought alot over the years and also go there to check prices on items;

    Facebook - yes a daily user, keeps me in touch with family as well as play some games on there daily;

    Twitter haven't even investigated. I don't have that much to say and understand alot of people get addicted to it and really don't see the point of a couple of sentences contact, unless you are advertising something.

    Reddit- heard of it but I'm in Canada, across the border from MI so if I want their news I just go to a news website. But never have even checked it out.

    My conclusion 4/7 of your choices.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 21, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      Reddit isn't really news, it's a smorgasbord of content covering all bases. It's also the source of many of the memes which then enter the mainstream.

      4/7 isn't too bad ;)

      • Nancy B
        January 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm

        Actually doing the count again it was 5/7! LOL

        Should make you feel better! :D

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 4:37 am

        Including Rick Astley? I would think most of Readit/4-Chan wasn't even born yet when that song was a hit.

        • Dave Parrack
          January 30, 2013 at 11:50 am

          Rickrolling wasn't a meme when the song was a hit, it was a meme many years later. And yes, it originated over on 4Chan.

  14. Sanjay Kumar
    January 21, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Out of these i am not a great reddit fan..

  15. Bob
    January 19, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Google and Wikipedia because they serve a useful purpose. The rest (except reddit) are basically "trailer trash TV".

    • Don
      January 19, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      I live in Australia, and maybe my view is from a different perspective. I use YouTube, Google , Wikipedia regularly. Reddit no. Too US oriented.
      We have a show here at which various Government ministers and prominent politicians appear on a national forum and are asked questions both sent in to the moderator beforehand or by twitter in on-air time or by video link . A weekly show in prime time.
      Obviously there are a very large number of people who are computer literate who can contribute, but there are a huge number who don't know how.
      But no matter what we use personally, this article has taken (one assumes) usage data from a reliable source. I feel the analysis is probably accurate FOR THE TOTAL USER BASE.
      Congratulations on a good article.

      • Dave Parrack
        January 19, 2013 at 7:44 pm

        I'm in the UK and I enjoy Reddit. Having said that I can perfectly understand your feeling that it's too US-centric.

        No usage data, but a mixture of popularity and the degree of influence each site has.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      I must be trailer trash then :)

      • Bob
        January 20, 2013 at 7:53 am

        While I can't speak for those in the UK (although I have a cousin living there - I'll have to ask her - via e-mail), too many in the US post stuff on youtube, facebook, twitter (was it taken from "twit"?) that is basically nonsense. For example, "I just went to the 'loo' and did a number 2!". Now that is a little too much information (especially if "tweeted" while on the "throne")!

        If you have ever seen the JPGs of the "Wal-Mart" shoppers that get e-mailed around the internet, you get the idea - after all I might assume they aren't the type you would see in Liberty or Harrods or the like! :)

        BTW, I have family who are on facebook - but I guess I am "really old school", although I have worked in the technological field (electronic and computer) for over 50 years - actually, even longer if you consider when I was a 2 year-old, disassembling my father's table model vacuum tube radio! To his dieing day (and my mother's) they were unable to figure out how I did it. As for me, I know "Nuthzing"! LoL

        • Dave Parrack
          January 21, 2013 at 8:06 pm

          No one I follow on Twitter has ever talked about going to the toilet. If they did I'd stop following them.

          Social networks are only as good as the people involved in them, so if you befriend or follow the right people they can be forces for good.

        • Elizabeth
          January 30, 2013 at 4:36 am

          "Social networks are only as good as the people involved in them, so if you befriend or follow the right people they can be forces for good."

          So then why does Beeb the Dweeb have the most followers, surpassing only that trash drag stripper Lady Gag-Gag and that fame wh0re Car-Crashian? The mere fact that Stephen Hawking even has a fake account shows that there is someone on Twitter who actually knows who he is -- thus raising the average IQ of the user base by a million points... but BARELY to positive integers.

          Sorry, Dave, but Twitter has a reputation for being a cuckoo's nest of dodos for a reason. And that reason is because you can't spell Twitter without Twit. In fact, most Twitter users can't spell, period. Most Twitter users probably can't even spell "period," and I bet that the majority demographic have just started their period. Otherwise, explain the popularity of Bieber unless he bought spam accounts to inflate his ego.

  16. imota
    January 19, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Google ? YES
    Wikipedia? YES
    Gmail? YES
    G+? YES, especially hangouts
    Quora? YES...The highest form of intelectual exercise.
    Facebook? NOOOOOOOO...The lowest form of intelectual exercise
    Twitter? NOOOOOOOOO....The lowest form of intelectual exercise
    Reddit ? I can live without it, it's too US-centric & geeky
    YouTube? I am using it occasionally, but it's not essential
    Ebay ? I don't need it.

  17. mohit kumar
    January 18, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I can live without google. I use duckduckgo as my default search engine.

  18. Vipul Jain
    January 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    1,2,3,4 - Perfectly right!
    5,6,7 - Nope.
    Instead i'd say GMail (The most popular Email Client) and IMDB :D

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      I use IMDb a lot, along with Rotten Tomatoes, but if you have no interest in movies then it wouldn't even be on your radar. Gmail can be accessed from the Google homepage, so in a way it's already included.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 4:30 am

        I have no interest in IMDB except as a diversion, and not because of movies. I haven't seen a movie I really liked in about 10 years. No, the diversion comes from self-inflicted irony: clicking on the entry for the movie "Idiocracy" and then heading over to the forums. You really get a sense of the decline of western civilization by reading Internet forums.

        I can even point to a couple articles on MUO that turned into hilarious trollfests and flame wars over the two major taboos: religion and politics. There's a pretty famous one about a fake Amazon review of the Bible that got all the fundamentalists out from the woodwork.

        • Dave Parrack
          January 30, 2013 at 11:48 am

          The IMDb forums are a source of amusement and entertainment in their own right. I read them regularly for a laugh.

  19. Victor Ong
    January 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    It's interesting to see how we are so dependent on certain websites. I wouldn't say I am dependent on eBay/Wikipedia/Reddit (I rarely use those), but I see why they are super-important.

  20. Cheryl De Pace
    January 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    This is a really great list and I will tell you my unexpected reason why. There are so many of them out there. Billions!! I think if you pick a few that cover all of your needs when you put them together as a group- you can stop yourself from hopping around and you can increase the benefits you receive from these ingenious tools.

  21. George Klein
    January 17, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    I can really live without any of the websites mentioned in the article. That doesn't mean I don't use some of them: Google, Wikipedia and ebay.

    Social media: NO, NO. With the lack of proper measures for protecting privacy I am not a member of any social media, and I will not be for a foreseeable future.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      It's certainly a choice to make to avoid social networks. You do need to keep on top of your privacy settings at all times but as long as you do so you don't need to miss out on the positive aspects of Facebook, Twitter, et al.

    • Elizabeth
      January 30, 2013 at 4:27 am

      Right on, George. I would imagine that third-world citizens and the poor in industrialized nations can't live without food, water and shelter, and many of them are dying as we speak. Which means that their "sustainable living" sites would be ones like Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders and Robin Hood Relief Fund (for Hurricane Sandy victims).

      I can live without sex, and actually, you're more likely to die of an STD or AIDS than of depression from celibacy. Therefore I have no intent of "reading" Playboy or Hustler "for the articles." People can indeed live without pr_n. They may not want to, but it's not like your stomach can shrink in or you die of dehydration without a daily dose of Jenny Jameson.

      • Dave Parrack
        January 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

        It's Jenna Jameson, not Jenny Jameson.

  22. claudine ratelle
    January 17, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I spend waaaaay too much time on Reddit. I use all of these Website, but I don't spend as much time on Facebook. I don't really like "hanging out there"...

  23. Ashwin Divakaran
    January 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Why is Reddit in this list ? Some dont even know what it is .

  24. Ng Hong
    January 17, 2013 at 9:51 am

    You forgot to mention and include Makeuseof :P

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      I love MakeUseOf, obviously, but as you're already reading it there was little point in including it!

  25. Junil Maharjan
    January 17, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I can say the live without status can go to google and perhaps wikipedia but the other sites do not. I have never used tumblr, i rarely use the other social networking websites. I do use youtube, which is a great app on my phone and tablet.

  26. Asad Maqsood
    January 17, 2013 at 6:33 am

    twitter never used
    reddit hardly heard
    enough said

  27. Mart Küng
    January 17, 2013 at 2:49 am

    I just don't understand the twitter thing. Never used it. Reddit? yeah, i waste enough time on the internet as it is. 9gag is enough memes for me. Youtube: it's useful, it's fun, yes! Can't live without it? Yes I can. And their new design: horrible! The amount of f-s i give about what others liked or watched is zero. I want uploads from those i subscribed to, but no, for some reason it just can't be my first page. I just have to make two extra clicks. Ok, thats not related to this topic.

    Google. Yes. They have me. Wikipedia - yes. Facebook: yeah, it kind of would be uncomfortable no to have it. Ebay: no, don't need it. Never bought anything from there. But maybe my geographic location has something to do with it.

    And what it's worth: It would be an impossible task to make this kind of list and have everybody agree to it.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      I don't anyone who hasn't tried Twitter gets it. It's very much a service that you only get out what you put in.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 4:22 am

        The plebs are hopeless to get followers or make new friends because they're, well, plebs and not celebs. Personally, I like Tom Scott's Stupid Fight, a comedy website that compares the content of two people's twitter accounts and lets you know which person is "stupider" based on an arbitrary algorithm. Or at least which person has "stupider" content on his/her account and therefore, probably "stupider" fans. You know what they say about judging someone by the company they keep...

        I tried this during the election and found that Obama's "fans" were "stupider" (yes, I know that's not really a word, which is why it's in "scare quotes") than Mitt Romney's. Romney had a bunch of Forbes economists and WSJ commentators along with "adults" probably somewhere in the 35-49 demographic discussing real issues about the economy. Obama, meanwhile, had...

        ...stupid giggly Lena Dumfuq fans all talking about how sexiiiiiie and hawtt!!111! he allegedly is. "ZOMG 1st time voting for @BarackObama bcuz he sings just like @BrunoMars & @JustinBieber!!!11! #LuvUBarry #SexxiieBoi #Beliebers <3 <3 <3 <3"

        • Dave Parrack
          January 30, 2013 at 11:46 am

          No one is forcing you to use Twitter. But that doesn't mean you should blithely condemn all those who do.

  28. Ishar Jay
    January 17, 2013 at 2:15 am

    I use all except reddit.
    Google, Wikipedia, Youtube and ebay are mostly using services. ebay helps me to try new things which I can't find in my local market etc.
    Another my favorite service is Google Maps. I can't live without that too.

    • Mara Averick
      January 17, 2013 at 3:12 am

      I'm with you on these. On the whole I guess I wasn't thinking about 'most important' as meaning influential (necessarily)- I think the sets listed probably impact the content that is most visible on the web, but there are definitely sites out there (though I suppose they're a bit case-specific) that I would be much more lost without should they disappear tomorrow, ones with creative commons materials and those that play host to the endless number of unknown users out there who help me to make sense of all the crazy information and tools out there (e.g. GitHub, Stacks Overflow)

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      All the Google services are listed at the top of, Maps included. :)

    • Elizabeth
      January 30, 2013 at 4:12 am

      "Another [of] my favorite service[s] is Google Maps. I can’t live without that too."

      Apparently, neither can a New York community newspaper with a biased political agenda. Look up "New York Journal News gun owner map" and read the articles on why this is a horrible thing.

  29. Yash Desai
    January 17, 2013 at 2:14 am

    i think amazon should definetly be included in this list

    • Paul Pruitt
      January 17, 2013 at 3:26 am

      I second that motion. I buy a lot from eBay, but buy more from Amazon and use the heck out of my $79 Amazon prime membership.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      It almost made it but I opted for just one e-commerce site and eBay gives more power to the actual consumer rather than the manufacturers and retailers.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 4:10 am

        E-Bay gives power to PayPal, and Paypal sucks. You're better off opening a legitimate Merchant account as described over at paypalsucks dot com.

  30. Ghazali Ridzwan
    January 17, 2013 at 1:53 am

    An excellent list and pretty spot on for many of us. Nevertheless, I believe that the Web's value lies not in these site's services alone, but the billiions of sites and information that makes up the Web itself.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      Of course. If you only had these 7 sites and nothing else then the Web would be dull.

  31. Tom Sobieski
    January 17, 2013 at 1:43 am

    Google, Wikipedia, Google translate, certainly. Needed in everyday life/business
    FB? At best a timewaster

  32. Stuart Jones
    January 17, 2013 at 1:33 am

    I use them all but Reddit, but this is a good reminder for me to go explore it, as I was a fan of Digg for discovering interesting stories.

    The thing I can't live without is Flipboard and Pulse on my iPad, quickly flipping through news feeds from various sites, and through facebook / twitter posts.

  33. Starria Turner
    January 17, 2013 at 1:11 am

    A better title might be 'most sites geeks can't live without'. My mom is an avid facebooker [?] but stared at me rather blankly at the mention of reddit or wikipedia. I personally don't use reddit but wikipedia [combined with Google and TVTropes] is my ultimate research tool.

    That said, I'm amused you mentioned reddit but not 4chan. They are about on the same level with me...but then again Obama doesn't host Q&A's on 4chan...awesome though that may be.

    Nice article though.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      I'd say most of the the sites listed are definitely not for geeks. Geeks may use DuckDuckGo rather than Google, and Google+ rather than Facebook, etc. etc.

      4chan has its place, but Reddit is much more well-known among ordinary Web users.

  34. Pax
    January 17, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Pretty good job on a tough topic. In the end, I think we're just looking at the most popular sites. Certainly Google Search, Wikipedia and arguably... Youtube belong here. Facebook and Twitter is a matter of personal taste. I wouldn't touch either, especially FB, with the proverbial ten foot pole but I understand why you listed them here.

    Along with eBay, Amazon probably deserves a mention here too.

    I'm not so sure about reddit but it sure is the best hangout on the web. What makes it unique are the subreddits where you get to tailor the experience to your own personal tastes. If, for example, you were someone that wanted to know everything that's going on with Android, you could create your own custom page by following this format:

    (note: sorted by most recent threads)

    You could do this for movies, television genres, specific technologies, comicbooks, investments, humor, etc... The main page (, by itself, does not do the site justice.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 19, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      If it were just the most popular sites Yahoo would have been there. But I don't think it's very relevant these days.

      Reddit is great, and I think it fits because it straddles the line between underground and mainstream.

  35. Shane La Horie
    January 16, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    Can't believe you guys forgot MUO. lol.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 17, 2013 at 12:34 am

      I considered it but it would be a little transparent to include it. As much as we love what we've created here we're not that arrogant :)

  36. The other Paul
    January 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    The title of the article should be 6 Most Popular User-generated Content Websites + Google.

    I do like the summary of each website though. Quick and to the point.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      January 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      How about '7 Sites That Help Mold the Internet'? Given the responses to this article, it sounds fitting.

      • Dave Parrack
        January 19, 2013 at 7:32 pm

        Strangely enough we almost went with that. Perhaps it would have been more appropriate.

        • Elizabeth
          January 30, 2013 at 4:09 am

          Only if you included Facebook as being just as bothersome and equally as difficult to get rid of as mold in your tiles. And named Mark Zuckerberg the world's most irritating fungus among us.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 4:07 am

        Well, if it was about "molding" the Internet, you'd have to go with the candle in the wind that's somehow managed to survive a whole crapload of financial woes, the dotcom bubble, AND still stands strong even against the monolith that is Google.

        Ladies and gentlemen... do you Yahoo? Plenty of people have and still do for almost two DECADES now. Wow. The site that gave you "Yahooligans" is almost old enough to drink. ;-)

  37. Alan Wade
    January 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    The sites you mention that I dont use are as follows:
    Twitter - never found the need for it!
    Ebay - I live in Sweden and our Swedish version of something similar is called Blocket. Yes we have E-Bay but Blocket is the most used here.
    Reddit - quite honestly, never tried it although have heard the name once or twice. One for me to check out I think.

    The sites I most frequently visit as in every day are tech support sites and customizing sites. There are a lot of Support sites that I visit daily, mostly to help out where I can but only two Customizing sites - WinCustomize and AskVG.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 16, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Twitter isn't for everyone but I feel it's gaining in importance. A lot of people don't seem to understand it, dismissing it out of hand before even giving it a go.

      Tread cautiously when visiting Reddit. There is some NSFW and downright nasty content on there.

      Thanks for the comment... well-considered as always :)

    • Mara Averick
      January 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Agreed with the support sites- for me it's stacks overflow

    • Elizabeth
      January 30, 2013 at 4:04 am

      Vishal Gupta is awesome. I hope AskVG is in MUO's list of best Tech sites, along with Paul Thurrott's Windows Super Site and How-To Geek.

  38. Hilary
    January 16, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I do agree with Dave. Obviously this list will vary for each individual but the majority of internet users are checking some of these sites on a regular basis (sure, not all of them). Google is now a part of everyday vocabulary, Facebook and YouTube are becoming key business tools, and as Dave mentioned, 'Twitter is often the source for breaking news stories and citizen journalism'. To say the majority of people would be just fine "living without" one of these sites seems a little unrealistic, unfortunately...

    • Dave Parrack
      January 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      You've understood what I was going for. Thank you. I'm not saying everybody has to use these sites but without them the Web would be a different, and perhaps lesser, place to hang out.

    • dragonmouth
      January 16, 2013 at 11:38 pm

      "To say the majority of people would be just fine “living without” one of these sites seems a little unrealistic, unfortunately…"

      I guess you haven't looked outside your Facebook account lately. Humanity has gotten along just fine without all these sites for thousands of years. Even managed to create a few great civilizations without the assistance or "molding" by Facebook and/or Twitter. Two thirds of world's population is blithely getting on with their lives, totally and happily oblivious to social networking, eBay and Wikipedia.

      • Dave Parrack
        January 17, 2013 at 12:33 am

        In which case this article doesn't apply to the two-thirds of the world's population who don't use the Web. But for those of us who do, they're important sites.

        • dragonmouth
          January 17, 2013 at 12:37 am

          As I said, when you're addicted, they do seem important.

        • Tug Ricks
          January 17, 2013 at 6:28 am

          Not everyone is an addict. I enjoy having air conditioning, and my life would be less pleasant without it. That does not make me an addict. Just the same, people can use social networks without being addicted. Perhaps you're painting a broad picture based on your own experience.

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          January 17, 2013 at 3:44 pm

          To be fair, this list depict usage pattern of most internet users, and the tag 'important' may vary from one person to another. Yes, when you're addicted you'd think they're important, but there are also people who use these sites for legitimate business. Regardless, they still think the sites are 'important'.

        • Mart Küng
          January 17, 2013 at 2:56 am

          Actually you should narrow it down some more: is more common in Russia, insted of google. I'm sure Chinese have something else.

        • Dave Parrack
          January 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm

          That's a fair point but the title of the article would somewhat lose its punch if it were changed to '7 Most Important Websites We Can’t Live Without in Certain Countries But Not Others, Such As Russia and China' ;)

        • Elizabeth
          January 30, 2013 at 4:03 am

          China and Russia are more populated than the U.S., so it wasn't until just recently that California-based Facebook surpassed Yandex and Baidu (China's version of Google) for total number of users. It actually now has roughly the "population" of China itself.

          Also, worth taking into account that much of the Internet is blocked in censorship-prone countries like China, Russia and places in the Middle East. Remember when the overkill child-safety filters blocked out sites giving information on breast cancer, Charles Dickens and the Enola Gay? Try looking up Susan Komen's Facebook page in a country like Iran where even having breasts renders you a felon sentenced to beheading. I apologize if this comes across as animosity, but there are cultural factors in play that have to do with the popularity/usage of certain websites vs. others or any at all.

  39. James West
    January 16, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    what about craigslist

    • Dave Parrack
      January 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      Craigslist isn't all that popular outside of America, at least as I understand it. It's a good choice but I don't think it can knock eBay from its perch.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 3:57 am

        Craig's List is a site for rapists and BDSM sickos. I have it blocked on my computer with a Hosts file, so that no perverts from Craig's List can hack into my system and activate my webcam. Didn't you see the movie? Or any of the 50,000 shades of "Special Victims" plotlines?

        • Dave Parrack
          January 30, 2013 at 11:43 am

          You can't condemn a whole site based on the activity of a few users. Well, you can if you want but I don't personally feel you should.

  40. Organic Black
    January 16, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I use Bing and have done so for the past year. I do have a facebook account but have not posted anything in over 6 months; same for twitter. Never used wikipedia or reddit and only go to youtube when someone linked to it. So I can and do live without these websites.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Bing does essentially the same thing as Google, so that's fair comment. You have never used Wikipedia? I find that astonishing.

    • Tom Sobieski
      January 17, 2013 at 1:48 am

      Never used Wikipedia?
      How's that set of Britannica you have making out?

      • Ken E Baker
        January 22, 2013 at 9:22 am


      • Organic Black
        January 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        I am doing good. Have a MBA and run my own business. How has Wikipedia helped you?

        • Tom Sobieski
          January 27, 2013 at 1:39 am

          Too bad you're still a wage slave. I'm retired and live in a villa in Zacatecas, MX

        • Elizabeth
          January 30, 2013 at 3:55 am

          Wage slave? Uh... he said he runs his own business. He didn't ask you if you wanted fries with that snark. *eyeroll*

        • Organic Black
          February 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

          I get it now, you use Wikipedia because you are laz and do not know any better.

          Lastly, I like what I do and will do it until I can not. When you love your work, it ain't work.

        • Anonymous
          February 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm

          I am not "laz" (sic), I am retired after working as a health professional ( which I enjoyed, until I didn't, so I got out).
          Worked hard enough so that now, I don't have to.
          Have a nice life

  41. dragonmouth
    January 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    With the exception of Google and maybe Wikipedia, I would not notice if the sites you so extoll disappeared from the Web. If Twitter and Facebook ceased their existence, many people would be saved from their own folly of posting embarassing and potentially incriminating information about themselves. Without Facebook and other social networking sites, employers could not find out what idiots their current and prospective employees can make of themselves.

    • Dave Parrack
      January 16, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      Social networks are far from perfect, and the younger generation are giving up too much information willingly, but they've helped mold the Web over the past few years.To the point that it's hard not to feel like you're missing out if you're not on Facebook or Twitter.

      • dragonmouth
        January 16, 2013 at 11:21 pm

        Yes, social networks have helped "mold" the theWeb but whether it has been for better or worse is arguable.

        "it’s hard not to feel like you’re missing out if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter."
        When one is addicted to something (social networks, drugs, alcohol) one tends to think that way.

        I suppose Twitter could be considered a news source in a world that gets by with soundbites. What quality of news can one deliver in 140 characters, other than the most superficial? Twitter is for shallow twits with the attention span of a gold fish.

        • Dave Parrack
          January 17, 2013 at 12:32 am

          I agree, it is arguable whether they're a force for good or evil.

          How can you be addicted to something you're not using?

          An individual tweet may mean nothing, but when you get rumblings of a major breaking news story via a trending topic it's an important source. From your description I'd guess you've never actually used Twitter. How can you judge something you have no experience of?

        • Tug Ricks
          January 17, 2013 at 6:22 am

          Social networks can be beneficial if used in the right way. A grandma might appreciate being able to easily view pictures of her family who live across the country. Sure, those kids could mail their grandma pictures, or send them in an email. But websites like Facebook provide an opportunity for those pictures to be centralized and commented on by a community. It's not all negative my friend.

        • Ken E Baker
          January 22, 2013 at 9:21 am

          We don't all live in frat houses and post drunken pictures, you know. Some of us have actually lived and traveled across the world; Facebook is by far the best and easiest way of keeping track of friends and the colleagues.

        • dragonmouth
          January 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm

          The dictionary definition of "twitter":
          to talk lightly and rapidly, especially of trivial matters; chatter; to titter or giggle.

          "Some of us have actually lived and traveled across the world; Facebook is by far the best and easiest way of keeping track of friends and the colleagues."
          The key phrase here is "SOME". Most do behave as if they lived in frat and sorority houses. Must not discriminate against the fair sex by excluding them.

      • Tom Sobieski
        January 17, 2013 at 1:47 am

        Not only are they far from perfect but totally unnecessary except for people who haven't left the house sine 1998
        I posted an article about 3D printing, a guy making bricks from a solar powered printer, in the middle of the Sahara and 6 old ladies told me it didn't exist because nobody gives away anything for nothing

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      January 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

      I too wouldn't miss anything aside of Google and Wikipedia. The rest? Most people can't live without 'em.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 3:54 am

        I only use Google because I just started blogging on Blogspot. For web search I use Duck Duck Go or IxQuick. Not going to have those Googly eyes following me around, nosiree MS Bob.

        Wikipedia I use a lot, but mostly for pictures. I actually prefer to read my old dusty Compton's that are so rough and beat up they look like something "straight outta Compton." And that's actually a good thing -- both for never-say-die poor folks and time-honored tomes. Signs of wear are battle scars, and every broken spine tells a different story.

        • Dave Parrack
          January 30, 2013 at 11:42 am

          If you don't want Google following you around then why use Blogger?

        • Lisa Santika Onggrid
          January 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm

          Well, I do like paperbacks. Agree! Nothing could replace the trusty ol' tomes.

  42. Alice Lake
    January 16, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Seriously, there isn't a single website that is of "live without status".

    I make frequent use of Google search and wikipedia, but I don't have a twitter account (don't care what everyone else thinks at any particular second of the day); facebook account (Zuckerberg is an information thief; he's not getting mine); ebay account (I've checked it for prices in the past on particular items; about once per year).

    Reddit? certainly not in the "can't live without category", though of passing interest.

    Youtube? Occasionally I'll download a lecture on something.

    I spend about 12 hours per day on line, but my time is spent at "legitimate" news web sites and research sites. And nearly all of those are replaceable.

    None of sites on your list - or probably any others you could come up with - are "live without".

    • Dave Parrack
      January 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      I disagree, obviously. I feel these are the sites that the rest of the Web now operates around, for better or worse. Facebook has its tentacles everywhere, Twitter is often the source for breaking news stories and citizen journalism, and Reddit the source for memes that end up breaking through into the mainstream.

    • Sashritha Peiris
      January 16, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      If what you have said is true then you should not have gone on this page.

    • Tom Sobieski
      January 17, 2013 at 1:44 am

      Oh, you are so important.

    • Tug Ricks
      January 17, 2013 at 6:18 am

      Alice, you are a wonderful person who apparently utilizes your time rather well. But you might want to relax a little bit, and realize that not everyone spends the majority of their time online for such serious purposes as you seem to do. For many, the internet is not necessarily connected with their job, but only serves as a means of communication with friends and family, as well as lighthearted entertainment. I don't believe Dave is suggesting that our lives would literally end without the websites he mentioned. It's a light article on a tech news website, so take it for what it's worth.

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        January 17, 2013 at 3:35 pm

        Agreed. I don't use any on this list aside of Google, occassional Wikipedia and Youtube, but we have to admit all of them are highly influential to how people use internet nowadays. They're truly the highest used sites in the internet, and for some people, 'can't live without'.

    • History Fanatic
      January 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Alice, I use Twitter to keep track of archeologists, classics professors, ancient history bloggers, Italian and Greece travel news, and some Texas Longhorn football recruiting updates for fun. I don't use it to see what kind of sandwich someone just ate. It's the most important app that I use.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 3:48 am

        "I don’t use [Twitter] to see what kind of sandwich someone just ate."

        Turkey? Chicken? Pheasant? Bird is the word ;-)

        Maybe someone should make a fake Dagwood Bumstead account. Although his sandwich recipes would probably take a lot more than 140 characters to write down in completion. Talk about a mouthful. ;-)

    • Amanda Nagle-Chicoine
      January 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      I am on the web 20 out of 24 hours a day because I am in school BUT I like to have a little fun too- Google is lots of fun plus informative, You Tube has great music videos (plus some hilarious ones). Face Book is my only connection to every one of my closest friends from high school and college. Personally I would be seriously upset if I couldn't visit all my favorites mentioned. MakeUseOf has become the one I spend a lot of time on which is why I can't even manage 6 hours sleep and get all my work in plus have fun!

    • Erandall Conrado
      January 22, 2013 at 2:42 am

      Alice, I was having a party,'re no longer invited.

      • Elizabeth
        January 30, 2013 at 3:50 am

        Go See Alice. Judging by the amount of e-mails I get from her every day, I think she'll know.

        I actually tend to agree with her about social media sites. I have never gone to Readit because I'm afraid of what I've heard that it's like a combination of 4-Chan and Craig's List. There was a Lifetime movie about something very bad related to that last one. :-O