Domain Name Registrations Grew in 2009

The Internet Domain name industry didn’t have too bad of a year in 2009, even as the global economic downturn raged. According to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief from VeriSign, the total base of registered Top-Level Domain Names (TLDs) grew in 2009.

VeriSign reported that in 2009, the base of TLDs expanded by 15 million domains names to a total of 192 million domain registration across all TLDs.

Helping to the lead the way were the .com and .net TLDs, which at the end of 2009 accounted for 96.7 million domain names. The 2009 tally represents a 7 percent increase over the total number of .com and .net TLDs at the end of 2008. The company also said that that during the fourth quarter of 2009 alone, it added 7.3 million new .com and .net registrations. VeriSign manages both the .com and .net registries under contract from ICANN.

The growth isn’t the only milestone for the .com domain. On March 15, VeriSign will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first .com name — — which was assigned in 1985.

The .com and .net domain names aren’t the only ones that are growing. The total number of country code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) also continued to rise in 2009. In total, VeriSign reported that there were 78.6 million ccTLD at the end of 2009, an increase of 7.5 million domain names from 2008.

Overall, there are now more than 240 ccTLDs in use, with China’s .cn remaining the most popular ccTLD, followed by Germany’s .de and the United Kingdom’s .uk.

While China has been the top ccTLD since the third quarter of 2008, the rate of growth in the .cn ccTLD has actually slowed.

“The .cn base, which had been experiencing remarkable growth as high as 467 percent year over year, slowed its growth and ended the fourth quarter with a one percent decline in its base,” VeriSign’s report stated.

Sitting behind all those domain names is the global DNS system, which VeriSign helps to administer. As domain names have grown, so too has the load on the DNS system. VeriSign reported that during the fourth quarter of 2009, it hit peaks of 61 billion DNS queries per day. Average daily DNS query load amounted to 52 billion per day, which is an increase of 48 percent over the same period in 2008.

In 2009, VeriSign improved its DNS capabilities by way of its $100 million project Titan, an effort to improve capacity by a factor of 10.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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