Domain Names

The Domain Name Industry Brief

Q1 2021

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.

Executive Summary

The first quarter of 2021 closed with 363.5 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs), a decrease of 2.8 million domain name registrations, or 0.8%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.1,2 Domain name registrations have decreased by 3.3 million, or 0.9%, year over year.1,2

Total country-code TLD (ccTLD) domain name registrations were 156.5 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 2.4 million domain name registrations, or 1.5%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.1,2 ccTLDs decreased by 0.9 million domain name registrations, or 0.6%, year over year.1,2

The .com and .net TLDs had a combined total of 168.0 million domain name registrations in the domain name base3 at the end of the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 2.8 million domain name registrations, or 1.7%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. The .com and .net TLDs had a combined increase of 7.3 million domain name registrations, or 4.6%, year over year. As of March 31, 2021, the .com domain name base totaled 154.6 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 11.6 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021, compared to 10.0 million domain name registrations at the end of the first quarter of 2020.

Total new gTLD (ngTLD) domain name registrations were 22.8 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 3.2 million domain name registrations, or 12.3%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. ngTLDs decreased by 9.5 million domain name registrations, or 29.3%, year over year.

1. The figure(s) includes domain names in the .tk ccTLD. .tk is a ccTLD that provides free domain names to individuals and businesses. Revenue is generated by monetizing expired domain names. Domain names no longer in use by the registrant or expired are taken back by the registry and the residual traffic is sold to advertising networks. As such, there are no deleted .tk domain names. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131216006048/en/Freenom-Closes-3M-Series-Funding#.UxeUGNJDv9s

2. The generic top-level domain (gTLD), ngTLD and ccTLD data cited in this brief: (i) includes ccTLD Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), (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, Q1 2021; Verisign, Q1 2021; Centralized Zone Data Service, Q1 2021

As of March 31, 2021, the largest TLDs by number of reported domain names were .com, .tk, .cn, .de, .net, .uk, .org, .nl, .ru and .br.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, Q1 2021

For further information on the Domain Name Industry Brief methodology, please click here.

Total ccTLD domain name registrations were 156.5 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 2.4 million domain name registrations, or 1.5%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.1,2 ccTLDs decreased by 0.9 million domain name registrations, or 0.6%, year over year.1,2 Excluding .tk, ccTLD domain name registrations decreased by 2.4 million in the first quarter of 2021, or 1.8%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. ccTLDs, excluding .tk, decreased by 0.5 million domain name registrations, or 0.4%, year over year.

The top 10 ccTLDs, as of March 31, 2021, were .tk, .cn, .de, .uk, .nl, .ru, .br, .fr, .eu and .it.1,2 As of March 31, 2021, there were 308 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root zone, including IDNs, with the top 10 ccTLDs comprising 64.3% of all ccTLD domain name registrations.1,2

New gTLDs As Percentage of Total TLDs

ZookNIC, Q1 2021; Verisign, Q1 2021; and Centralized Zone Data Service, Q1 2021

Total ngTLD domain name registrations were 22.8 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021, a decrease of 3.2 million domain name registrations, or 12.3%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. ngTLDs decreased by 9.5 million domain name registrations, or 29.3%, year over year. The top 10 ngTLDs represented 51.9% 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 6.3%, as well as the top 10 ngTLDs as a percentage of all ngTLD domain name registrations for the first quarter of 2021.

Geographical ngTLDs As Percentage of Total Corresponding Geographical TLDs

ZookNIC, Q1 2021 and Centralized Zone Data Service, Q1 2021

As of March 31, 2021, there were 47 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 (GA). The chart on the left summarizes the domain name registrations as of March 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.

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