New .ie domain registrations surge 56% in Q2.

Alan Clerkin

Alan Clerkin

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New .ie domain registrations in Ireland surged by 56% in the second quarter of 2020, compared to last year, as businesses move online in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to figures published today by IE Domain Registry in its latest .ie Domain Profile Report, a total of 33,286 new .ie domains were registered in the first half (H1) of 2020 (1 January–30 June), an increase of 26% compared to the same period last year. Over 40% of new registrations on the island of Ireland occurred in the two months of May and June, as businesses responded with online services, following the Government’s ‘work from home’ order which closed most of the country’s business premises. 

The majority of .ie domains in the database were companies and self-employed business owners (78%). The .ie domain remains the domain of choice for Irish businesses that want to prove to their local and international customers that they have a real connection to Ireland.

.ie domains now account for 50.7% of all hosted domains in Ireland, up 1.5 points year-on-year, followed by 32.6% for .com, the main competitor.

IE Domain Registry, which manages and administers Ireland’s country domain name, .ie, said the increase suggests that more companies, self-employed business owners, and independent professionals have gone online since the lockdown to maintain their revenue streams, stay in contact with customers, and expand into new markets.

Commenting, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IE Domain Registry, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a noticeable effect on new .ie registrations across virtually the entire country. Thirty-one of the island’s thirty-two counties recorded an increase in the first six months of 2020. This significant digital expansion suggests that all business owners and entrepreneurs, in cities and in regional parts of the country, understand that having a trusted, uniquely Irish online presence is absolutely crucial in a time of lockdown when nearly all physical premises are shut and footfall is extremely low or non-existent”.

Mr. Curtin went on to state: ““This significant digital expansion suggests that all business owners and entrepreneurs, in cities and in regional parts of the country, understand that having a trusted, uniquely Irish online presence is absolutely crucial in a time of lockdown, when nearly all physical premises are shut and footfall is extremely low or non-existent.”

There were 295,794 .ie domains in the database at the end of H1 2020, an 8.3% increase on the same period last year. The database has grown 43.6% on the same period five years ago (H1 2015). The strong 25.8% year-on-year growth in new .ie domain registrations can be linked to the Covid-19 lockdown. Over 40% of
new .ie registrations on the island of Ireland were registered in May and June, as businesses eventually reacted to the consequences of the Government’s first closure orders. With main streets temporarily shut down, more businesses went online for the first time or registered new domains to stay connected with
their customers and maintain revenue.

The report found that there was a total of 295,794 .ie domains in the .ie database at the end of June, an increase of more than 8% on the same time last year and almost 44% on the same time five years ago.  The report also reveals that .ie domains now account for 50.7% of all hosted domains in Ireland, followed by 32.6% for .com, its main competitor.

Other key points mentioned in the report:

  • 59% of all new .ie registrations in H1 2020 were by companies or the self-employed.
  • New .ie registrations by individuals increased by more than 35% YoY in H1 2020.
  • County Tyrone recorded the largest increase in new .ie domains (105%) in H1 2020 (albeit from a low base), followed by Monaghan (83%) and Carlow (75%).
  • The U.K. accounts for the majority of internationally registered .ie domains. New registrations in H1 2020 increased by 13% year-on-year (from 635 to 718).
  • New .ie domain registrations that include a fada increased by 13% (39 in H1 2019 vs 44 in H1 2020).
  • 41% of .ie websites now have a security certificate.
  • Dublin and Cork recorded the highest (12,504) and second highest (2,734) numbers of new .ie domain registrations in H1 2020.

“The increase in new .ie domain registrations has been helped by IE Domain Registry’s liberalisation policy, which was implemented in 2018, making it easier and faster to get a .ie,” said Mr. Curtin. “While applicants still must prove their connection to Ireland, which is then manually verified by IE Domain Registry, they no longer need to prove their claim to a particular .ie domain. Business owners and people in Ireland have clearly indicated that their online identity of choice is a .ie website address and a .ie email extension.”