276 Million Domains and Counting

According to VeriSign’s first quarter 2014 Domain Name Industry Brief, there were 276 million registered Top Level Domains (TLDs) as of March 31.

On a year-over-year basis, total global TLD registrations grew by 7.5 percent or 19.3 million new domain name registrations. While overall growth is high, the .com and .net TLDs only grew by 4 percent year-over year.

VeriSign manages both the .com and .net registries under contract with ICANN and the U.S Department of Commerce. The .net registry contract was renewed in 2011 and gives VeriSign control until 2017. The .com TLD contract was last renewed by VeriSign in 2012.

At the end of the first quarter, there were a total of 128.5 million .com and .net registered domains, with 113.2 million .com domains and 15.2 million .net names.

Overall, .com still remains the largest TLD by volume of total domain registered. The second most popular TLD is .tk for Tokelau. One of the primary reasons why .tk is so popular is the fact that domains are offered for free in that TLD. The .tk TLD is operated by freenom with the aim of making money from expired domains and other services.

Rounding out the top five TLDs is .de (Germany) in third, fourth is .net, and fifth is .uk (United Kingdom).

2014 has also seen an explosion of new Generic TLDs (gTLDs) that have expanded the number of new domains available. According to VeriSign, 125 new gTLD were added to the Internet in the first quarter of 2014.

The new gTLDs garnered 405,091 domain registrations in the first quarter of 2014. The top new gTLDs were: .guru, .berlin, .photography, .tips, .today, .email, .technology, .company, .directory and .clothing.

Powering all those TLD domain queries is the Domain Name System (DNS), which VeriSign helps to power. VeriSign reported an average daily DNS query load of 85 billion, for a 14.8 percent year-over-year gain.

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

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