The Daily Mail had just under 8.6 million web-only readers according to the latest NRS PADD report, which is released quarterly and uses comScore web traffic stats and National Readership Survey data to measure combined and web-only readership.
This is an increase on the reported results for September which placed the Daily Mail's web-only readership at 6.89 million.
The Guardian was second overall for web-only readership, and top among 'quality' titles, with 8.3 million, an increase from 6.17 million in September, and the news outlet also had the highest combined readership for print and online among the quality sector with 12.29 million readers.
In a press release, deputy chief executive of Guardian News and Media, David Pemsel, said "it’s great to see that our continued innovation on every platform, alongside our quality journalism, has placed us at the top of the table."
The Daily Mail reported the highest combined readership across all the UK newspapers included in the report, of 19.83 million. The Sun followed with a combined readership of 15.26 million but a web-only readership of 1.66 million. This is slightly down on the reported figures for September, which placed the Sun's web-only readership at 1.96 million.
The report follows the Audit Bureau of Circulation's multi-platform results published last week, which reported the Daily Mail website had 189.5 million unique browsers worldwide in January, a significant increase of 17.5 per cent on December's figures.
The Evening Standard website recorded a 19.2 per cent month-on-month increase in unique browsers for January, reaching a figure of 5.4 million.
January was a strong month across the board. Metro recorded a 17.4 increase in monthly browsers, while the Independent's web traffic rose 14.7 per cent and the Telegraph's increased by 12.1 per cent.
As well as differing in terms of geographical coverage, the two reports – NRS PADD and ABC – are also measured differently. According to NRS PADD, its "data collection methodologies are people-centric", while ABC is based on "browser data collected from devices". Also, as highlighted by the Guardian's press release on the latest figures, the NRS PADD report "does not include mobile and tablet app readers".