Europe accommodates a broad range of complex and diverse characteristics and identities. It hosts 44 countries and is home to about 10% of the world’s population. Despite its modest size, it has always played a central role in global affairs and includes some of the world’s most prominent economic pioneers in the digital scene.
The internet industry in Europe is mature, with a robust infrastructure, high adoption rates and a large population of digital natives. Its high level of industrialization and development means that more than half of all Europeans can access high-quality internet at an affordable price. Because so many people are already connected, it’s easy for businesses to reach them online—which means there are plenty of registered domains that are used to conduct and grow business in Europe.
Based on the findings of Global Domain Report 2023 along with some extra key facts and highlights, we present the European top 10 ccTLDs in 2023.
Europe and its ccTLDs
What is in store for this region in terms of ccTLD registration numbers? The data speaks for itself: Europe loves ccTLDs! The CENTRstats Global TLD Report Q3 2022 estimates the number of European domains at 115 million registrations, of which 58% are national ccTLDs. The demand for European ccTLDs increased over Q3 2022 and remained stable, averaging 1.2 domains created for every domain deleted. The median renewal ratio has moved up to 84.7%. Dataprovider.com provides a dataset of 97,022,957 domains in Europe under ccTLDs since February 2023. According to their web crawling platform, 66.1% of websites hosted in Europe are hosted under ccTLDs.
In the Global Domain Report 2023, Peter van Roste, General Manager at CENTR, states:
“European ccTLDs can expect a 2% YoY growth, although new regulatory obligations will raise costs.“
So, how much does a ccTLD cost in 2023? According to CENTR, registrar (retail) prices of European ccTLD registrations have increased over the past 12 months, with a recently recorded median of €10.2 (including tax) — up from €8.6 just 12 months prior. Given the current economic climate and cost pressures on European businesses, the possibility of more price increases does seem likely.
These are the top 10 ccTLDs in Europe in 2023
ccTLDs have always represented an essential segment of the domain industry, accounting for 30-40% of the global market share. Despite hundreds of naming possibilities, the European reliance on ccTLDs remains staunch! There are several reasons why ccTLDs are so popular in Europe. They are perceived as a valid seal of trust and commitment to safety and security. Furthermore, ccTLD registries focus on tackling abuse and illegal online content and on counterattacking DNS abuse.
The Global Domain Report 2023 includes a chapter devoted to a journey around the globe to discover the use of domains in different regions. There were some interesting developments and changes in the chart this year compared to 2022. Let’s look at the ten ccTLDs most frequently registered in Europe in 2023!
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10 .es | 2 million domain registrations
Introduced on 14 April 1988, the Spanish ccTLD .es is connected to the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade through the Secretary of State for Telecommunications and the Information Society. The Spanish domain extension .es is the leading TLD in the country.
9 .pl | 2.50 million domain registrations
Poland was assigned its ccTLD .pl on 30 July 1990. Today, the management and administration of the ccTLD is undertaken by NASK (Naukowa i Akademicka Sieć Komputerowa), the Polish Research and Academic Computer Network.
8 .ch | 2.52 million domain registrations
The Swiss ccTLD comes from the Latin name of the country, Confoederatio Helvetica (Helvetic Confederation). The TLD has been available since 1987 and is operated by the Swiss registry SWITCH.
7 .it | 3.46 million domain registrations
On 23 December 1987, IANA assigned .it to an institute belonging to the National Research Council (CNR) in Pisa. It was subsequently gradually incorporated into the single registry operator Registro.it.
6 .eu | 3.70 million domain registrations
The ccTLD was launched on 7 December 2005. The ccTLD. eu is available with the IDN .ею in Cyrillic letters and .ευ in Greek. Registry operations are handled by EURid.
5 .fr | 4 million domain registrations
The French ccTLD was introduced on 2 September 1986 and is run by the French network information center AFNIC (Association française pour le nommage Internet en coopération). In 2023, it reached the milestone of 4 million domain registrations.
4 .ru | 5.7 million domain registrations
Russia introduced its ccTLD on 7 April 1994. .ru is the code in the Latin alphabet, while the internationalized country code using the Russian alphabet is .рф. The current official registry is the Coordination Center for TLD RU, a non-profit body founded by public and governmental organizations.
3 .nl | 6.28 million domain registrations
Since 1996, the Dutch ccTLD has been operated by SIDN (Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland, Foundation for Internet Domain Registration Netherlands), based in Arnhem. Today, .nl is among the most frequently registered TLDs worldwide.
2 .uk | 11.1 million domain registrations
The United Kingdom received its ccTLD .uk on 24 July 1985. In 1996, Nominet UK was founded as the registry operator for .uk. The registry is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee.
1 .de | 17.42 million domain registrations
With over 17 million registrations, .de ranks among the top 3 most frequently registered extensions worldwide, after .com and .tk. In 1996, DENIC eG took over the helm as the .de registry and .de has enjoyed impressively dynamic growth ever since. Describing the current state of .de registrations for the Global Domain Report 2023, Andreas Musielak, Member of the Executive Board DENIC eG, stated: “Although domain registrations are still growing, they have dropped to pre-pandemic levels. Still, .de registered a significant increase in 2022, with more than 10% of registrations coming from outside Germany“.
The top 5 ccTLD dominates the European internet space
A look at web data on Dataprovider.com shows that the top 5 most registered ccTLDs, .de, .uk, .nl, .ru and .fr, are to be found in several other top 5 connected to the internet in Europe. It is not surprising that the countries hosting the most websites under ccTLDs are those that register most of the domains. However, this picture changes when we consider European cities hosting websites by ccTLDs—the top 5 feature 3 German cities and the capitals of the UK and Russia.
An analysis of the languages used for websites hosted on domain names with ccTLDs in Europe virtually mirrors the same top ccTLDs. The only difference is that English shifts to a much more prevalent position.
What are domain names under ccTLDs in Europe used for?
A domain name can host a developed or undeveloped website. A developed website is a website that contains real manually created content, requiring time and effort to create. The opposite is an undeveloped website. 64.5% of websites hosted in Europe under ccTLD have developed websites. This figure is slightly higher than the European average for all TLDs (60.1%). Websites under ccTLDs in Europe primarily have meaningful web content, mostly business-related (37.6%). The largest category of websites under ccTLD in Europe is devoted to IT services and the telecom sector (14.1%).
Fun facts about ccTLDs hosted in Europe in 2023
There are many other interesting facets to be found when analyzing ccTLDs in Europe. Here are some of our favorite highlights as of February 2023:
- The average length of a domain name under ccTLD hosted in Europe is 12.5 characters.
- The most commonly used subdomain is www (56.1%), followed by shop (3.4%) and blog (2.2%).
- 62.6% of websites hosted in Europe use a TLS/SSL certificate.
- The average domain age under ccTLDs in Europe is 26.8 months.
- ccTLDs most often redirect to .de (28.6%), .com (27.5%) and .nl (6.2%).
A snapshot of the domain industry in 2023
As we exit from the pandemic, the world is facing geopolitical conflicts, inflation, and economic challenges. After two years of sky-high domain registrations, 2022 was a year of taking stock, with numbers returning to pre-covid levels. Based on over 750 million data sets presented over 75 pages, our Global Domain Report 2023 offers a journey of discovery to reveal new insights about the primary domain market and aftermarket.