Where does the web live? Surprisingly, Houston is a popular neighborhood

If you wanted to find the “homes” of the world’s top web sites, the United States would be a good place to start given that 43 percent of the top 1 million sites are hosted there. But according to data released Thursday by Royal Pingdom the top city for hosting is Houston, which hosts a little more than 5 percent of the top sites. How did one of every 20 web sites end up in the Bayou City?

My first guess was that Houston has a lot of data center space, but data from Telegeography shows the city has roughly 400,000 square feet of retail co-location space in the entire metropolitan area, which is a far cry from the 3 million square feet the San Francisco Bay area has, or even the 1 million that Austin, Texas has. So now, I’m frankly stumped.

Houston is home to 50,598 of the top million sites (as measured by Alexa), and it’s followed by Mountain View Calif. at No. 2 and Dallas at No. 3. In total, those million websites are hosted in almost 8,000 cities — 7,936 to be exact, so it’s possible that there’s one near you. But, as the chart below shows almost a quarter of the web’s sites are located in the top 10 cities.