News of DENIC: A Dozen and Counting
12 million domains now registered under .de – Most successful country code Top Level Domain in the world still heading for success
The .de domains take the next hurdle. On 14 April 2008, the German registry DENIC received the regis-tration request for the twelve millionth .de domain. Now DENIC administers twelve million domains.
The German Top Level Domain increases by about one million registrations every year, with no end in sight. So .de domains apparently are the first choice for Internet users in Germany. Statistically, 100,000 inhabitants now correspond to 14,500 domains. More than 400,000 .de domains are so-called IDNs, i.e. they contain umlauts or characters with accents. With the new record of twelve million registered do-mains, the German Top Level Domain has further consolidated its position as the largest ccTLD in the world.
“This success is mainly due to the excellent work of our members, who offer attractive services to the domain holders and a favourable price-performance ratio that has made .de domains a quality product for everybody in Germany,” says Sabine Dolderer, member of DENIC’s Executive Board. “For DENIC, the twelve million domains are a commitment to offer the domain holders and the Internet Community the best possible service through stable and secure operation.”
.de domains: A Success Story
Domains are basically no more than mnemonic aids for Internet users. Computers communicate amongst themselves using their so-called IP numbers (such as 126.96.36.199), which identify each one of them uniquely. Human beings, however, generally find it easier to remember meaningful combinations of characters rather than strings of digits. The Domain Name System (DNS) has created a means for linking the world of humans to the world of machines, since the DNS makes it possible to assign a domain uniquely to an IP address.
The structure of the DNS is hierarchical. Its pinnacle is formed by the Top Level Domains. Immediately underneath them, it is possible to register second-level-domains, which are often known simply as "domains" (for example: denic.de). Each hierarchical level is separated from the others by a dot.
The Top Level Domain .de has been in use as an address extension in the Internet for approximately twenty years. The necessary record for .de was set up in IANA's database on November 5, 1986. Starting in March 1988, members of the Informatikrechner-Betriebsgruppe at the University of Dortmund began offering a volunteer name server service for .de using the name DENIC (= German Network Information Center). At that time, the number of .de domains registered totalled six, and they were (in alphabetical order): dbp.de, rmi.de, telenet.de, uka.de, uni-dortmund.de and uni-paderborn.de.
The rate of growth in the number of domains has been far from steady since then. During the first years, when the Internet still remained predominantly a university reserve, the rate of growth in the number of registered domains was only slow. The number of .de domains had thus only grown to a thousand or so when, in 1994, domain administration was transferred to the University of Karlsruhe as a project with outside funding.
It was following the invention of the World Wide Web, which can be considered as a sort of graphic user interface for the Internet, that use of the Internet began to expand like wildfire beyond the limited circle of research institutions and computer companies. This was paralleled with a growing interest in domains. At the beginning of 1997, just after DENIC eG had been created as a registered cooperative by the German Internet service providers, the number of addresses registered totalled around 50 000. It took just over two years (to April 1999) for this figure to climb to half a million. In the two years after that, the number of domains doubled every six months, and the five-million mark was reached in November 2001. In recent years, the growth rate has more or less stabilized at around a million new domains per year, which is the rough equivalent of two new .de domains coming into being every minute. With the new record of twelve million domains, .de has further consolidated the position it has held for many years as the world's largest country code and the second largest Top Level Domain globally, with only .com ahead of it.