Bob Hawkes

Website Traffic Changes for Different Domain Name Extensions

By Bob Hawkes, Apr 6, 2021
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    When people see a domain extension in use, they are more apt to consider using that extension for their own business, organization or personal site. That is a huge advantage for .com domain names, along with country code extensions for some regions, and other major legacy extensions. Several repurposed country codes, particularly .io and .co have built strong user bases in recent years as well.

    There are numerous ways to estimate web traffic. The data provided by Cisco Umbrella conveniently provides ranking by extension. In October of 2019 I had a look at the most used domain extensions according to the Cisco Umbrella data. In this article I look at how the rankings have changed over the past year and a half. I also compare the Cisco ranking order to one based on the number of websites in the Alexa 1M.

    Top 25 in 2021

    I queried the Cisco system on March 30, 2021, and show below the rank-ordered list according to their estimate of web traffic.
    1. .com
    2. .net
    3. .org
    4. .io
    5. .cn
    6. .co
    7. .ms
    8. .us
    9. .me
    10. .tv
    11. .vn
    12. .jp
    13. .sg
    14. .gov
    15. .xyz
    16. .info
    17. .uk +
    18. .cloud
    19. .fi
    20. .ru
    21. .cc
    22. .im
    23. .ai
    24. .eu
    25. .asia
    Note that these are rankings. Cisco do not provide numerical use data in the public feed, simply the rank order. Almost certainly the difference between .com and .net is huge. Also, extensions further down the list may not be significantly different from each other.

    The Cisco rankings are based on the number of unique DNS queries made for a domain, only counting those from different IP addresses. There is undoubtedly a regional bias according to the Cisco Umbrella client pool. The Cisco Umbrella network processes more than 500 billion requests per day. The Cisco approach makes it relatively difficult, and expensive, for websites to manipulate the use data.

    Cisco data includes non-extensions such as AmazonAWS and Google APIs, which I excluded from these rankings. I also excluded second level country code rankings, unless that was the dominant web format for the country. I did not include brand extensions exclusive to a single company, or some extensions not released for general use, such as a few of the Google unreleased TLDs that do show up in the Cisco results. As a result of these exclusions, the ranks I show are in the same order as in the Cisco table, but the ranking does not correspond to the line number in the Cisco data.

    Comparison With Top 25 in 2019

    It is interesting to compare the data above from 2021 with the rankings from 2019, shown below. Note that in the list below I combined .uk and to be consistent with the 2021 treatment, so the numerical ranking of those below position 10 is one different.
    1. .com
    2. .net
    3. .org
    4. .io
    5. .co
    6. .tv
    7. .ms
    8. .us
    9. .me
    10. .uk +
    11. .fi
    12. .ru
    13. .news
    14. .de
    15. .gov
    16. .st
    17. .cn
    18. .jp
    19. .info
    20. .edu
    21. .ly
    22. .fr
    23. .cloud
    24. .it
    25. .ai
    While keeping in mind that some of the ranking differences may not be very significant, here are observations based on a comparison of the two datasets.
    • The order of the top four is unchanged.
    • .cn has moved up substantially, now in 5th place compared to 17th in 2019.
    • .comoved down one place.
    • .tv moved down four places.
    • .us and .me were unchanged in positions.
    • .vn, that was not on the top-50 list in 2019, moved to 11th place in 2021.
    • Japan’s .jp was one of the stronger national country codes in both years, moving from18th place in 2019, to 12th place this year.
    • Another country code making a move was .sg of Singapore, now in 13th place.
    • The .xyz extension moved from 29th in 2019 to 15th in 2021, the highest ranking new extension in 2021.
    • The .cloud extension moved up to 18th position in 2021. It was the second highest new gTLD in both years.
    • Perhaps related to pandemic influences, .edu moved down substantially, from 20th in 2019 to 44th in 2021.
    • The European .eu moved from 30th in 2019 to 24th in 2021.
    • extension dropped significantly, from 21st position in 2019 to 49 in 2021.
    • .asia was not in the 2019 top-50, but moved to position 25 in 2021.
    • Another extension moving up strongly was .cc, not in the top-50 in 2019, and now in 21st place in 2021.
    • Somewhat surprisingly, .club stayed about the same, 47th in both lists.
    • The .in extension moved up strongly, from 38th to 26th.
    These are rankings based on global requests, so that country codes that are strong within their borders, but not so much in other regions, will not rank well unless the country population is very high. A good example of this is .de, one of the most valuable extensions outside .com, and dominant in Germany, which only achieves 36th place in the 2021 Cisco global rankings.

    Top-Ranked New Extensions in 2021

    If we look just at new gTLDs, here are the rankings from the Cisco data. I place in parenthesis their rankings in the overall list. Keep in mind that the differences may be slight.
    1. .xyz (15)
    2. .cloud (18)
    3. .link (27)
    4. .online (28)
    5. .app (33)
    6. .site (43)
    7. .news (46)
    8. .club (47)
    9. .network (48)
    10. .top (50)
    11. .tech (53)
    12. .video (55)
    13. .support (56)
    14. .media (60)
    15. .house (63)
    16. .live (67)
    17. .art (68)
    18. .market (70)
    19. .dev (74)
    20. .cam (76)
    21. .fun (77)
    22. .services (79)
    23. .pub (83)
    24. .jobs (84)
    25. .software (86)
    All of .xyz,.link and .online moved up substantially in 2021.

    Alexa 1M Rankings

    While Cisco is one measure of global traffic, Alexa 1M is an indicator of how many popular sites there are in an extension. The two measure very different things, so we would not expect them to agree perfectly.

    I took the extensions that made it to the top-50 in the Cisco rankings, and then looked up how many Alexa 1M websites each have. The results are shown below. Note that the graph scale was limited to 30,000 to show differences, even though .com at 251,349 Alexa 1M websites is well beyond the graph scale. I used Alexa 1M numbers from


    There are a number of significant differences between the Cisco and Alexa rankings.
    • In the Alexa 1M ordered list, .ru moves to second position and .in to fifth.
    • The .vn extension is strong in both lists, 8th in Alexa 1M and 11th in the Cisco list.
    • The .us extension is ranked higher in the Cisco data. The Cisco approach looks more directly at web traffic. I suspect the widespread use of Zoom has much to do with this, as it counts as one Alexa 1M listing but a lot of web traffic. Zoom is currently the 16th most popular website in the world according to how Alexa estimate web traffic.
    • Two extensions popular as domain investments, .ai and .gg, are not that high on the Alexa 1M ordering.
    • The .id extension has as many Alexa 1M as .info.
    • The .app and .biz extensions have almost identical numbers of Alexa 1M sites.
    • While .ms was high in Cisco web traffic, it is last in the Alexa 1M rankings for the 50 extensions.
    • The difference between .io and .co is not much, and .id is another general purpose country code that does well in the Alexa 1M measures.
    Keep in mind that Alexa 1M rankings vary significantly from month to month, and it has been claimed that some of the indicators they use are susceptible to deliberate manipulation.

    Does This Mean Anything?

    The website popularity of an extension, no matter how that is calculated, does not firmly tell you anything about the worth of a specific domain name. Some names have sold for good amounts, even though the extension is lightly used. Also, a mediocre domain name, no matter how used the extension, will not have much value. Nevertheless, it is, for example, easier to sell an .io for good amounts compared to a seldom used extension.

    What surprised me most in the results? The strength of .vn on both lists was a definite surprise. It is an extension that had previously not really been on my radar. There are only 5 sales in .vn and one in listed in NameBio. According to TLD-List, not a lot of registrars handle the extension.

    Please share what surprised you, and your reflections in general, in the comments section.

    Thanks to Cisco Umbrella, Alexa and DomainNameStats for data used in this article. I also used nTLD Stats to check the status on some TLDs, and the Wikipedia listing of country code extensions, as well as some individual extension entries. Relevant sales data was checked using NameBio.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 86th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (20)

  6. MrBakkali

    MrBakkali Established Member

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    Thank you @Bob Hawkes for this amazing article. In my point of vue the .ai extension will be a trend in the next 2-3 years.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  7. coolhands

    coolhands Top Contributor VIP

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    Happy to see .io in the Top 5.

    Thank you bob for this helpful article.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  8. Restricted (15-30%)

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  9. mwzd

    mwzd Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    This dataset is limited to queries related to Cisco, nothing else, so if a country tld is not used to access Cisco products, it won't rank at all.

    Explains why .ms is in there - "Microsoft uses this as an abbreviation for projects such as or 1drv .ms for its OneDrive."

    I'm amazed .im is on the list, have always thought of it as a good shortform for instant messenger and seems that it's being used as such - "The domain has gained popularity among companies who produce instant messaging (IM) software " and ".IM is also used in German-, French- and Italian-speaking countries (i.e. Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Switzerland, France, Italy and part of Belgium) for Real Estate purposes (Immobilien in German, Immobilier in French, Immobiliare in Italian).
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2021
  10. CTUXSF

    CTUXSF Established Member

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    Thanks again, @Bob Hawkes for yet another
    Enlightening article! The eye-openers for me were vn, sg, link and online being so high on the list.
  11. DuDD

    DuDD Established Member

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  12. iAdam

    iAdam ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thank you for the article. Nice to see .net is keeping up.
  13. ecomslice

    ecomslice Top Contributor VIP

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    Your a domain data scientist @Bob Hawkes .sharing is caring. Deserving title .
  14. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Just to make sure everyone is clear, it is not a search on a Cisco term or website, but rather DNS queries to any website from those who are clients of the Cisco Umbrella security service. They have about 100 million customers (I think that would be like a business or organization paying for services, so more than that people) and handle usually 400 to 500 Billion queries per day. While they serve people in 200 countries, there is undoubtedly some bias toward business users and those in North America, Europe and parts of Asia probably.

    Yes, I agree. It is a few major uses related to Microsoft, with lots of web queries, probably driving the Cisco ratings, since few sites for .ms in Alexa 1M.

    I was wondering why .im made the list - thank you for all that explanation. I had not thought about the French and German terms, or the instant messaging angle.

    Thanks for all the comments and input, everyone.

  15. topdom

    topdom Top Contributor VIP

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    .de is not nearly as popular as .io ? A big surprise. Maybe one big site (such as captcha service, or corona info site) might be moving some extensions up. I didn't sell any .co, (except some 3 letters bought and sold just before they became premium). I consider it as a typo. Maybe next time we should promote .bs and move it up.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  16. Ferdi Cahya Abdillah

    Ferdi Cahya Abdillah New Member

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    Thanks for article shared, Sir.
  17. Ferdi Cahya Abdillah

    Ferdi Cahya Abdillah New Member

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    Based on CENTRstats Global TLD Report Q4 2020 Edition 33, Indonesian Domain (.id) has the highest growth. In the ccTLD category, according to data from CENTRstats in the 4th quarter of the 33rd edition of 2020, the highest ccTLD growth was in the .id domain (Indonesia) with a growth of 40 percent.

    Then followed by .cy (Cyprus) 23 percent. And .ar (Argentina) as much as 22 percent. This calculation is based on the period September 2020.

    More Details, Search in Browser:
    CENTRstats Global TLD Report Q4 2020 – Edition 33
  18. bruhne

    bruhne Established Member

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    Shout-out to .cc for making waves. Plenty more where that came from.
  19. aleksandrpet

    aleksandrpet Established Member

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    Thank you for the work you have done. It is valuable information for me.
  20. J. Sharma

    J. Sharma Established Member

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  21. The Durfer

    The Durfer Wesley Sweatman VIP

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    ty Mr.Bob, how about an article on the -xr suffix or prefix (extended reality). ty.
  22. jim h

    jim h Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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    High quality as always, thank you, Sir.
  23. King

    King Investor & Creator VIP Gold Account

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    Thanks for the overview!
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  24. aleksandrpet

    aleksandrpet Established Member

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    Thank you for your efforts!
  25. FolioTeam

    FolioTeam VIP

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    Thanks for the analysis. Enjoyed it.

    I wasn't surprised with the top 5 extensions in each slide.
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