Internet Domains Hit 299 Million

Almost 300 million domain names now exist across all Top Level Domains, though growth isn't evenly spread.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jan 7, 2016
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As Internet speeds keep on growing, so too do the domain names that users use their Internet connections to reach.

According to VeriSign's third quarter 2015 Domain Name Industry Brief, the total number of registered Top Level Domains (tlds) registered globally stood at approximately 299 million as of September 30, 2015. That's 5.2 percent year-over-year growth spurred by the global registration of 14.8 million names over the course of the year.

The VeriSign-operated dot com TLD registry remains the world's single largest source of domains, with 120.1 million names registered. VeriSign also operates the dot net registry, which now has 15.1 million domain names. The combined dot com and dot net TLDs grew by 3.4 percent on a year-over-year basis.

It's not all growth in the domain name business though. Country Code TLD (ccTLD) actually dropped marginally on a quarterly basis by 0.1 percent to 137.8 million domains. The ccTLD is made of country code extensions and declined due to new policies in the Argentina dot ar ccTLD. At the end of the third quarter, there were only 700,000 dot ar (.ar) domains, down from 2.7 million, after new fees and rules came into place.

There are now 287 global ccTLDs on the Internet, with the most heavily used one remaining the dot tk (.tk) space from the small region of Tokelau. Dot tk is popular as it is freely available namespace that anyone can register without cost. The .tk TLD is operated by freenom, which aims to make money from expired domains and other services.

The other area of domains that is growing, albeit slowly, is the new generic TLD (ngTLD) space, which now holds 7.6 million name registrations. The top ngTLD is the dot xyz (.xyz) space, which represents nearly 12 percent of all ngTLD registrations. Dot xyz is the domain space that Google's new parent company chose for its parent Alphabet company (alphabet.xyz) when it re-organized in August.

VeriSign also helps to operate the root DNS for the Internet, another area of increasing global growth and usage. The average daily query load on DNS as measured by VeriSign in the third quarter was approximately 120 billion DNS queries per day for a 4.8 percent year-over-year gain, with a peak load of nearly 593 billion, which represents an 86.4 percent gain.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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