Give an Hour: Revealing the habits of new web users
At the end of 2011 41.99 million adults in the UK had been online.
That represented 83.5% of the adult population and was an increase of 224,000 since the third quarter of the year.
Since October 2011, a further 350,000 people have gone online through the Give an Hour campaign - a scheme aimed at getting people to pledge to give some of their time to help a non-internet user get online.
But what draws somebody to get online in the first place and where do they go as a newly arrived visitor to the web?
According to Caroline Watson, head of partner networks for Go ON UK, a charity which aims to help individuals and organisations get online, people want to access the internet for various reasons.Family history
"When people decide they want to give the internet a go it's generally because they want to stay in touch with family or they want to save money by doing their shopping and paying bills online," she said.
"We also find among the over 65s they are very keen to research their family history and view archive footage, we get a lot of people in care homes who want to do that."
She said hobbies and interests were a good way to get people online because their learning could be built around something they already had a passion for.
The partnership mainly works with people aged over 55, although another group they assist is young unemployed men who Ms Watson said may know how to access the internet socially but who lack basic skills around searching for jobs or training.
UK Online Centres co-ordinates a network of 3,800 centres around the UK which help people get online.
Anna Geraghty, spokeswoman for UK Online Centres, said the types of sites people visited depended on the individual but there were some common motivations for getting online.Sharing knowledge
She said: "A common thing we hear is they (people who want to get online) have relatives who live abroad so they want to be able to send emails to them or keep in touch on Facebook."
She added they had also noticed older people wanted to get online to connect with people with shared interests.
"A large number of people are sharing knowledge online and networking around their hobbies," she said.
The seven types of internet user
- Knowledge seekers - use the internet to learn about topics of interest
- Communicators - use the internet to stay in touch
- Functionalists - use the internet for work, job searches and managing finances
- Hobbyists - music, gaming and hobbies
- Transactor/bargain hunters - shopping and deals
- Technophiles/followers - like to use the latest technology
- Family-orientated - use the internet to help or supervise children or grandchildren
Source: UK Online Centres
Prof William Dutton, from the Oxford Internet Institute, said communication was viewed by many as the most important reason to use the internet but studies had found older people, who make up the biggest group of new users, also used the internet for entertainment.
He said: "There are several general uses of the internet. One is information which could be news, medical information, weather and travel and another use is entertainment so that's things like downloading music and video and watching clips on YouTube.
"Older people and younger people use the internet for entertainment while people in employment use it for information.
"People also use it for planning such as organising trips or shopping but older people are less likely to use it for this because they are more conservative about spending."
He added younger people helping older people to get online could be a good idea because they tended to use the internet for the same reason - fun.
He said: "The internet is an experience technology, you can explain to people what they can do online but they don't get it.
"It's more effective to get someone to sit down with someone who hasn't been online and help them experience it for themselves."