As the number of people around the world getting internet access continues to grow, so too is the demand for internet domain names.
According to VeriSign's second-quarter 2016 Domain Name Industry Brief (DNIB), there were 334.6 million domain names across all top-level domain (TLDs) as of June 30, 2016. On a year-over-year basis, that translates into 38.2 million new domains, for a 12.9 percent annual growth rate.
By volume, the dot com TLD remains the top domain in the world, with 127.5 million domain name registrations. The second most popular domain in the world once again was reported to be .tk, which is the Country Code TLD (TLD) for the tiny island nation of Tokelau. The .tk TLD is operated by freenom, which aims to make money from expired domains and other services. Dot tk is popular as it is freely available namespace that anyone can register without cost.
VeriSign operates both the dot com TLD as well as dot net, which had 15.8 million total domains registered. VeriSign doesn't specifically break out the individual growth rates for dot com and dot net, but it does provide a combined rate for the two TLDs. The combined dot com and dot net domain had 143.2 million domain names, which is a 7.3 percent year-over-year increase.
The total number of domains is made up of both existing domains getting renewed as well as new name registrations. For the combined dot com and dot net registries, 8.6 million new names were registered in the second quarter, down marginally from the 8.7 million reported in the second quarter of 2015.
VeriSign has managed the dot-com registry since 2000, when it acquired Network Solutions in a deal valued at $21 billion.VeriSign still manages dot com today, under a deal with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that was last renewed in 2012.
A small but growing part of the overall domain landscape are the so-called New Generic TLDs (ngTLDs) These include new domains such as dot xyz, dot site, dot win and dot other. According to VeriSign, there were a total of 22 million ngTLD domain registrations by the end of the second quarter, which represents 6.6 percent of all domains registered. The top ngTLD by volume of domain registrations is currently dot xyz.
VeriSign also helps to manage root DNS services for the internet, which is another area of growing volume. The average daily DNS query load reported by VeriSign during the second quarter was 130 billion queries per day, for a 17 percent gain over the second quarter of 2015.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist