35,225 new .ie domains were registered in 2015, or 96 a day, a 13% increase on 2014 and the highest annual number since 2011.

The figures were announced today in the latest .ie Domain Profile Report published by the IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the company responsible for the management and administration of Ireland’s official internet address .ie (“dot ie”).

Net registrations (new .ie domain registrations less non-renewed .ie domains) were 12,929 in 2015; this is the highest recorded number since 2011, and a 48% increase on 2014.

2015’s .ie registrations bring the total number of .ie domains to 210,839. The .ie database has increased in size by 36% over the last five years.

The .ie Domain Profile Report highlighted other key findings:

· In 2015, private and public limited companies made up nearly 50% of all new .ie registrations, followed by sole traders at 25%.

· Counties Dublin, Cork and Galway accounted for 58% of all new .ie registrations in 2015.

· Dublin, with 71, has the highest number of .ie domains per 1,000 people, followed by Carlow (52) and Wicklow (48). Donegal, with 18 .ie domains per 1,000 people, has the lowest rate in the Republic of Ireland.

· 64% of new .ie domains in 2015 were registered in Leinster, followed by 17% in Munster; 8% in Connacht; and 4% in Ulster. 7% were registered overseas.

· Internationally, Ireland, with 46, ranks 17th in the EU for number of country domains per 1,000 people, ahead of France (45) and Spain (39), but behind countries with similar populations, like Norway (134) and Denmark (233).

Commenting on the latest .ie Domain Profile Report, David Curtin, Chief Executive of IEDR, said: “96 .ie domains were registered every day last year, a 13% increase on 2014. This is a very encouraging number. Considering almost 75% of all new .ie domain registrations in 2015 were by companies and sole traders, this rise correlates with positive trends in the wider economy and represents a positive leading indicator of business confidence.

“For Irish businesses, there are significant benefits and advantages to registering a .ie domain name. With .ie, a business or organisation is immediately ‘identifiably Irish’. For businesses trading at home, it signals trust and familiarity; for those advertising abroad, it promises Irish authenticity. As IEDR actively manages the .ie domain database, we ask each business or individual to provide a tangible link or connection to Ireland, so .ie domains are by default safer and more trustworthy.

“There is room for improvement, however. While there has been a slight increase in the number of .ie domains per 1,000 people since the second half of 2015, Ireland still ranks behind many of its EU peers, and significantly behind those with similar population sizes, like Norway and Denmark.

“There are also clear regional disparities in .ie uptake within Ireland. The three big cities dominate the .ie domain space, with rural Munster, Connacht and Ulster lagging behind, quite substantially in some counties. Ongoing infrastructural problems, like a lack of broadband and access to digital enterprise programmes, are stifling growth and innovation.

“Government and industry must continue to work together to get rural Ireland online, building websites and engaging in e-commerce. Access to the global digital economy has transformative effects on business. Reflecting our commitment in this regard, IEDR runs the annual OPTIMISE Fund which awards €150,000 worth of services to fifteen Irish SMEs and micro-enterprises keen to improve their digital presence and engage in e-commerce,” said Mr Curtin.

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