Q: What is the Alexa Web Information Service (AWIS)?

The Alexa Web Information Service is an API that gives programmatic to access Alexa's vast repository of information about the traffic and structure of the web.

Q: How do I get started with AWIS?

  1. To use AWIS, you first need to sign up for the Alexa Web Information service. Visit the service detail page and click on the “Sign up for AWIS” button. 
  2. After completing the registration process click on "Go to the Management Console" button.
  3. On the AWS Management Console page select the drop down arrow next to your name in the top right hand corner, and select "Security Credentials" 
    (Note: AWIS is not listed on the AWS Management Console page.)
  4. Select "Access Keys (Access Key ID and Secret Access Key)" and "Create New Access Keys" to get the access keys that you will use to make requests to the service.
    (Note: AWIS does not support IAM.)
  5. The easiest way to get started is to make a test request using your access keys using one of the sample programs.
  6. You can then refer to our technical documentation to customize the program to retrieve the information you want from AWIS.

Q: How can I get a list of all top web sites on the internet? 

The list of top web sites is available through the Alexa Top Sites web service.

Q: What can I do with the Alexa Web Information Service?

Any application that links to or displays information about web sites can be enhanced with data from the Alexa Web Information Service. What you can do is only limited by your imagination; some ideas include:

  • Using the URL Information action to provide traffic information about web sites on your search result pages
  • Using the Browse Category action to build a web directory on your web site

Q: Who should use the Alexa Web Information Service?

Any developer who can build applications or services based on XML can use the Alexa Web Information Service. The service is designed for developers who wish to display data about specific web sites, and the internet, as a whole, in their applications and web sites.

Q: What is the URL Information action?

URL Information offers access to Alexa’s information about web sites, including Traffic Rank, Related Links, Contact Info, Site Stats and more. The URL Information action is fully described in the documentation.

Q: Where does Alexa get the traffic data?

Alexa gets its traffic data, including reach, page views and rank information, from a global panel of web users. The panel is used as a statistical sample of Internet usage to extrapolate overall traffic patterns and web usage information.  Details about Alexa’s traffic data can be found on Alexa.com.

Q: How many sites are ranked?

During any given three month period, Alexa can rank approximately 30 million unique sites.

Q: How are related links and categories determined?

Alexa Internet uses crawling, archiving, categorizing, and data mining techniques to build the Related Links lists for millions of web URLs. One technique used is to analyze links on the crawled pages to find related sites. The day-to-day use of the Alexa service also helps build and refine the data. By looking at high-level trends within the millions of URL “paths” created by Alexa users, we can deduce relationships between web sites. For example, if many users go directly from site A to site B, the two sites are likely to be related.

Please note that since the relationships between sites are based on strength, Related Links lists are not necessarily balanced. Site A may appear in the list for Site B, but Site B may not be in the list for Site A. Generally, this happens when the number of sites with strong relationships is greater than ten, or when sites do not have similar enough content.

Q: How does Alexa obtain contact information for web sites?

The site owners, addresses, and phone numbers shown in the Alexa service are aggregated directly from InterNIC, Whois.net, Ripe.net, Apnic.net and other sites that are in the business of registering domain names. This domain registration information is publicly available to any web user. E-mail addresses may be gathered from the actual web site or from domain registration information. If the contact information for your URL is wrong, or you would like to have it unlisted in the Alexa service, you can change it at Alexa.com. Once there, simply enter your URL and follow the instructions. Please note that it can take up to 2 days for these changes to take effect.

Q: Where does Alexa get the site descriptions and titles for sites?

Site titles and descriptions are taken directly from the Open Directory (http://www.dmoz.org). If you would like your title or description changed, you can change it at the Alexa Contact Information Editor. This will update your description on Alexa but you might also wish contact the Open Directory directly in order to update the source description.

Q: How often is the URL Information data updated?

In the URL Information action, the traffic data is updated daily. Most other information in the URL Information, are updated monthly.

Q: What is the Alexa Browse Category?

Together, the Browse Category and Browse Listings actions provide a web directory service. The categories and listings are based on the Open Directory, www.dmoz.org. Alexa updates the browse category nightly to incorporate any changes made to the contents of the Open Directory, and to update the popularity information.

Q: How is the Alexa directory different from the Open Directory?

The Alexa directory is based on the Open Directory. Alexa edits and enhances the directory by adding traffic and reviews data. You may sort sites within a category by popularity (traffic) or reviews.

Q: Is the Browse Category action a search engine?

No. The Browse Category action only offers a browse feature. For any given browse node (category), the service responds with subcategories, related categories, top sites within that category, and more.

Q: What is Sites Linking In?

The Sites Linking In action returns a list of web sites linking to a given web site. Within each domain linking into the web site, only a single link – the one with the highest page-level traffic – is returned. The data is updated weekly.

Q: What is the Historical Traffic Data action?

The Traffic History action returns historical day-by-day Alexa Traffic Rank, Reach per Million, and Page Views per Million metrics for websites.