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Started in 1996 by Bruce Gilliat and Brewster Kahle, Alexa Internet had backing from Jacqui Safra owned Etoile Investments. Alexa was a commercial derivative of the Internet Archive, creating related links obtained from the users behaviour, for users of Netscape Navigator and MS Internet Explorer browsers.

Amazon .com purchased Alexa in 1999 for approximately $250 million of Amazon stock. In 2002 Alexa partnered with Google and in 2003 with the Open Directory Project. Alexa is now mainly a Google search engine, using the Open Directory web directory, supplying free site information.

Alexa opened the web crawling and search index facilities to third party programs in 2005. Now providing the Site Info feature for A9 .com, Alexa also provides the search engine for Alexadex .com.

Alexa Internet was also creating the Internet Archive's project Wayback Machine. Alexa provides the Wayback Machine Internet Archive with web crawls as well.

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