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News 14 min read August 4, 2020

Lock, Stock And Cryptocurrency: Everything You Need To Know About Domain Zones

Serpstat research on domain zones based on our own Link Index data
popular domain zones

Stacy Mine
Editor at Serpstat
Do you know which domain zones are the most popular? Or why the domain zone of the small island country of Tokelau with an area of only 10 km2 has 20 million domains? And what does crypt have to do with German domains? Probably not, but you will soon find out;)
Typically, TLD (Top-Level Domain) research is done by domain name providers, but this article is different. With the help of our Link Index, we have searched the internet inside and out. And now, we are ready to provide you with a mass of interesting information!

About the research
To provide users with the most accurate backlink data, we have already done a lot this year: we completely updated the Backlink Analysis module, added new tools, increased the number of API methods, and, most importantly, launched our own Link Index! By the way, it is already catching up with competitors who have been on the market for years!

The number of links in the index has already reached 1.15 trillion, and the number of domains - 178 million. Every day the database is refreshed with 2.25 billion links and is completely updated within 60 days. This allows the data to be always fresh! I hope you had time to appreciate the quality of our changes. If not, then rather run to analyze links. After reading the article, of course;)

By the way, if you want to learn how to use all the features of our Backlink Analysis, leave a request, and our specialists will answer all your questions.
Now let's go back to the research. Recently, we noticed that domain zone researches are carried out mainly by hosting companies. But the topic is relevant, and we have all the necessary data. Therefore, we decided to do the first such research with our link index!

We collected the most relevant data on domain zones, as well as several unusual facts. Does it sound interesting? Then let's go!

What are top-level domains
Before discussing top-level domains, let's look at the domain name as a whole and its structure to understand why this is the "top" level.

The first thing that a site visitor sees is the address. Therefore, each resource owner wants the domain name to be understandable, concise, and memorable. However, in reality, it is rather challenging to find a beautiful domain name today, since most of these addresses are already taken.

An interesting fact: the domain name should be read not from left to right, but from right to left.

Now let's talk about domain structure:
a zero-level domain or root domain (denoted by a dot (.) at the top level);
first-level domain;
second-level domain (center);
third-level domain or subdomain (at the beginning).
Example: eu.wikipedia.org., where:
. — root domain;
eu — subdomain;
wikipedia — SLD, second-level domain;
.org — TLD, top-level domain.
A top-level domain (TLD) is a part of a domain name that appears to the right of the last dot. For example, in the domain name serpstat.com, .com is the top-level domain.

Types of top-level domains
National (ccTLD, country-code top-level domain) are domain zones designed for specific countries. Each country must have its own code according to the ISO code: .us, .ca, .uk, etc. However, there are some interesting points here.

For example, .tk (belongs to the country of Tokelau) ranks in the top 1 among ccTLDs and the top 2 among all TLDs in terms of the number of registered domain names (almost 20 million). Look at the data on Tokelau on Wikipedia:
The area is 10 km2 and has a 1.5K population. Where does 20 million come from? Here's the answer: this domain zone was created to increase the perception of Tokelau in the world, and domain names there are distributed either free of charge or for a minimal fee. Therefore, "site builders" came running there to find resources at a lower price.

The same fate befell the zones of other countries, where there is more than one address per capita. Among them .ga (Gabon), .cf (CAR) and others. It is better to avoid such cheap domain zones since domains from them are actively used for doorways.

While some TLDs are popular within their own country or with freebies, others are marketed for other purposes. Here are some notable examples:
TLD .de, owned by Germany, began to be used in the meaning of .decentralization with the rise in popularity of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
TLD .me, owned by Montenegro, is used for personal sites, as its spelling matches the English pronoun "me."
TLD .co, owned by Colombia, is often used to refer to a commercial organization instead of .com. By the way, the e.co domain was sold at an auction in 2010 for $ 81,000. Twitter also uses this domain for shortening links - t.co.
Geographic (geoTLD, geographic top-level domain) are domain zones belonging to a region, city, continent, province, etc. For example, .london, .berlin, .amsterdam. They differ from ccTLDs, which are two characters long and can include three or more. They are considered generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

International (gTLD, generic top-level domain) are domain zones created to divide the addresses of a certain type of organization or community. These domains are available to everyone. These include: .com, .net, .org, .info and others.

New international (new gTLDs) are a new generation of generic TLDs that allow personalization of a resource. In 2012, ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) opened a call for applications for those who wanted to create their own TLD. Although the application cost was $ 185,000, the corporation received more than 2,000 applications. There are many new gTLDs registered today. These include: .app, .photography, .today, and similar domains.

Sponsored (sTLD, sponsored top-level domains) is a domain zone sponsored by a specific community. The participating communities are based on ethnic, geographic, professional, technical, or other thematic concepts. Sponsors establish and enforce rules restricting owners' right to register in this zone.

For example, the .post domain for mail services is sponsored by the Universal Postal Union, and ICM Registry sponsors the .xxx domain for 18+ sites.

Most popular domain zones
Now let's check the infographics. We have collected a bunch of interesting data about domain zones, so let's take a look.

Top 10 largest TLDs
The winner of our top domain zones is, of course, the TLD .com.

In the second place, we see the already familiar .tk zone, which is popular among creators of black-hat sites.

Third place is .cn. This is a China ccTLD. It is forbidden to register domains in the .cn TLD zone that can be used for actions contrary to the PRC Constitution's principles. But that did not stop .cn from becoming the record holder for the number of registered domain names in 2008.
Топ-10 крупнейших TLD

Top-100 gTLDs (generic Top-Level Domain) by the number of domains
Among common TLDs, the top seems pretty predictable. In the top 3 are .com, .net, .org.

However, we also see new generation domains (new gTLDs). For example, .xyz is in the sixth position. This is still a "fresh" TLD with a rather fascinating history. ICANN proposed it under the "new gTLD" program, which I already wrote about above. In 2016 .xyz took the sixth position among all TLDs in terms of the number of registrations. Fun fact: in the TV series Silicon Valley, hooli.xyz uses this domain.

Top-100 ccTLD (country-code Top-Level Domain) by the number of domains
Top-3 consists of:
.tk Tokelau
.cn China
.de Germany
You can see that we even had to allocate additional space on the map for Tokelau :)

The size of a country on the map does not correspond to its area, but to the number of domains.
Топ-10 крупнейших TLD

Top-50 geoTLD (geographic Top-Level Domain) by the number of domains
Among the geographic TLDs, the top 3 are:
.tokyo
.bar
.london
With Tokyo and London, everything is clear, but why is .bar so popular?

The city of Bar in Montenegro initially owned this TLD. However, it was also launched in 2014 as a part of ICANN's new gTLD program and became the domain for bars, pubs, and nightclubs, including bar and restaurant guides, critics, delivery services, and more.

However, some organizations and companies in Bar use the .bar domain instead of the national .me domain.

Interesting facts about the .com TLD zone
What interesting data can be collected about domain zones? But we managed to find something :)

The number of domains of different lengths in the .com TLD zone
As I wrote above, today it isn't easy to find a beautiful and short domain name. For example, in the .com zone, all two-digit and three-digit domain names are already taken. In the graph below, we see a small number of such names, but this is only because the two- and three-letter combinations are extremely limited.

As the number of symbols increases, the number of domains rises dramatically. And the most popular are domain names
from 8-14 characters.

There is also an interesting jump on the chart in the 32-symbol area. What do you think about it? Write your versions in the comments.
Топ-10 крупнейших TLD

Top 20 sites with the longest domain name in the .com TLD zone
Domain name size is limited. This is due to both administrative and technical reasons (since it may simply not fit into the search bar). Domains are often limited to 63 characters, but some countries allow up to 127 characters.

By the way, the creators of the domain that is 63 characters long (theabsolutelongestwebdomainnameinthewholegoddamnfuckinguniverse.com) even went to the Guinness Book of Records to register the world's longest domain. However, they were told that this is not a record at all, since to create a longer domain, you just need to add one more character :) Therefore, at present, the Guinness Book of Records prohibits the registration of the longest domain name in the world.

And there were more long domain names than the creators thought. And these are only those resources that we have collected and which are actually working.
Топ-10 крупнейших TLD

Conclusion
That's all! I tried to collect as many strange and useful facts as possible. I hope you will find something interesting :)

By the way, write your suggestions for new research in the comments under the article! And don't forget to test our link index.

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