Domain Names

The Domain Name Industry Brief

Q4 2021 Data and Analysis

As a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, Verisign reviews the state of the domain name industry each quarter through a variety of statistical and analytical research, as well as relevant industry insight. Verisign provides this brief to highlight important trends in domain name registrations, including key performance indicators and growth opportunities, to industry analysts, media and businesses.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Since it was first published in February 2004, the Domain Name Industry Brief has become widely regarded as a credible and accurate source of statistics relating to the domain name industry. The continued accuracy of this brief and the reliability of the statistical information it contains are of paramount importance to Verisign and our readers.

We have therefore taken the decision to exclude the .tk, .cf, .ga, .gq and .ml country-code top-level domains from the applicable data set and trend calculations, due to an unexplained change in available estimates for the .tk zone size and lack of verification from the registry operator for these TLDs. The applicable current and historical data presented in this edition of the DNIB have been adjusted accordingly, and applicable quarterly and year-on-year trends have been calculated using those adjusted figures. This enables us to continue to provide accurate overall trend data.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The fourth quarter of 2021 closed with 341.7 million domain name registrations across all TLDs, an increase of 3.3 million domain name registrations, or 1.0%, compared to the third quarter of 2021.1,2 Domain name registrations have increased by 1.6 million, or 0.5%, year over year.1,2

The .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of 173.4 million domain name registrations in the domain name base3 at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 1.4 million domain name registrations, or 0.8%, compared to the third quarter of 2021. The .com and .net TLDs had a combined increase of 8.2 million domain name registrations, or 5.0%, year over year. As of Dec. 31, 2021, the .com domain name base totaled 160.0 million domain name registrations, and the .net domain name base totaled 13.4 million domain name registrations.

New .com and .net domain name registrations totaled 10.6 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to 10.5 million domain name registrations at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.

Total ccTLD domain name registrations were 127.4 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 0.7 million domain name registrations, or 0.6%, compared to the third quarter of 2021.1,2 ccTLDs decreased by 5.3 million domain name registrations, or 4.0%, year-over-year. Excluding .cn, which experienced a registry-implemented zone reduction during 2021 of 9.4 million domain names, ccTLDs increased by 4.1 million domain names, or 3.8%, year over year.1,2

Total new-generic TLD domain name registrations were 24.7 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 1.2 million domain name registrations, or 5.1%, compared to the third quarter of 2021. ngTLDs decreased by 1.3 million domain name registrations, or 5.2%, year over year.

1. Per the Editor’s Note above, all figure(s) exclude domain names in the .tk, .cf, .ga, .gq and .ml ccTLDs operated by Freenom. Quarterly and year-over-year trends have been calculated relative to historical figures that have also been adjusted to exclude these five ccTLDs.

2. The generic TLD, ngTLD and ccTLD data cited in this brief: (i) includes ccTLD internationalized domain names, (ii) is an estimate as of the time this brief was developed and (iii) is subject to change as more complete data is received. Some numbers in this brief may reflect standard rounding.

3. The domain name base is the active zone plus the number of domain names that are registered but not configured for use in the respective TLD zone file plus the number of domain names that are in a client or server hold status. The .com and .net domain name registration figures are as reported in Verisign’s most recent SEC filings.

TOP 10 LARGEST TLDS BY NUMBER OF REPORTED DOMAIN NAMES

Source: ZookNIC, Q4 2021; Verisign, Q4 2021; Centralized Zone Data Service, Q4 2021

As of Dec. 31, 2021, the largest TLDs by number of reported domain names were .com, .de, .cn, .net, .uk, .org, .nl, .ru, .br and .fr.1,2,4

4. Line break indicates that the .com line has been shortened for display considerations.

TOP 10 LARGEST CCTLDs BY NUMBER OF REPORTED DOMAIN NAMES

Source: ZookNIC, Q4 2021

For further information on The Domain Name Industry Brief methodology, please refer to the last page of this brief.

The top 10 ccTLDs, as of Dec. 31, 2021, were .de, .cn, .uk, .nl, .ru, .br, .fr, .eu, .it and .au.1,2 As of Dec. 31, 2021, there were 308 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root zone, including internationalized domain names, with the top 10 ccTLDs comprising 58.7% of all ccTLD domain name registrations.1,2

ngTLDS AS PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL TLDS

Source: ZookNIC, Q4 2021; Verisign, Q4 2021; and Centralized Zone Data Service, Q4 2021

The top 10 ngTLDs represented 50.6% of all ngTLD domain name registrations. The following chart shows ngTLD domain name registrations as a percentage of overall TLD domain name registrations, of which they represent 7.2%. In addition, the chart on the right highlights the top 10 ngTLDs as a percentage of all ngTLD domain name registrations for the fourth quarter of 2021.

GEOGRAPHICAL ngTLDs AS PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL CORRESPONDING GEOGRAPHICAL TLDs

Source: ZookNIC, Q4 2021 and Centralized Zone Data Service, Q4 2021

As of Dec. 31, 2021, there were 50 ngTLDs delegated that met the following criteria: 1) had a geographical focus and 2) had more than 1,000 domain name registrations since entering general availability. The chart on the left summarizes the domain name registrations as of Dec. 31, 2021, for the listed ccTLDs and the corresponding geographical ngTLDs within the same geographic region. In addition, the chart on the right highlights the top 10 geographical ngTLDs as a percentage of the total geographical TLDs.

ABOUT VERISIGN

Verisign, a global provider of domain name registry services and internet infrastructure, enables internet navigation for many of the world’s most recognized domain names. Verisign enables the security, stability, and resiliency of key internet infrastructure and services, including providing root zone maintainer services, operating two of the 13 global internet root servers and providing registration services and authoritative resolution for the .com and .net top-level domains, which support the majority of global e-commerce. To learn more about what it means to be Powered by Verisign, please visit verisign.com.

LEARN MORE

To access the archives for The Domain Name Industry Brief, please go to verisign.com/dnibarchives. Email your comments or questions to domainbrief@verisign.com.

METHODOLOGY

The data presented in this brief, including quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year metrics, reflects information available to Verisign at the time of this brief and may incorporate changes and adjustments to previously reported periods based on additional information received since the date of such prior reports, so as to more accurately reflect the growth rate of domain name registrations. In addition, the data available for this brief may not include data for all of the 308 ccTLD extensions that are delegated to the root zone, and includes only the data available at the time of the preparation of this brief. Beginning with this issue (Vol 19, Issue 1) the .tk, .cf, .ga, .gq and .ml ccTLDs have been excluded from all applicable calculations, due to an unexplained change in estimates for the .tk zone size and lack of verification from the registry operator for these TLDs. The historical data has also been adjusted from this issue forward.

For gTLD and ccTLD data cited with ZookNIC as a source, the ZookNIC analysis uses a comparison of domain name root zone file changes supplemented with other authoritative data sources and independent approximations. For more information, see ZookNIC.com.