On 5 November the German country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) celebrated its 30th birthday with over 16.1 million domain names registered, 20 years of which the ccTLD has been managed by DENIC.
After 7 years there were only 1,000 domains registered, three years later in 1996 there 20,000, three years later again there were a million and then registrations started to take off. By 2001 there were 5 million registrations. It took another 5 years to get to 10,000,000.
While in the boom years, mean increase rates easily exceeded 100 percent, growth has consolidated in the meantime in the now mature market. However, still scoring rates of about one percent, .de continues to gain roughly 150,000 domains every year.
About one third of the .de domains are registered for private individuals, roughly two thirds for enterprises, and a remaining three percent for institutions and organisations, such as authorities, associations, clubs and other initiatives. In total, the number of domain holders amounts to some 7.8 million.
Of all domain names registered in Germany, around two-thirds (65%) are .de domains, far and above the next most popular TLD, .com, with 20 percent.
Studies conducted by the Internet industry and independent initiatives, such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group, also regularly give good ratings to the German Top Level Domain: The proportion of domains which is not used at all or used for criminal purposes, such as spam or phishing, is rather low under .de, by international standards. This does not only result in a great relevance for search engines, it also underpins the high standards met by the German TLD when it comes to security on the Internet.
High security and wide reach combined with consistently low prices also render .de domains attractive for domain holders from outside Germany: Roughly 7 percent or 1.1 million domains under .de are registered from abroad. Holders come from 217 different countries, most of them from the USA or the Netherlands.
The popularity of German web offers is reflected by the traffic rates DENIC’s infrastructure has to manage on a 24/7/365 basis. More than 40,000 times per second, users call a web service using a .de domain; this is more than seven billion calls per day. Added to this are 300 users per second who want to know if a specific domain is free, which means that 26 million users consult DENIC’s whois information service every day.
In recognition, DENIC, the .de registry, released some background on domain names. The average string for a .de domain is 14 characters. Today DENIC has a membership of more than 320 companies from the ICT sector and promotes the preservation of the open, free and secure Internet on the international stage.
Around one in five Germans has registered a .de domain and it’s the third largest ccTLD after the Pacific island of Tokelau’s .tk, which gives away its domains for free and then .cn (China) with 19.5 million registrations. The only TLD bigger is .com, currently with 127.4 million registrations.
One of the reasons for the popularity of .de is due to DENIC’s liberal terms and conditions that allow everybody to register a domain. It meant that .de domains from its early days were used not only by business and industry but also developed into a favourite option among private users who wanted to build their own “homepage”.