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101 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know About Domain Names

We can trace back domain facts to the early 80s, but technology has changed a lot since then. Domains may sound very technical, but it’s worth trying to understand the basics if you have an online presence. 

It’s not just about picking the right name.

Read on to find out what you should know about domains.

Fascinating Domain Facts

  • In 1983, Paul Mockapetris invented the domain name system.
  • On February 19th 1987, Apple registered the apple.com domain.
  • Having multiple domain names for the same website shouldn’t affect your online ranking.
  • The most popular au extension is .com.au, making up 83% of all au domains
  • Google has one of the shortest domain names for Chinese users — g.cn.
  • 363.5 million domains were registered in the first quarter of 2021.
  • Carinsurance.com, the most expensive domain name, sold for $49.7 million.
  • The shortest domain names consist of only one letter, like PayPal that owns X.com.

Did you know that the idea of the online addressing system was invented back in 1985? 32 years ago, a computer systems company from Cambridge was the first ever to register a domain. Ever since, the domain name has been a crucial part in the website’s branding and SEO. Choosing the right domain name can get some additional benefits for your business and make your website more appealing to new visitors. Currently, there are more than 330.6 million registered domain names and the number is increasing exponentially.

This Website Builder infographic illustrates some interesting facts about domain names and their importance in your online presence.

101 Domain Facts Final

Special thanks to Cambs.eu for their insights.

Anatomy of a Domain Name

Let’s break things down so you can understand what is in a domain name. We’ll use http://www.google.com as an example:

http:// — protocol (HyperTextTransfers): It’s what lets a device browse the internet by retrieving information from a remote server.

www. —  Subdomain (World Wide Web): It tells the browser what type of page will be displayed. 

Google — Domain name: This is the unique website name that owners register for. 

.com —  Top Level Domain (TLD): It specifies what entity the site registers as. 

Generally, when looking at domain information, TLD falls into two categories:

  • Generic top-level domain (gTLD) — The last three characters of a domain name show the site category. For example, .com, .gov, and .net. 
  • Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) — Two characters at the end that represent an area, like .uk, .au, or .br.

gTLDs can be subdivided into two types.:

  • Sponsored TLDs (sTLDs)— These domains represent either private agencies or organizations, like, .post, .edu, or .museum. 
  • Unsponsored TLDs (uTLDs) — These domains don’t represent any sector or industry. 

Fun Facts: Did you know that domains were free until 1995? Also, Apple.com was the 64th domain registered on the internet. 

Domain Facts — History

Let’s take a look at the past to understand more about where we stand today.

1. In 1983, Paul Mockapetris Invented the Domain Name System.

(Source: InterNetX)

  • 1985: Symolics.com was the first registered internet domain.
  • 1997: The CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Centre) started. 
  • 1998: The domain name system was privatized, and ICANN, a body that manages the global DNS, was founded. 
  • 1999: Until 1999, Network Solutions sold .com .net and .org domains.
  • 2003: The Truth in Domain Names Act (TDNA) was submitted to stop misleading domain name usage.

A lot went down in the 80s when it comes to domain facts, so it deserves a bit of extra attention. 

2. Northrop Corporation Registered Its Domain on November 7th 1985.

(Source: Wikipedia)

  • On January 9th 1986, Xerox came in with Xerox.com.
  • On March 3rd, Hewlett Packard registered HP.com.
  • On March 19th, IBM took IBM.com.
  • On March 25th, Sun Microsystems registered sun.com and Intel — intel.com.

Do you see the importance of a domain name for an organization? Imagine having a domain that has nothing to do with your name or brand. Your customers would have a hard time remembering it or associating it with your company.

3. On March 25th 1986, Texas Instruments Registered ti.com.

(Source: Wikipedia)

  • Also, a month later, AT&T took att.com.
  • On September 2nd Boeing registered boeing.com.
  • A few weeks later, Siemens AG got Siemens.com.
  • On November 17th, Adobe Systems registered Adobe.com, and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) acquired amd.com.

Now, onto some of the most famous and interesting domain names.

4. On February 19th, 1987, Apple Computer Registered apple.com.

(Source: Wikipedia)

  • On April 4th, Phillips registered Phillips.com.
  • On May 14th, Cisco systems took Cisco.com.
  • On July 27th, Lockheed Corporation registered the Lockheed.com domain.

But what happened in recent years? 

5. In 2005, the US Established Principles on the Internet DNS To Ensure Security and Stability.

(Source: NTIA)

Fun Fact: Back in April 2012, Mike Mann registered 14,962 domains in 24 hours. 

Domain Life Cycle

Let’s learn more about the various domain states. 

Available: When a domain name is available, it’s up for grabs by any organization or person.

Active: That’s when the domain is active online. You can register common domains for a minimum of a year and a maximum of ten. Also, you can renew the domain at any point but not past the ten years. 

Expired: If a domain isn’t renewed in the allotted time, it expires. So it won’t work, along with its extensions. The domain remains expired for 45 days, and the owner can renew it after. If it goes past that time, the registrar puts it back into the active stage.

Redemption/Grace period: Domain facts show that if you don’t renew the domain in 45 days, it falls into a redemption period. Depending on the registrar, the name can be kept for up to 30 days but incur late fees. 

Pending detention: If the domain expires, you can’t get the name back. It sits in a pending phase for around five days to remove all records.

So, what do you need to know before getting a domain name?

Important Facts To Consider When Purchasing a Domain Name

Buying a domain is an essential part of your website launch checklist, but what’s the effect on SEO?

6. Having Multiple Domain Names for the Same Website Shouldn’t Affect Your Online Ranking. 

(Source: business.com)

  • It’s best to avoid hyphens and numbers in domain names. 
  • Ensure that you’re not registering a domain name that already has a trademark. Consider using website builders as they simplify domain purchases. 
  • Does it still pay off to use a domain name with a keyword after the 2012 EDM (Exact Match Domain) update? It does, but only if you manage to build a brand around that EMD.

That’s not all.

7. The Shorter Your Domain, the Better.

(Source: business.com)

  • The domain name age won’t affect SEO at all.
  • Register for whois domain privacy, especially for top-level sites like .com, .net, .org, and local sites like .co.uk.

But let’s see how things are looking in Australia. 

Domain Name Statistics Australia

Australia has a pretty massive online presence, so what can that show us? 

8. .com.au Is the Most Popular Extension, Making Up 83% of All au Domains. 

(Source: Domain Name Registrar)

  • In March 2019, 45,423 .au domains were registered. That’s a 4.7% increase from 2018. 
  • Domain name statistics in Australia show over 2.6 million domains contained .com.au in 2019, a 2% increase from 2018.
  • .net.au comes in next, with over 300,000 and an 8.5% increase over 2018.
  • .org.au has over 65,000 domains, a 2.3% increase from 2018. 

Australian-registered domains are intended for different entities. 

9. .com.au Is for Australian Businesses and Incorporated Bodies.

 (Source: The State of Queensland)

  • Commercial entities like businesses registered with state governments use net.au domains.
  • You’ll recognize charities and NPOs by their .org.au domains. 
  • Asn.au is for non-commercial entities like political parties. 

Since there are so many .au sites, we now have Sydney domains — .SYDNEY.

Interesting Domain Names

Some of the biggest brands have the shortest domain names. 

10. Google Has One of the Shortest Domain Names for Chinese Users — g.cn. 

(Source: Gawker)

  • Nissan owns Z.com, PayPal owns X.com, and A.co is Amazon’s official URL shortcut. 
  • M.me is the Facebook Messenger shortcut, and T.co is for Twitter. 
  • Lastly, W.org redirects to WordPress, and G.co is Google’s official URL shortcut

Fun Fact: Most domain name characters don’t go over 63.

Domain Stats

Let’s have a look at more general information about domains.

11. 363.5 Million Domains Were Registered in the First Quarter of 2021.

(Source: VeriSign)

  • It’s around a 0.8% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Domain name registrations have decreased 0.6% year over year. 
  • Still, .com and .net had over 168 million domain registrations at the end of the first quarter in 2021. That’s a 2.8 million increase from the last months of 2020. 
  • .com and .net are the most popular, growing around 4.6% year over year. 

Another interesting aspect of domain facts is the latest TLDs sources. Here are the top ten for the second quarter of 2021.

12. The Most Popular TLD was tk (Tokelau), With 24.7 Million.

(Source: VeriSign)

  • .cn (China) came in next, with 20.7 million.
  • .de (Germany) followed with 16.8 million.
  • .uk (United Kingdom) had 11 million.
  • Lastly, .nl TLDs were 6.2 million.

That takes us halfway, but what comes next?

13. .ru (Russia) Was Sixth Most Popular, With 5.7 Million.

(Source: VeriSign)

  • Coming in seventh is .br (Brazil), with 4.6 million.
  • Then, .fr (France) — 3.8 million.
  • Also, .eu (European Union) had 3.7 million.
  • Lastly, .it (Italy) had 3.4 million.

Now, let’s check the keyword trends.

Domain Information — Top Keywords

Looking into the history of keywords can help us establish trends and predict what comes next. According to VeriSign, these were the top keywords between June–August 2019.

June 2019

.com.net
LibraLibra
SnafuCasino
PsychedelicBet
CurrencyLong
CeramicAsera
EmployerClinic
PotteryPoker
ImpactBoat
RegenerativeLondon
ManualDust

July 2019

.com.net
textinsurance
glasseswedding
remotecanna
indexvirtual
yearrage
termmass
feefalls
papersguru
jumbohard
braceslawyer

August 2019

.com.net
jumborepair
diabetestaylorswift
dorianloan
claimspiedmont
airbnbdorian
hurricaneempower
halloweensmall
volumeoutlet
bulletfinder
tahoehills

Fun Fact: Do you know about the time Google.com almost slipped away from the company? In October 2015, researcher and ex-Googler Sanmay Ved made headlines when he managed to buy the Google.com domain for one minute. The cost to buy the most-trafficked domain in the world was only $12.

Domain Facts on Top Registrars

Here are the latest primary registrars:

14. Top Domain Registrars as of August 2020

(Source: DomainState)

  • GoDaddy — 61,587,392 domains. They all come from the website builder that makes it easy to choose a domain name. 
  • Tucows — 9,987,230.
  • NameCheap — 9,304,928.
  • Network Solutions — 6,743,606.
  • HiChina — 6,690,633.
  • eNom — 4,901,482.
  • GoogleInc — 4,822,206.
  • 1 & 1 INTERNET — 4,678,599
  • PublicDomainRegistry — 4,460,257.
  • GMO Internet  — 3,920,862.

If we look at long website names, a village in Whales holds the record with http://www.llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch.com/

15. Top Registrars by Country

(Source: DomainState)

  • United States — 121,258,163.
  • China — 18,843,990.
  • Canada — 11,495,126.
  • Germany — 11,327,200.
  • India — 4,979,815.
  • Japan — 4,746,087.
  • France — 3,791,409.
  • United Kingdom — 2,958,626.
  • Australia — 1,623,101.
  • Spain — 1,468,332.

Fun Domain Facts: Did you know that <ctrl+Enter> automatically adds .com to whatever you type in the browser?

ccLTDs Used for Commercial Purposes

Let’s have a look at the ccLTDs usage.

  • Instant messaging programs and services often use .im (the Isle of Man).  
  • .co (Columbia) is marketed as a commercial, corporation, or company.
  • .dj (Djibouti) is used for CD merchants and disk Jockeys (DJs).
  • .™ (Turkmenistan) can be used as a trademark.
  • TV (Tuvalu) is for the television/entertainment industry. 
  • .vg (British Virgin Islands) is sometimes used to abbreviate video games. 
  • .ws (Samoa, earlier Western Samoa) is marketed as .website.
  • .io (British Indian Ocean Territory) is commonly used by tech companies. 

But what can you expect to pay for a domain?

Are Fun Domain Names Expensive?

Let’s see the top ten most expensive domain names: 

16. CarInsurance.com, the Most Expensive Domain Name, Sold for $49.7 Million.

(Source: GoDaddy)

  • Next, we have Insurance.com for $35.6 million.
  • VacationRentals.com is third — $35 Million.
  • Next up, PrivateJet.com for $30.18 million.
  • Voice.com sold for over $30 million.

That’s not all.

17. Internet.com Sold for $18 Million.

(Source: GoDaddy)

  • 360.com came in at $17 million.
  • Insure.com sold for $16 million.
  • Fund.com followed with $9.99 million.
  • Lastly, Sex.com sold for $14 million.

That’s a serious amount of money for domain names.

Wrap Up

Domain facts have increased dramatically since the 1990s. As of 2020, there are over 360 million registered domains

Finding the right website name is vital for any business, as it should correspond to your name and brand. While it might seem like a small thing, remember that’s how customers will find you online. 

So, domains play a critical role in website branding. 

FAQ

What are domains?

The simplest way to explain a domain name is that it’s the website’s name. It helps users to identify companies online. Along with that comes DNS  — a system that provides a way for names on the internet to be mapped along with the address you’re looking for. 

What is the highest price ever paid for a domain name?

The domain CarInsurance.com cost an astounding $49.7 million. The next one on the list is Insurance.com, for $35.6 million. Also, VacationRentals.com sold for a whopping $35 million. Then, there’s a bit of a jump to PrivateJet.com, priced at just over $30 million.

What was the first domain name ever registered?

The very first domain name ever registered was Symbolics.com, on March 15th 1985. Unsurprisingly, it’s a computer system company. The second name was BBN.com, registered on April 24th, 1985, to BBN Technologies. Think.com followed on May 24th 1985.

How many domains are there on the internet?

In 2020, there were over 366 million domain registrations. The number increases by around 15 million every year. .com and .net are the most popular, taking up 160.7 million of them. Domain facts show that in 2020 those two got over 10 million registration alone.

  1. business.com
  2. Domain Name Registrar
  3. The State of Queensland
  4. Gawker
  5. VeriSign
  6. Verisign
  7. Verisign
  8. Verisign
  9. DomainState.com
  10. DomainState.com
  11. GoDaddy
  12. NTIA
  13. InterNetX
  14. Wikipedia

About the author

Emma Miles

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