Irelands digital economy grows

February 01, 2022

New .ie domain registrations increased by 24% in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic 2019 as tens of thousands of SMEs built websites and online stores, according to new figures from .IE, Ireland’s country domain manager.

A total of 62,198 new .ie domains were registered in 2021 compared to 50,167 in 2019. H1 2021 was the best half-year period on record for new .ie domain registrations, although they decreased 4.5% in the full year of 2021 compared to 2020. As of 31 December 2021, the total .ie database stood at 330,108 domains.

The 2021 .IE Domain Profile Report, which explores and analyses the .ie database, shows that for most of last year, the rate of new .ie domain registrations largely reflected Government lockdown policy.

International and county growth 
At the end of December 2021, the .ie domain accounted for 52.6% of all top-level domains hosted in Ireland, an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared with the same month in 2020. In comparison, .com accounted for 30.8% of all domains, followed by .uk (7.6%) and .eu (2.3%).

At 6.5% year-on-year growth, the .ie domain remains one of the fastest growing country domains in Europe, behind only .ee (Estonia, +8.8%) and .pt (Portugal, +10.2%) and ahead of .fr, .de, and .uk.

All counties on the island of Ireland, excluding Armagh, recorded an increase in percentage growth in new .ie domain registrations in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic 2019. Counties Longford, Mayo, and Meath recorded the highest overall increases; Galway recorded the highest percentage increase among the urban counties, beating Dublin, Cork, Limerick, and Waterford.

The .ie domain ecosystem: cybersecurity and keywords 
54% of all .ie websites are secured with a security certificate. A much smaller percentage of .ie domains use other cybersecurity features, such as DNSSEC (0.16%), which adds an additional layer of cryptographic security to a domain, and Registry Lock (0.03%), which protects a domain from malicious or accidental changes.

New .ie registrations with Covid-related keywords (such as ‘vaccine’, ‘Covid’, ‘mask’) decreased in 2021 compared with 2020, with just 187 recorded mentions in the database. However, registrations of general health-related keywords (such as ‘fitness’, ‘pharmacy/pharmacist’, and ‘counselling’) remained strong, with 1,343 registered.

Reflecting growing personal and commercial interest in sustainability and environmental issues, 789 new .ie domains with climate-related keywords were registered in 2021. The top three keywords were ‘green’ (311), ‘solar’ (118), and ‘carbon’ (81).

Read the 2021 .IE Domain Profile Report in full.