Farsight Security Reveals Most Popular Top-Level Domains over 10-Year Period

New research study examines more than 1500 IANA-recognized domains including classic gTLDs, ccTLDs, new gTLDs, and internationalized domain names (IDNs), from 2010 to 2019

San Mateo, California, May 4th, 2021, In an industry first, Farsight Security, Inc., a leading cybersecurity provider of DNS Intelligence, provides an unprecedented snapshot of the use and popularity of top-level domains over a ten-year-period in a research report entitled, “A Decade of Passive DNS: A Snapshot of Top-Level Domain Traffic.” The report, which you can download here, examines more than 1500 IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority)-recognized domains, including classic generic top-level domains (gTLDs), country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), new generic top-level domains (gTLDs), and internationalized domain names (IDNs), from 2010 to 2019.

“This report reveals an important inflection point in Internet history. Over the last decade, the Domain Name System (DNS) experienced an explosive growth period, with the introduction of generic and IDN top-level domains among other industry changes. While millions of corporations have used these assets to help establish and build their brands, our study reveals that traditional top-level domains dominate the newer top-level domains in use and popularity. Every organization should read this report to gain actionable intelligence about their brand’s top-level domain," said Dr. Paul Vixie, Chairman, CEO and Cofounder of Farsight Security, Inc.

The report findings are based on what Farsight Security has seen in passive DNS from 2010-2019 based on a ten-year data rollup from DNSDB, excluding DNSSEC-related records. Farsight DNSDB is the world’s largest historical passive DNS database, with more than 130 billion DNS records. Starting with a suspicious domain name or IP address or even just a keyword, cybersecurity professionals can use DNSDB to map malicious infrastructure as well as uncover possible new cyberthreats to their organizations.

In detailed charts included in “A Decade of Passive DNS,” Farsight reports findings for each of the 1,576 IANA-recognized TLDs using the following four measures: unique RRsets; unique fully qualified domain names (FQDNs); 2nd-level domains; and sum of counts or total number of cache misses. Below represent the total number of each of these metrics:

  • The total number of unique RRsets (unique combinations of RRname, RRtype, Rdata, Bailiwick, sensor or zone data): 130 Billion
  • The total number of unique fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) seen: 51 Billion
  • The total number of unique effective 2nd-level domains (or "delegation points") seen: 1 Billion
  • The sum of counts, or total number of cache misses: 42 Billion

Farsight also provides RRtype distributions for each of the IANA-recognized TLDs, including:

  • “A" records (IPv4 address records): 64 Billion (49.4%)
  • "AAAA" records (IPv6 address records): 9 Billion (6.7%)
  • "CNAME" records (aliases from one name to another): 17 Billion (13.0%)
  • "MX" records (SMTP server for a domain): 871 Million (0.67%)
  • "NS" records (name servers for a domain): 3 Billion (2.66%)
  • "SOA" records (start of authority records for the domain): 28 Billion (21.6%)
  • "TXT" records (text records with arbitrary content): 3 Billion (2.3%)


The complete report, “A Decade of Passive DNS: A Snapshot of Top-Level Domain Traffic,” is available now for download here. For more information about the report, please contact Farsight Security at info@farsightsecurity.com.

About Farsight Security, Inc.

Farsight Security, Inc. is the world’s largest provider of historical and real-time passive DNS data. We enable security teams to qualify, enrich and correlate all sources of threat data and ultimately save time when it is most critical - during an attack or investigation. Our solutions provide enterprise, government and security industry personnel and platforms with unmatched global visibility, context and response. Farsight Security is headquartered in San Mateo, California, USA. Learn more about how we can empower your threat platform and security team with Farsight Security passive DNS solutions at https://www.farsightsecurity.com/ or follow us on Twitter: @FarsightSecInc.