As a new year begins, why not have a look at the state of domain names around the world?
Nearly 360 million domains registered
The Internet is constantly growing and every year millions of new domain names are being registered. Three-letter domain names are still rare and can only be obtained when they expire. You also have to be increasingly creative in the spelling, the use of hyphens or extensions to find a new domain name that is still available.
The latest study from Verisign reports that the total number of domains, all TLDs combined, was of 359.8 million in the third quarter of 2019. This figure represents a growth of almost 10 million domains compared to the fourth quarter of 2018. Yes, the domain name industry still has a bright future ahead of it.
.com and .net are still in the lead
The generic TLDs .com and .net are still among the most popular TLDs with 144 million domains registered as of the fourth quarter of 2019. Their supremacy can be explained by their generic aspect, which means that domain names with these extensions are not associated with a particular country. This gives the domain name a more international aspect and greater legitimacy.
When it comes to ccTLDs (country-code TLDs), .tk still has the largest number of registered domains, closely followed by .cn. It should be noted that .tk is the ccTLD for the Tokelau territory in the South Pacific and that registration of a .tk domain is completely free of charge.
This ccTLD is known to host a large number of pirate, spam or illegal activity sites, the DNS of the .tk are even blocked by Internet Service Providers in the United States.
Next in the ranking are the much more reputable .de and .uk with 16.3 and 13.3 million registrations respectively. Then in a smaller proportion we have .tw (nope, this is not Twitter’s extension but Taiwan’s) with 6.8 million registrations.
Here is the global ranking of extensions for the end of 2019:
The rise of new gTLDs
gTLDs certainly have a bright future ahead of them, but it is interesting to highlight the development of new gTLDs. Indeed, as the number of registered domain names continues to grow, it is becoming more and more difficult to find one that is both free and using a common extensions.
This is when the new gTLDs such as .shop, .online or .site come into play, allowing for a wider range of possible combinations. Of course, the new gTLDs are still marginal and don’t have the same aura as a .com, but they still represent 6.7% of the TLDs registered in 2019.
The popularity of the new gTLDs should not decline in 2020 and their legitimacy as an extension does not need to be proven. Just look at the prices of 3-letter domains in new gTLDs such as ydt.shop (1,989€) or ydt.io (2,704€) on OVH. And that’s nothing compared to more popular 3-letter combinations like nfc.shop (22,466€) or nfc.tech (28,087€)!
To sum up, the world of domain names is constantly growing and the uses are evolving in response to the increasing scarcity of free domains in the most common extensions.
This lets us imagine a future where .com domains will be considered as “historical” domains or accessible only on resale markets (on Youdot.io for example 😉) while the new gTLDs will be an integral part of the web landscape.