Global Domain Registrations Grow 9% In 2015 To 314 Million, But Growth Across TLDs Uneven

Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief Q4 2015The total number of domain names registered around the world grew to 314 million at the end of 2015, a growth rate of nine percent (25.9 million) for the 12 months and five percent (15m) for the fourth quarter, according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief published Thursday.

For the largest TLD of them all, .com, it’s growth is unassailable. There are now 124 million .com domains registered, up from 115.6 million a year ago, a growth of 7.3 percent. But its Verisign stablemate .net has only grown from 15 to 15.8 million, or 5.3 percent, over the same period.

The .net TLD is one of a number of gTLDs, along with .us, that seemingly have been knocked by the growth of the new gTLDs. In the 12 months to 31 December there has been a significant growth in new gTLD registrations.

The largest TLDs in order by zone size were .com, .tk, .cn, .de, .net, .org, .uk, .ru, .nl and .info.

New gTLDs have been growing strongly. As of 31 December 2014 there were 478 new gTLDs were delegated into the root and new gTLD registrations totalled 3.6 million, or 2.3 percent of total gTLD registrations. Fast forward 12 months and there are 10.9 million new gTLD registrations, which represents 3.5 percent of the total domains registered in all gTLDs. Fast forward another three and a bit months and there are 16.8 million domains registered across the 968 new gTLDs that have been delegated. The top ten new gTLDs represented 51.9 percent of all new gTLD registrations.

In the ccTLDs, growth has also been strong with approximately 144.4 million domains registered at the close of the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 6.6 million domain names, or a 4.8 percent increase compared to the third quarter of 2015. For the year, ccTLD registrations increased by approximately 10.4 million, or 7.7 percent. Without including .tk, which has over 26 million registrations virtually all given away for free, ccTLD quarter-over-quarter growth was six percent and year-over-year growth was nine percent.

The top 10 ccTLDs, as of 31 December, were .tk (Tokelau), .cn (China), .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom), .ru (Russian Federation), .nl (Netherlands), .eu (European Union), .br (Brazil), .au (Australia) and .fr (France).

Again as of 31 December, there were 289 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs comprising 67.2 percent of all ccTLD registrations.

But where is the uneven growth apart from .net? Looking at RegistrarStats.com growth appears to have largely plateaued for .org but dropped significantly for several other gTLDs including .org, whose dropped started in 2012, .biz (2014), .mobi (2014), .tel (2011) and .xxx (2012). One ccTLD that has also shown a noticeable decline is .us whose decline also commenced in 2014.

A gTLD that has grown noticeably recently that isn’t a new gTLD is .pro who changed their eligibility requirements.