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Global industry statistics

Total domain names
Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief Dec 2018
Active websites
Netcraft Webserver survey September 2018
Web servers
Netcraft Webserver survey September 2018

Top Level Domains by type

  • gTLDs - 169.7m
  • ccTLDs - 149.3m
  • nTLDs - 23.4m
Source: Verisign Domain Name Industry Brief

Domain name industry overview

The domain name and web presence services industry supplies the tools for businesses to get online including domain names, websites, shared hosting, email, security and protection services. The growth of the industry is driven primarily by the global adoption of the internet. As consumers get online, businesses’ need for their own websites, email, and ecommerce capabilities to communicate with and service customers increases. There are currently c.4 billion internet users worldwide*, with the focus now on the next generation of global internet users. This focus is reflected in Goal 9c of the new Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations, which is to “provide universal and affordable access to the internet in least developed countries by 2020”.

The domain name industry touches anyone that operates or visits a website. The domain name ecosystem comprises corporations, businesses, and individuals involved in the provision, support, and sale of domain names and related services.

There are three main categories of domain name:

  • Generic Top-Level Domain extensions (gTLDs) like .com and .net;
  • Country Code Top Level Domain extensions (ccTLDs) such as .la, .cx and .fm;
  • New generic Top Level Domain extensions (nTLDs) e.g. .XYZ and .online.


* Source: Global Digital Report 2018 compiled by We are social Ltd.

Addressable market

$22 -$30bn*

*William Blair Equity Research GoDaddy Inc.


Internet users

4 billion internet users worldwide*

*Internet World Stats

Domain names

333.8 million at 31 Mar 2018*

*Domain Name Industry Brief (DNIB) – Verisign Q1/2018

Africa internet growth

+20% in 2017

*Digital in 2018 Global Overview – Hootsuite

Domain name industry stakeholders

There are six main types of stakeholder in the domain industry:

Regulatory authority: ICANN is the organisation that has the responsibility of overseeing the enormous interconnected network of unique identifiers that allow computers on the Internet to find one another.

Registries: are entities with the responsibility for maintaining registry for each Top-Level Domain (TLD). The responsibilities of the registries include processing domain name registration requests from registrars, maintaining a domain name registration database, and  publishing zone file data (i.e., information about the location of a domain name).

Registry Platform Operators: are entities that provide robust technical platforms, infrastructure and services to enable Registries to perform their mandated tasks. Typical services include maintaining a registry platform that can accept and manage domain name registrations, providing an Extensible Provisioning Protocol (EPP) interface to which accredited registrars can connect,  provision of a User Interface through which Registrars can manage domain names, data back-up, abuse mitigation, registry policy services and compliance reporting.

Registrars: are businesses accredited by ICANN (the regulating authority) and certified by the registries to sell domain names. Most registrars also sell associated services such as web hosting and SSL certificates which are not regulated by ICANN.
Resellers: are affiliated with registrars and sell domain names and other services provided by the registrars. ICANN accredited registrars are responsible and accountable for domain name registrations sold by their resellers.

Registrants: are individuals, businesses, and other entities (such as charities and other not-for-profit bodies) that purchase the right  to use a domain name for a time (typically between 1 and 10 years). Registrants typically use the domain name to point to a website, hold the domain name in a portfolio for later use or sell the right to use the domain name to a third party.