Summary for 2005 Wikipedia
The year 2005, and the month of December, were both record-breaking for Wikipedia.
The English Wikipedia more than doubled its body of articles in 2005, to almost 900,000; just over 50,000 of these were added in December alone - the first time we've grown by 50,000 articles in a single month. The Wikipedia project as a whole added almost 1.8 million new articles in 201 languages, 200,000 of them in December. With the exception of September, when the Italians and Poles went on a bot-rampage, December was the first time that the project gained 200,000 new articles.
Wikipedia.org is more popular than...
Dec 2005: Large jump facilitated by extra server capacity and helped by a surge of publicity. Jumps are now much more apparent in reach and page views than in ranking, as that only goes up a few places now even if many more people visit. In December 2005 Wikipedia's pageviews per million share gained about 500 to 1,600 (meaning it was getting 0.16% of all pageviews recorded by Alexa), which was as much as its total score at around 31 March 2005, but its 3 month ranking improved just two places during the month.
Server capacity almost certainly remains the most important determinant of the timing of growth spurts. Whenever server capacity becomes a problem growth levels off. A good way to see this is to look at Alexa's "page views per user" measure. When it goes below four, a lot of people are giving up and cutting short their sessions, and little improvement in the ranking is likely until this is resolved. But Wikipedia's ranking is yet to show any signs of a long term levelling off. Reach more than quadrupled in 2005. Merely adding the same amount to reach in 2006 (which would be far slower growth in percentage terms) will probably be enough to take Wikipedia into the top 20 this year. If this happens it is likely to put Wikipedia consistently ahead of CNN and the BBC.
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- w:en:Wikipedia:Size comparisons