Which top-level domains are really popular? – Domain name thread

New analysis shows you need to dig deep to remove noise in new TLD stats.

New top-level domain rankings are unwanted. All it takes to get into the rankings that measure the total number of domains in the zone is to sell your domains at a low price.

Some companies have dug into actual usage, but that’s a fuzzy metric with different definitions. However, a new analysis by Dataprovider.com takes the most in-depth look I’ve seen at the actual use of TLDs.

The company compared zone file size to usage, starting with domains with one website, then with websites excluding placeholders. I’ve seen metrics like this before, and I don’t think they tell us much about usage. Even when you exclude placeholders, the data doesn’t relate to what most of us would consider a “real” website, that is, a person or business establishing an online presence.

So Dataprovider.com went further. It measured traffic to domains with the 20 largest zone files to see which domains are actually receiving traffic. This is a scale (not raw numbers), but it gets us closer to the actual usage percentages in each TLD:

Measured by domains with moderate or high traffic, .dev, .club, and .tech are the most popular top-level domains among higher volume domains.

Of course, traffic is a pretty broad term. Domains configured for spam campaigns generate a lot of traffic. And many real websites get little traffic. But I think it brings us closer to actual use. It makes sense that Google domains, which offer modest prices and require SSL certificates to work, are near the top (dev and app). And domains that were sold for pennies are near the bottom.

Keep in mind that these are percentages. .Dev has 319,000 domains compared to 688,000 for .club. This analysis therefore suggests that there are more traffic sites on .club than on .dev.

I think you’d have to dig into specific examples to get a really accurate picture of usage, but this is the best analysis I’ve seen in a long time.