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The number of registered domain names on the internet increased by 7.5 million to stand at 233 million in the first quarter of the year.

That's according to Verisign, which found that the web address universe grew 11 per cent year-on-year and 3.3 per cent sequentially in Q1.

The mega-registry's own mountain of .com and .net domains grew slightly, at 2.5 per cent sequentially and 8.1 per cent year-on-year, to stand at a combined total 116.7 million domains at the end of March.

Verisign estimates in its latest Domain Name Industry Brief that 88 per cent of all registered .com and .net domains resolve to an active website; 17 per cent were one-page sites (indicative of “parked” or speculative domains) and 69 per cent had multiple-page websites.

Country-code top-level domains (ccTLD) grew faster, helped in part by the fact that the company has started gathering statistics on domains in non-Latin scripts – Internationalized Domain Names or IDN ccTLDs – for the first time.

ICANN has approved about 30 such spaces since it kicked off its IDN ccTLD fast-track programme in 2009, and these registries contributed 808,967 names to the Q1 total, Verisign said.

But the vast majority of those names are likely to have been found in .рф, the Russian Federation's wildly popular Cyrillic alternative to .ru, which currently reports more than 811,000 registrations.

The UK's .uk was still the second-largest ccTLD after Germany's .de at the end of the quarter, with more than 10 million domains, according to the report.

In third place was the rapidly growing .tk space, which represents the tiny island nation of Tokelau and gives it domains away for free. As a result it's favoured by abusive web players. ®

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