2016 closed with global domain name registrations reaching 329.3 million according to the latest Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief, growing by approximately 2.3 million registrations, or 0.7% over the third quarter of 2016. Registrations grew by 21.0 million, or 6.8%, year over year. The most notable changes over the last 12 months were China’s ccTLD adding over 4 million registrations to become the largest ccTLD again, while .tk and .net shed over 7 million and 500,000 registrations respectively.
Total country code top level domain (ccTLD) domain name registrations were approximately 142.7 million, a 1.8% increase over the third quarter of 2016, and a 3.1% (4.3 million) increase year over year.
Without including .tk which has dropped from 26 million to 18.7 million in the 12 months to the end of 2016, ccTLD domain name registrations increased approximately 2.1 million in the quarter, a 1.7% increase compared to the third quarter of 2016 and ccTLDs increased by approximately 8.0 million domain name registrations, or 6.9%, year over year.
It means China’s ccTLD has now overtaken the free registration model of .tk to become the largest ccTLD and second largest TLD overall, again, positions it last held back in 2009 when it had over 14 million registrations. In the last 12 months .cn has grown by 4.24 million registrations.
At the end of 2016, .com was the largest TLD with 126.9 million registrations, followed by .cn with 21.1 million, .tk (18.7 million), .de (16.1m) and .net (15.3m). The largest of the new gTLDs remains .xyz which had 6.0 million registrations.
The top 10 ccTLDs, as of 31 December were .cn (China), .tk (Tokelau), .de (Germany), .uk (United Kingdom), .ru (Russian Federation), .nl (Netherlands), .br (Brazil), .eu (European Union), .au (Australia) and .it (Italy).
There were 293 global ccTLD extensions delegated in the root, including Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs), with the top 10 ccTLDs composing 64.7 percent of all ccTLD domain name registrations.
For .com and .net, both operated by Verisign, .com grew from 124 million registrations at the end of 2015 and 115.6 at the end of 2014. However for .net it’s a different story and it has suffered since the introduction of new gTLDs. In 2016 .net bled half million registrations from the 15.8 million one year ago but is still above the 15 million at the end of 2014.
New .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 8.8 million during the fourth quarter of 2016. In the fourth quarter of 2015, new .com and .net domain name registrations totalled 12.2 million.
New generic Top Level Domains (new gTLDs) totalled 25.6 million domain name registrations, which represents 7.8% of total domain name registrations. The top 10 new gTLDs represented 63.% of all new gTLD registrations.
Verisign’s average daily Domain Name System (DNS) query load during the fourth quarter of 2016 was 143 billion across all TLDs operated by Verisign, with a peak of 398 billion. Quarter over quarter, the daily average increased 11.4 percent and the peak increased by 122.5 percent. Year over year, the daily average query load increased by 16.0 percent and the peak increased 105.1 percent.