The number of domain registrations out there is actually amazing – and the number can shift as domains are dropped while new ones are bought. Hundreds of millions of domain names exist online, with the potential for even more to come into existence into the future.
While the web is a constantly evolving place, a little bit of research can give at least general ideas as to just how huge the domain market is. We’re going to take a look at domains, domain TLDs, and the domain market as a whole.
Let’s get started!
How Many Domains Are There?
This is a bit of a tricky question because new domains can be created everyday, and there are billions of letter and number combinations that could create even more. Among “claimed” domain names, those that are purchased and owned through a registar, there are an estimated 367 million domain names registered as of 2021.
The numbers can vary depending on the source with a few having the number just short of 370 million, and numbers from 2017 indicating 359 million, and Wikipedia pegs the number at 294 million registered by the first quarter of 2015.
This shows the growth isn’t slowing, it’s just continuing to grow.
There are solidly over 365 million domain names registered no matter which reliable source for late 2020 or early 2021 is being used.
How Many Domain Extensions are There?
There are 1,589 registered top-level domain (TLD) domains or Generic top-level domains (gTLD). While that’s a high number, only a relatively small number of TLDs are widely popular.
Even then, the numbers can be a touch misleading for several reasons, such as:
- Many of the most popular TLDs are country-based
- Many of the most used old TLDs are no longer popular, but had a 15 year head start in availability and therefore still have many domains purchased
- Some country-based TLDs are popular because of their initials and not because of the nation itself (see .co and .ai as examples)
A small number of the most popular domain extensions account for an overwhelming percentage of the domain names out there.
The most popular non-country based TLDs by pure numbers are:
- .com (still accounts for over half of all TLDs worldwide)
This doesn’t tell the full story as there are many domain TLDs that are popular now but not on the top list, while .net and .org have long been losing market share, and .info is considered untouchable by many new website builders.
As a counter-example, the most popular TLDs for venture capital backed startups are:
Other than .com, .org, and .net when it comes to the total number of registered domains out there, the rest are all country based.
While there are 1,589 top level TLDs, a relatively small number of those cover the majority of domain names out there.
How Many .com and .net Domains Are There?
This is a bit harder to measure since many studies focus on active domains (those with websites built on them) versus just purchased domains.
According to this 2021 study, there are:
- Over 157 million .com domain name registrations
- Over 13.6 million .net domain name registrations
- Over 10.4 million .org name registrations
In 2021 alone there were over 57 million .com domain names registered, which shows .com not only remains strong but it is actually growing in market share despite already being the most popular TLD by far!
How Many ccTLDs Are There?
There are 1,589 registered top-level domain (TLD) domains or Generic top-level domains (gTLD). While that’s a high
When it comes to TLDs that are specifically tied to a country, there are 308 delegated ccTLDs. The rules for acquiring these can vary greatly. Many require citizenship in the nation or partnerships with a business that is based out of that country.
Others like the popular .ai and .co are open registration and used as a source of income for the host country, giving them a vested interest in allowing as many purchases of domain names as possible.
The most popular ccTLDs are:
- .co (Columbia)
- .ai (Antigua)
- .in (India)
- .ru (Russia)
- .ir (Ireland)
- .au (Australia)
- .ua (Ukraine)
- .de (Germany)
- .ca (Canada)
- .uk (United Kingdom)
- .jp (Japan)
- .fr (France)
There is no shortage of options when it comes to finding domain names, and there are only going to be more TLDs created in the future. While it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices, there are a few main takeaways to remember:
- There’s no real competition to .com being the most popular TLD with over 50% of all domains
- Many of the most popular TLDs are nation-based
- Some “open” country-based TLDs like .co, .io, .ai, and .me are among the most popular options after .com
- While .net, .org, and .info are still among the most popular in the world by number they are trending downwards
Keep these facts in mind and you will have a firm handle on the current state of domain TLDs now and in the near future.