225 Million Domains and Counting

Quarter after quarter, year after year, new domains continue be added to the Internet at a relentless pace. The fourth quarter of 2011 was no exception, according to VeriSign.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Mar 12, 2012
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Think there are no more .com addresses to be had? Think again.

VeriSign's fourth quarter 2011 Domain Name Information Brief (DNIB) report counts the total number of registered domain names at 225 million. At the end of the third quarter of 2011, VeriSign reported that there were 220 million registered domain names.

Year-over-year, domain registrations grew by 20.4 million from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011. Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) grew by 13.2 percent. According to VeriSign, there are now 90.6 million ccTLDs registered worldwide. Those 90.6 million domains are spread across 290 ccTLD extensions, though 60 percent of them can be found in the top 10 ccTLDs.

As was the case at the end of the third quarter the top ccTLDs in terms of registered names are:1) .de (Germany) 2) .uk (United Kingdom) 3) .tk (Tokelau) 4) .nl (Netherlands) 5) .ru (Russian Federation) 6) .eu (European Union) 7) .cn (China) 8) .br (Brazil) 9) .ar (Argentina) 10) .it (Italy)

Though ccTLDs are growing fast, .com and .net are still growing fast too. According to VeriSign, there were 7.9 million .com and .net registrations in the fourth quarter of 2011, which is an eight percent year-over-year growth rate. At the end of 2011, there was a combined 113.8 million registered .com and .net domain names.

The continued growth of .com, comes as VeriSign is in the midst of trying to get their deal with the U.S. Department of Commerce for .com management renewed. VeriSign has administered the .com domain name space since 2001. VeriSign last renewed its deal with the Department of Commerce and ICANN to operate the .com registry in 2006. The current agreement is set to terminate November 30, 2012.

In addition to managing .com, VeriSign also manages the root DNS servers for the Internet, which came under heavy load during the fourth quarter. Peak DNS query volume grew by 51 percent to 117 billion queries. The average DNS query load grew by eight percent to 64 billion queries.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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