According to latest statistics by IRNIC, active top-level .IR domains have reached to over 940 thousand. The number of active .IR domains in the past year were around 750 thousand.
.IR is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Iran and is managed by IRNIC which has been established since 1994. IRNIC is associated with the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences. Though .IR domains are intended for entities connected to Iran, the domain is also available for registration by non-Iranians.
According to IRNIC’s daily statistics on its website, up until now over 931 thousand .IR domains have been registered. CO.IR and ایران. are the second most popular domain names with 4,019 and 1943 registrants. What’s interesting about these statistics is that the number of active GOV.IR domains are now 258, while the statistics for February 2016, were 289. Domains names of NET.IR are still the least active top-level domains in Iran with 36 registrants. NET.IR is intended for ISPs and network companies in the country.IRNIC currently has 56 active resellers in Iran and 7 non-Iranian ones in other countries.
Although Iran has the biggest number of registered country code top-level domains (ccTLD) in the region and has one of the biggest annual growth of domain names, this number could be a lot more. Currently, instead of blogs and websites, many of the content creators in Iran prefer using Telegram and Instagram as their primary platform. Previously in August 2017, Head of the Research Center of Iran’s National Center for Cyberspace announced that Telegram channels have broken records for the number of Farsi content over the Internet. According to this center Farsi web pages over the Internet are estimated to be around 1.2 billion while the Farsi content over Telegram messaging app is almost reaching to this number. However, unlike the Farsi web pages, the content on Telegram channels is not searchable and this puts most of the content created on this platform disposable.
Do the sanctions have anything to do with the growth of .IR domains in Iran?
The popularity of .IR domains are mostly due to its price difference comparing to .COM. Currently the annual rate of registering a .IR domain name is 6,000 Tomans ($1.5) while for .COM it’s 43,000 Tomans ($10.75). Despite the sanctions, Iranians can easily register a .COM domain through Iranian resellers which get their services from major domain name registrars in other countries.
In August 2017, Resello, a Dutch firm which acts as a domain registrar with many Iranian clients announced that the company would be applying some restrictions to resellers, customers and contacts from countries that are subject to sanctions by the international community. What’s surprising for us is that despite these “policy restrictions” Iranians can still use the services of Resello, but they have to pay a significantly higher price. Some have said that this announcement seemed more like a ransom!
After this announcement, Iranian resellers had to move their client’s domains to other domain registrars. Although Iranians don’t have any problems to register for an international domain name, some fear that other domain registrars would pursue the same policy.
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