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New .ie domain registrations increased by 24% in 2021 as the digital economy grows

ie is one of the fastest growing country domains in Europe, ahead of .fr, .de and .uk

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David Curtin, .IE

New .ie domain registrations rose 24% in 2021 compared to 2019 before the pandemic, as tens of thousands of SMBs built websites and online stores, according to new figures from .IE, the national domain manager of Ireland.

A total of 62,198 new .ie domains were registered in 2021, compared to 50,167 in 2019. The first half of 2021 was the best semester ever for new .ie domain registrations, although they were down by 4, 5% for the whole of 2021. compared to 2020. As of December 31, 2021, the total .ie database stood at 330,108 domains.

The 2021 .IE Domain Profile Report, which explores and analyzes the .ie database, shows that for most of the past year, the rate of new .ie domain registrations largely reflected the lockdown policy of the government.


“During the months of 2021, when Ireland was in strict lockdown and non-essential retail businesses were closed, new .ie domain registrations increased,” said David Curtin, chief executive of .IE.

“SMEs whose physical premises were closed or partially open moved online in order to continue selling to their customers and stay connected. In July, registrations hit a low as the reopening continued and the government encouraged to focus on outdoor activities.

However, the pandemic’s link to new .ie domain registrations appeared to “decouple” in August, as .ie domain registrations rose again despite accelerated government reopening plans.

“We believe this decoupling happened when it happened because the Irish economy has, for the most part, emerged from the ‘acute response’ phase of the pandemic. Businesses have incorporated the uncertainty of restrictions and reduced business capacity into their business operations and planning.

“SMBs are no longer just reacting to the pandemic either. On the contrary, consumer behavior is changing, and SMEs are changing with it. Businesses are investing in new websites, integrating e-commerce technology and using productivity-enhancing tools throughout the year as they now recognize the huge role they play in driving profitability and customer acquisition. »

International and departmental growth

At the end of December 2021, the .ie domain accounted for 52.6% of all top-level domains hosted in Ireland, an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared to the same month in 2020. In comparison, .com accounted for 30, 8% from all domains, followed by .uk (7.6%) and .eu (2.3%).

With 6.5% year-on-year growth, the .ie domain remains one of the fastest growing country domains in Europe, behind only .ee (Estonia, +8.8%) and .pt (Portugal , +10.2%) and ahead of . fr, .de and .uk.

All counties on the island of Ireland except Armagh saw an increase in the percentage growth of new .ie domain registrations in 2021 compared to 2019 before the pandemic. Counties Longford, Mayo and Meath saw the highest overall increases; Galway recorded the biggest percentage increase among urban counties, beating Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

More than half (54%) of all .ie websites are secured with a security certificate. A much lower percentage of .ie domains use other cybersecurity features, such as DNSSEC (0.16%), which adds an extra layer of cryptographic security to a domain, and Registry Lock (0.03%), which protects a domain from malicious or accidental modification. .

“It is encouraging to see that the majority of .ie websites are secured by a security certificate, which ensures that consumers are protected against the theft of their personal data by cybercriminals during an online transaction,” said curtin.

“However, comprehensive domain cybersecurity involves using the full range of tools available, such as DNSSEC and Registry Lock. While the number of .ie domain owners using these tools is growing, the baseline number is still low. .

“Given the clear and serious impact of the HSE ransomware attack last year, as well as myriad other high-profile incidents, it is very important that all .ie domain owners, especially companies and those with a responsibility to protect sensitive information, do as much as possible to protect their users and internal systems from cyberattacks.

New .ie registrations with Covid-related keywords (such as “vaccine”, “Covid”, “mask”) decreased in 2021 compared to 2020, with only 187 mentions recorded in the database. However, registrations for general health-related keywords (such as “fitness”, “pharmacy/pharmacist” and “advice”) remained strong, with 1,343 registrations.

Reflecting growing personal and business interest in sustainability and environmental issues, 789 new .ie domains with climate-related keywords were registered in 2021. The top three keywords were “green” (311), “ solar” (118) and “carbon” (81).

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