Irish Domain Registrants Swinging From .COM To .IE In 2010s

There has been a 10 percentage point increase in the number of .ie domain names hosted in Ireland with half (50%) of all domains hosted within the country now .ie domains. There has also been a commensurate 10 percentage point decrease in .com domains in the 10 years to the end of 2019 according to the latest .ie Domain Profile Report.

At the end of 2019, the IE Domain Registry (IEDR) reports the total number of .ie domains in the national database was 280,958, up from 154,918 at the end of 2010, an increase of 81%. The substantial increase they note demonstrates the unrelenting pace of digital transformation and reflects the decade of work to make .ie domains more accessible and relevant to Ireland’s changing needs.

The report notes that in 2010, .com comprised 43% of all Irish hosted domains, versus 40% for .ie. In 2019, .ie comprised 50% of hosted domains, whereas .com’s share shrank to 33%.

There were 50,167 new .ie domains registered in 2019 the report notes. In 2018 there was a relaxing of eligibility rules making it easier and faster to register domain names in Ireland’s country code top-level domain (ccTLD). When comparing 2019 registrations to 2017 registrations (pre-rule change), the positive effect is clear: new registrations grew by 27%. Of these new registrations, in 2019 61% were registered by companies or the self-employed. Almost 80% of the total .ie database now comprises these two types. IEDR has also previously noted that Brexit has played a small part in increasing registrations with an increase in registrations from Great Britain.

It’s interesting to note that in an era of increasing social media restrictions, new .ie registrations by individuals rose by 27% in 2019 as more people seek a private digital space that they fully control.

“The 2010s were a period of monumental growth for the .ie domain, powered by a combination of rapid technological and social change through the explosion of digital media and e-commerce and the proliferation of internet-enabled devices, and because of key strategic decisions taken by IE Domain Registry’s Policy Advisory Committee,” said IEDR’s Chief Executive David Curtin.

“The most fundamental of these was ‘liberalisation’, a rule change implemented in 2018 that dropped the requirement for applicants to prove their claim to a particular .ie domain name.  This made it easier and faster for people with a connection to Ireland to secure their .ie domain of choice and build a web presence for personal or commercial use.

“As Ireland becomes more globalised and the internet connects us to more international businesses and institutions, it’s essential that our communities can identify themselves online as familiar, local, and Irish through the trusted .ie brand.”

Other findings were:

  • On the island of Ireland, Fermanagh recorded the largest percentage increase in new .ie domain registrations in 2019 (+146%), albeit from a low base. Roscommon (+25.7%) followed.
  • Dublin and Cork both recorded decreases in the number of new .ie domains registered (-6.8% and -1.9% respectively) but also recorded the largest overall number of new .ie registrations (18,966 and 4,055).
  • 51% of .ie websites now have an SSL security certificate (+45% YoY). Google downgrades search results for websites without SSL certificates.
  • 422 .ie domains were put up for sale on the ‘secondary market’ in 2019, up from 291 in 2018 (+45% YoY). This indicates strong demand for the .ie brand.

For further information, visit IEDR’s .ie Domain Profile Report page where you can download the full report and factsheet.