Study: Only 30% of domains are being renewed after one year

Only 30% of domains are being renewed after one year, according to a new study into domain registration behaviour across the leading top level domains (TLDs).

The latest research into domain registrations has revealed the extent of the churn rate for domains across some of the most popular TLDs.

On analysing the data sample, which covers one million domains, registered across the eight leading TLDs, just 30% of domains are renewed each year. Of the 70% of domains that are not renewed, 41% are left to expire, while 29% are registered by other users.

Whether domains are being ditched due to high second year costs, or we simply struggle to follow through with our ideas after an impulsive, speculative or optimistic registration, the data shows fewer than one in three domains are renewed each year.

Richard Kershaw at said: “We wanted to find out more about domain registration behaviour so we commissioned this study of one million domains – it turns out the churn rate for domains is much much higher than I think many would expect.” wanted to understand more about people’s behaviour when it comes to domain registrations: how many domains are renewed, how many are re-registered by other registrants and how many are left to expire and go back on sale?

To explore these questions and uncover other trends, the company got in touch with Whois XML API, the leading domain Whois, DNS, IP and cyber threat intelligence data provider to everyone from fortune 500 companies to government agencies and cybercrime units.

Whois XML API collected data on one million domains registered on the most popular eight TLDs by number of domain registrations. All are gTLDs apart from the ccTLD .CN, but some might surprise you.

The randomly selected sample was made up of 796,501 .COM domains, 84,153 .NET domains, 53,691 .TOP domains, 35,844 .ORG domains, 17,655 .INFO domains, 7,111 .CN domains, 3,840 .XYZ domains and 1,205 .BIZ domains.

Whois XML API looked at the number of unique domain names created since 2012. This was followed up by analysing how many domains were registered but did not renew their registration in the first year. As well as how many domains were registered by an initial registrant, but failed to renew and the domain was picked up by a potential squatter.

Renewal rates vary significantly by TLD.

The TLDs that saw the highest percentage of domains kept after a year were .NET, .ORG and .INFO, with renewal rates of 46%, 44% and 35% respectively.

The TLDs with the lowest percentage of renewals were .TOP, .BIZ and .CN, with renewal rates of 22%, 17% and 2% respectively.

Over two in five domains are left to expire each year

41% of the domains analysed were ditched altogether, with registrants allowing them to expire and become available to others.

The TLDs with the highest percentage of dropped domains were .CN with a huge 97%, .XYZ with 58% and .BIZ with 50%.

Those with the lowest portion of domains left to expire were .COM with 43%, .ORG with 29% and .NET with 19%.

29% of domains are re-registered by other users

29% of the domains in the sample were not renewed and instead re-registered by another user.

.NET (34%), .TOP (34%) and .BIZ (33%) were the TLDs with the highest re-registration rates.

.XYZ (17%), .INFO (16%) and .CN (1.10%) saw the lowest re-registration rates.

The average churn rate for domains is over 70%

Registrants chose not to keep 702,133 of the one million domains analysed: that’s a churn rate of 70%.

When this is broken down by TLD, we can see that the TLDs with the highest churn rates are .CN (98%), .BIZ (83%) and .TOP (78%).

Those with the lowest churn rates are .INFO (65.44%), .ORG (55.76%) and .NET (53.69%).


Alex Ronquillo from WhoIS XML API added: “Significant activity we’ve observed recently is likely due to trends in global entrepreneurship, but our clients are much more creative in analysis. I’ve learned that there is much more at play here – especially with new international privacy laws along with the prevalence of phishing and brand impersonation attacks.

“We believe that if the world’s most critical researchers are unable to back their theories with reliable data, we all fail to extract the narratives required to produce a safer, smarter future.”