These were CNN's top 100 digital stories of 2021

The January 6 insurrection, Biden's inauguration, Trump's exit, Facebook's challenges in DC and the availability of Covid-19 vaccines were some of the top stories of the year.

(CNN)The past year packed some of the biggest stories of our lifetimes into just 365 days. From the insurrection and a new administration to viral missing persons cases, with the Covid-19 pandemic looming above it all, readers had a lot to catch up on.

One of the year's most read stories happened during the first week of the year: the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Readers followed that story from its first few minutes to the weeks and months of fallout that followed, as well as coverage of the Georgia runoffs that won Democrats the Senate, former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, and the lead-up to President Joe Biden's inauguration.
Audiences continued to seek answers about Covid-19 and its Delta and Omicron variants as the pandemic evolved. While Trump's exit and mass shootings in Colorado and Indiana dominated the news during the first half of the year, the second half saw readers focus on the disappearances (and later deaths) of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, a case that came to wide attention through TikTok, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and the deadly crowd crush at the Astroworld music festival.
This year was a challenging one, punctuated by upsetting losses. But it also saw the mass availability of Covid-19 vaccines in the US, a peaceful inauguration after a tumultuous transfer of power and a ship so big it got lodged in the Suez Canal, offering a bizarre alternative to the heavier news of the day.
If the last two years have taught us anything, it's that we can never predict what the future has in store. Revisiting these stories isn't easy, but here's hoping it inspires us to make our world safer and stabler in 2022.
Insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on January 6, clashing with police, in an event that resulted in several deaths.
Readers closely followed news of Gabby Petito's disappearance and death.
The Ever Given was lodged in the Suez Canal for nearly a week.
President Joe Biden, masked, in the Oval Office in January.