The World in Domain Names 2017

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Above is a map displaying the online world, that is, each country’s size on the map represents the number of websites registered to each country code top-level domain (ccTLD). What is clear is there is a large concentration of internet activity in a small number of countries – as of June 2017 there were 302 global ccTLD, the top 10 (shown above) compose 64.8% of all ccTLD domain name registrations.

Two other things jump out from the map above:

First, why is Tokelau (.tk), a New Zealand territory in the south Pacific – a county with a population of 1,499 people – second in the world with 19.1 million domain name registrations? Tokelau has specialized in web hosting by allowing any individual or business to register any number of domain names free of charge with very minimal restrictions or oversight. These policies have lead .tk domains to have a bad reputation. According to a 2011 report by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, .tk domains were involved in ~21.5% of all phishing attacks in the second half of 2010 internet-wide.

Second, why is the .us ccTLD not among the world’s largest? The United States is such an internet world power that most of its the first websites were already registered and growing their brand on Generic top-level domains (gTLD) before ccTLD domains were developed and extended for country-specific use. Americans are more familiar with gTLDs such as: .com, .org, .net, .info, .gov, .edu, and .mil – and have been low to transfer to the ccTLD .us. To have a more accurate picture of the internet world map – as of 2017, across all gTLDs, there were 331.0 million registered domains and only considering .com, .net, .org, and .info (the top 4 gTLDs combined) there are 160.6 million registered domains. Compare that with .cn (China’s top domain) the second most used domain in the world with only 21.4 million. The graph below displays the top ten domains, both ccTLD and gTLD combined – the US has four of the top ten in the world (all gTLD).

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