If you want some indication of the size of the Internet, the number of registered domain names is a good place to start.
VeriSign, who help manage the Internet’s root DNS servers, reported in the latest Domain Name Industry Brief that over 209.8 million domain names have now been registered.
What is more, the number of domain names being registered is increasing year on year; The first quarter of this 2011 saw a 7.9% increase of new domain registrations on last year.
The top level domains of .com and .net domains are the most popular with over 108 million registered in total, and 8.3 million new ones registered in the first quarter of 2011.
For the first quarter of the year, the top ranked TLDs in terms of domains registrations are: .com, .de, .net, .uk, .org, .info, .nl, .eu, .cn and .ru.
The biggest growth in Country Code TLD’s appears to be for Canada and Australia, where the number of domain names registered increased by 20% year on year
VeriSign also reported a growth in the volume of DNS queries they handle; During the first quarter of 2011, the peak DNS query load they registered was up 6% on a year-over-year basis.
“The ongoing growth of DNS query loads stems both from normal traffic drivers — most notably the continuing increase in global internet usage — and from increasingly powerful distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks leveled against all parts of the Internet’s critical infrastructure,” The VeriSign Domain Name Industry brief report states. “These increases, both from benign and malicious sources, require aggressive innovation and investment on the part of infrastructure operators to meet the growing demand.”
While the number of registered domain names will obviously be more than the number of actively used domain names, the pace of growth of the Internet shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.