Tokelau World’s Largest Country in Nominet’s ccTLD World Map

Tokelau is the world’s largest country in Nominet’s 2019 ccTLD world map that shows country’s size relative to their domain name registrations, followed by China, Germany and the UK.

The tiny island of Tokelau with a population of 1,500 and an area of 10 square kilometres dominates, with over 25 million domains registered. Its popularity is due to .tk domains being available free to all, while no expired domains are ever deleted, allowing the total to continue to build.

According to recent statistics, Nominet notes that country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) account for 41% of all domains and number around 158.7 million in total. Almost half of all those are in Europe – 72 million – where countries seeing the highest growth this year include Poland (.pt), Ireland (.ie), France (.fr) and Estonia (.ee). Nominet notes it’s often hard to pinpoint exactly what feeds this growth. They imagine it could be growing patriotism, a rise in connected households and businesses, or because certain letter combinations are becoming attractive from a marketing perspective.

Nominet give 2 different examples to demonstrate the differing appeal of a ccTLD. Firstly, Malta’s .mt grew by 146% in the past year. This growth mirrors the country’s economic success, with the country predicted to see the greatest economic growth in the EU in 2020. Then Guernsey’s .gg, which grew 107% over the year due to the appeal of the letter combination to video game and esports websites. They recognise the ‘gg’ as a common abbreviation of ‘good game’ and therefore view the domain as a great marketing tool.

Despite these two examples, Nominet note growth rates generally are low which Verisign and Centr reports have been showing for a few years now. European ccTLDs dominate the ccTLD market but grew just 2% on average. The largest growth was seen in Africa, with an average rate of 8.5%. The higher growth here is inevitable in a continent that is fast catching up with the rest of the world in terms of connectivity and digital infrastructure. That said, the growth took the African domains total to just 3.4 million – still the smallest continent. As a ccTLD registry, we are always tracking this market and recognise that lower growth rates are perhaps an inevitable outcome of a mature market, but that doesn’t mean we won’t continue to look for ways to work with registrars to promote the benefits of a ccTLD.