Development of .nl
After years of linear growth, the number of .nl domain names has been increasing less rapidly since 2011. By the end of 2014, the number of .nl domain names was 5,531,186. In percentage terms, .nl's year-on-year growth in 2014 was 2.7 per cent. That compares with growth of 5.3 per cent in 2013.
Strong decline in net growth
A net total of 142,822 names was added to the .nl domain in 2014. That figure represents a substantial 47.6 per cent drop on the net numeric growth in 2013. The trend of declining net growth has been established for several years.
Slight fall in the number of new registrations
In 2014, nearly 900,000 new .nl domain names were registered. That is only 7.4 per cent fewer than in 2013 (971,304). Despite the slower growth, interest in .nl domain names remains strong.
More .nl domain names cancelled
The slowdown in net growth was due mainly to an increase in the number of domain names that were cancelled. Cancellations in 2014 were 9 per cent up on 2013. Every year, more domain names are cancelled than the year before. While the upward cancellation trend cannot be attributed to any one cause, it is certainly the case that registrants with multiple domain names are tending to look critically at their portfolios. In addition, people are nowadays quicker to cancel unused domain names than in the past.
.nl leads the world on DNSSEC
The number of DNSSEC-secured .nl domain names grew substantially in 2014. By the end of the year, there were 2,251,993 signed .nl domain names. That figure represents a rise of more than 34 per cent on 2013. In both absolute and percentage terms, the .nl domain now has more signed names than any other domain in the world. The growth in the number of DNSSEC domain names was due mainly to the active implementation support that SIDN gave to a number of large registrars.
.nl is the most popular extension in the Netherlands
Relative to other extensions, the .nl domain performed very well in 2014. It remained the largest and most popular extension in the Netherlands. The national domain's share of the domestic market has been stable for some years. Its main 'rivals', .com and .eu, saw their shares contract slightly in 2014. So far, the new gTLDs have secured a very small share of the Dutch domain name market.
With a growth of 2.7 per cent, .nl performed quite well by international standards. Comparable European country-code domains recorded weaker growth in 2014. Germany's .de domain grew by just 1.1 per cent in 2014, for example. In 2014, the global market for domain names was buoyed mainly by the explosive growth of the .tk domain, which offers free registrations. Other drivers of numeric growth were the market introduction of new generic top-level domains and increasing demand outside Europe.