SWITCH Develops Top 1,000 .CH Domain Names List

The Swiss registry, SWITCH, has developed a means of counting the top 1,000 .ch domain names, which is based on a count of the unique IP addresses that query a certain domain.

SWITCH began publishing the top 1,000 list in July 2018 “to support open data in Switzerland and [to know] how exactly domain names are being used in order to keep the .ch zone secure.”

The SWITCH Top 1,000 list will differ from other sources such as the Top Alexa ranking however their “DNS based ranking will give a differing view on the .ch zone since not only the www usage is represented but all services that make use of DNS.”

SWITCH explains that their “idea is based on a tool developed by Alexander Mayrhofer from nic.at called DNS-Magnitude.” The first thought SWITCH had was to count “the number of queries for each domain name and then taking the 1000 domain names with the most queries. However, considering the TTL of a record, a domain name with low TTL might be less important as its ranking suggests since it would be queried over and over again due to the rapidly expiring TTL.”

So SWITCH decided they needed a metric that ignores the TTL. Their solution was “to count the unique IP addresses that query a certain domain. This way the number of times a single source queries a domain name has no influence on its ranking. Additionally, to limit the influence of daily fluctuations the numbers are measured over a month’s period.” The results will be published monthly on the SWITCH website.

By publishing the list of top 1,000 domain names SWITCH is hoping to contribute to the idea of open data. There will be questions raised, such as why some domain names are ranked so high, which will result in further analysis. SWITCH also hopes to see others make use of this ranking and publicly share their insights in order to broaden their understanding of the .ch landscape.

In June the top 10 domain names were:

No. Domain name #Resolvers
1 switch.ch 792958
2 comlaude.ch 616416
3 infomaniak.ch 552760
4 google.ch 529846
5 noris.ch 529012
6 finarea.ch 509463
7 bluewin.ch 446086
8 hostpoint.ch 409424
9 honcode.ch 403767
10 cern.ch 398087

To read the blog post in full on the SWITCH Security blog, go to: