Twelve months ago domain name registrations were on the decline, but at the end of the first quarter of 2022 it’s a different story. As of 31 March, there were 350.5 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains, an increase of 8.8 million, or 2.6%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2021 according to Verisign’s latest Domain Name Industry Brief. Over the 12 months to 31 March registrations increased by 13.2 million or 3.9%.
For .com, the never-ending increase continues with 161.3 million domain names at the end of the first quarter compared to 160.0 million at end of the fourth quarter 2021 and 154.6 million as of 31 March 2021. For .net it’s the same. 13.4 million domain name registrations as of 31 December and 31 March 2021. It was 13.4 million as of 31 March 2020 too.
New .com and .net registrations totalled 10.2 million at the end of the first quarter of 2022, compared to 11.6 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021.
The 10 largest top-level domains after .com were .cn (China – 20.6 million as of 31 March 2022 and 23.6 million as of 31 March 2021), .de (Germany – 17.2m and 16.8m), .net, .uk (United Kingdom – 11.1m and 11.9m), .org (10.6m and 10.0m), .nl (Netherlands – 6.2m and 5.9m), .ru (Russia – 5.7m and 5.7m), .br (Brazil – 4.9m and 4.1m) and the largest of the new gTLDs .xyz (4.0m). 12 months before the only new gTLD in the top 10 was .icu with 6.3 million registrations.
The above figures show increases for .com, .de, .org, .nl, .br while .cn and .uk declined and .net and .ru remained the same.
For country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) there was growth: above the quarterly increase, but below the annual average, of all TLDs. Total ccTLD registrations were 133.4 million at the end of the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 6.0 million, or 4.7%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. ccTLDs increased by 3.1 million domain name registrations, or 2.4%, year-over-year.
The top 10 ccTLDs as of 31 March were .cn, .de, .uk, .nl, .ru, .br, .fr (France – 3.9m and 3.4m), .eu (European Union – 3.7m and 3.6m), .au (Australia – 3.5m) and .it (Italy – 3.5m and 3.3m). In addition to the increases above, there were also increases for .fr, .eu, .au and .it ccTLDs.
As of 31 March there were 308 ccTLDs delegated in the root zone, including internationalised domain names, with the top 10 ccTLDs comprising 60.3% of all ccTLD registrations.
New generic top-level domains (gTLDs) had the largest increase out of any group for either quarter-on-quarter or year-on-year statistics. There were 26.3 million new gTLD domain names at the end of the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 1.6 million, or 6.6%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2021. For the 12 months to 31 March new gTLDs increased by 3.5 million, or 15.3%, year-on-year. The top 10 new gTLDs represented just over half (51.1%) of all new gTLD domain name registrations.
However new gTLDs suffered a crash in registrations two years ago, from a high of approximately 32.3 million at the end of the first quarter of 2020 to 22.8 million at the end of the first quarter of 2021. Over the last 12 months registrations amongst new gTLDs have been gradually increasing with an uptick in the past two quarters, growing 2.7% in the third and by 5.1% in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Verisign note the Domain Name Industry Brief excludes domain names in the free .tk, .cf, .ga, .gq and .ml ccTLDs operated by Freenom, due to unexplained changes in available estimates for the .tk zone size and lack of verification from the registry operator for these ccTLDs. Quarterly and year-over-year trends have been calculated relative to historical figures that have also been adjusted to exclude these five ccTLDs. This is the second DNIB the five Freenom ccTLDs have been excluded.