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. .com .net .org .io .cn .co .ms .us .me .tv .vn .jp .sg .gov .xyz .info .uk + co.uk .cloud .fi .ru .cc .im .ai .eu .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 .co.uk to be consistent with the 2021 treatment, so the numerical ranking of those below position 10 is one different. .com .net .org .io .co .tv .ms .us .me .uk + .co.uk .fi .ru .news .de .gov .st .cn .jp .info .edu .ly .fr .cloud .it .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. The.ly 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. .xyz (15) .cloud (18) .link (27) .online (28) .app (33) .site (43) .news (46) .club (47) .network (48) .top (50) .tech (53) .video (55) .support (56) .media (60) .house (63) .live (67) .art (68) .market (70) .dev (74) .cam (76) .fun (77) .services (79) .pub (83) .jobs (84) .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 DomainNameStats.com. 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 .com.vn 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.