April 2020 saw record numbers of .uk domain name registrations as world went online.

Online World Map

Nominet, the company that oversees the .uk domain registry, has published an updated map of the Online World, re-drawn to reflect the relative size of the national registries.

The figures reflect an increase of five per cent or more in Domains under Management (DUM) for 109 Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs). This will in large part be due to businesses around the world moving online in response to lockdown restrictions; last year saw an increase in domain names that included words such as ‘delivery’ and ‘online’.

The pandemic meant many businesses needed to place a greater reliance on the digital economy and online platforms to survive and thrive – in the UK alone, more than 85,000 businesses launched online stores or joined online marketplaces from April-July 2020, according to research from Growth Intelligence.

Looking beyond the UK, of all the domain names on the internet, globally ccTLDs account for 33%. The other 67% is gTLDs, of which 47% are domain names ending in .com. This helps to explain why America is an anomaly on the map, with registrations for its official .us domain remaining low, reflecting the preference of most Americans and American businesses for the generic .com.

Elsewhere in the world, Tokelau retains the top spot with the most country code Top Level Domains globally, at 24,698,672 for .tk. This is particularly notable given Tokelau’s small geographical size and its population of 11,646. The next top four ccTLDs are also unchanged on last year, going to China, Germany, UK and the Netherlands.

The impact of these global rankings is not to be underestimated – in 2000, Tuvalu used proceeds from .tv registrations to afford the UN’s $100,000 joining fee. Since 2001 the Pacific nation has received around $2–3 million annually in exchange for the rights to .tv.

The domain world continued to grow and expand into new territories in 2020, with a new ccTLD also emerging. South Sudan launched .ss, which had been assigned to the country in January 2019.

Eleanor Bradley, MD of Nominet Registry, says: “We know the world is not an equal place and, with some noticeable exceptions, this map visually underlines the gap between more mature digital economies and those where the growth is yet to come.

Figures overall also show the impact of lockdown on established country codes, like .UK, which saw a spike in registrations as businesses without a strong digital presence saw the urgent need to focus online.”