What would the world look like if the size of a country was determined by domain names instead of landmass?
Nominet, the registry that provides .UK domain names to registrars such as Namecheap, created a world map that does just this. It bases the size on the number of country-code domain names registered for each country.
Country-code domain names are two-letter domain name extensions. Any time you see just two letters to the right of the dot (instead of .com or something similar), it’s a country code extension.
Some of these country codes are immediately recognizable, such as .UK for United Kingdom. Others are not; they have been repurposed for general use. Did you know that .Co (Colombia), .TV (Tuvalu) and .ME (Montenegro) are actually country code domains?
A Distorted Map
Because many country code domains can be registered by people outside of the country of origin, and because many have been repurposed into cool domain extensions, the number of country-code domains registered doesn’t often match the size of a country in landmass or even population.
The biggest country on Nominet’s map is the South Pacific island of Tokelau. You can be forgiven if you’ve never heard of it. It has a population of just 1,500!
But the island works with a registry to give away .TK domain names for free. People like free, so 25 million .TK domains are registered.
Here are some other interesting anomalies on the map:
- There are some larger-than-life islands in the Caribbean. The British overseas territory of Anguilla looks massive. Its population is under 20,000, but artificial intelligence companies have adopted its .AI country code as their own.
- Look just east of the United Kingdom and you’ll see Guernsey. While not huge on the map yet, this is a rapidly growing country (domains-wise) thanks to the adoption of its .GG domain extension by the eSports community. GG is short for “good game” in eSports lingo.
- Canada’s landmass is about the same as the United States. Its population is just a fraction of its southern neighbor. But when it comes to domains, Canada’s .CA is quite popular compared to .US. Because the Internet took off early in the United States, .COM got a foothold quickly, relegating .US to an also-ran status.
Some countries on the map are larger than life because their citizens love the local country-code domain. .UK and .DE (Germany) are large, thanks to the local population preferring them over .COM domains.
Registering a Country Code Domain
Some country code domains have residency requirements so that only people that live in the country can register them. Others are open to everyone.
Check out a list of country code domains at Namecheap, and register one today.