Domain History: The Most Popular Domains in the World

Back in the early days of the Internet, it was agreed that each country would be allocated its own space online, with a two-letter code indicating any given website’s location.

Since then, the Internet has enjoyed exponential growth and at the end of 2015, the ITU estimated that it had 3.2 billion global users. However, the international system of website recognition remains.

Thanks to services like domain registration with UK2, any individual or enterprise can showcase their location online. But have you ever wondered which countries lead the way in web registrations? Well, here is a look at the most popular domains in the world.


Consisting of three tropical coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, with a population of just 1,400 people, it is quite remarkable to see Tokelau (.tk) topping the charts as the world’s largest country-code domain.

In fact, it is almost as large as the second and third positions of China (.cn) and Germany (.de) combined with a whopping 31 million registrations. However, this anomaly can be explained.

Tokelau has a unique operating model where domains can be registered for free.
In order to make money, it charges for advertising, which generates one-sixth of Tokelau’s GDP according to some reports.But along with financial rewards, Tokelau has also benefited from quicker Internet connections made possible via satellite equipment on account of its online prominence.


Even though China is the second most popular domain in the world, this comes as no surprise for such a massive country with a population approaching 1.5 billion. However, the relationship between size, population and the number of domain registrations isn’t always so clear-cut.

A case in point is Europe, which dwarves other regions of the world when it comes to domain registrations. This is because Internet adoption rates here are much higher than other parts of the world, such as Africa and Southeast Asia, despite being smaller in terms of geographical size and population.

Take the UK for example, which is the 21st largest country in the world by population and the 78th by area. However, it sits at the top of the Internet adoption table, with four out of every five UK adults accessing the Internet on a daily basis. Every 20 seconds, a new. UK domain is registered, making it the world’s fourth largest country-code domain with 10.6 million in total.

North America

Another anomaly is the USA, which has around 1.7 million .us registrations.With high levels of Internet adoption, e-commerce, and online innovation, you would expect an untold amount of websites to be registered in the USA.

However, the vast majority of Americans and American business prefer to use .com, which is the world’s most common domain with a whopping 123 million registrations.

During the Internet’s formative years, American websites dominated and became associated with the .com domain. As a result, there isn’t much point in registering the more specific .us domain, as most people assume a .com address originates in America anyway.

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