Signs of Triviality

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TLD Domain Count Stats

August 10th, 2023

On May 3rd, 2023, Google opened up the .mov and .zip TLDs for public registration. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. But what interested me more than the predictable names themselves was the rate of new registration (about 20K in the first month for .zip vs around 3.5K for .mov), which then got me thinking about domain name registration numbers across all TLDS.

You can find a number of commercial services selling domain name statistics, but many of them provide incorrect, inflated, limited, or outdated data, often derived from passive DNS traffic analysis.1 Based on the zone file access I already had from various previous DNS-related analyses, I figured I could just compile those numbers myself -- at least for the generic TLDs. I then went onto a bit of a treasure hunt for ccTLD statistics, which remains infuriatingly unregulated, inconsistent, and tedious. Poking around the various registries and registrars, attempting a bunch of AXFRs, and NSEC walking a few other zones, I was able to compile a fair number of links to zone files or statistics published by the different ccTLD operators.

I then glued together a bit of shell code to periodically collect the count of domains per TLD, jammed the output into ChartJS (look, Ma, I'm a frontend dev now!) and got myself some stats:

These percentages aren't quite accurate, since I don't have stats for all TLDs, but as of early August 2023, I do cover over 86% of all TLDs. For each of those, I also have individual charts that track their growth over time, for example for .com:

Or for the aforementioned .zip:

You can find links to the graphs for all of the TLDs for which I could find data here; there's also a page with all TLDs sorted by domain count. The scripts as well as the individual data and HTML files are also pushed to this GitHub repository.

While similar sites exist, I always find it useful to crunch the numbers myself (and retain full access to all data). If you know of other TLDs that provide zone files or domain counts, please let me know, and I'll be happy to add them.

August 10th, 2023

1) For example, as of 2023-08-09, "Domain Name Stat" lists over 250 million names under .com, while Verisign lists around 161 million; parsing the zone file, I get roughly 165 million domains. (Even accounting for daily fluctuations, I find 4 million to be a surprisingly large difference.)


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