7 February 2022
By Tom Collins
Businesses in Cork built websites and online stores in direct response to locked-down economy, according to .IE, Ireland’s country domain manager
Businesses, organisations, clubs, and individuals across Cork registered 5,214 new .ie domains in 2021, according to new figures from .IE, Ireland’s country domain manager.
The number represents 28.6% growth in new .ie domain registrations in Cork compared to pre-pandemic 2019.
The 2021 .IE Domain Profile Report, which explores and analyses the .ie database, shows that 11,859 new .ie domains were registered in Munster and 57,530 on the island of Ireland, making 2021 the second-best year on record for new .ie domain registrations. As of 31 December 2021, there was a total of 330,108 .ie domains in the database.
Lockdown and the digital economy
According to the 2021 .IE Domain Profile Report, for most of last year, the rate of new .ie domain registrations largely reflected Government lockdown policy.
“In the months of 2021 when Ireland was in strict lockdown and non-essential retail was closed, new .ie domain registrations surged,” said David Curtin, Chief Executive of .IE.
However, the pandemic’s link to new .ie domain registrations appeared to ‘decouple’ in August as .ie domain registrations once again increased despite the Government’s accelerated reopening plans.
“We believe this decoupling occurred when it did because the Irish economy has, for the most part, exited the ‘acute response’ phase of the pandemic. Businesses have factored-in the uncertainty of restrictions and reduced trading ability to their commercial operations and planning.
“SMEs are also no longer simply reacting to the pandemic. Instead, consumer behaviours are changing, and SMEs are changing with them. Businesses in Cork and across Ireland are investing in new websites, integrating e-commerce technology, and making use of productivity-enhancing tools all year round because they now recognise the huge role they play in profitability and customer acquisition.”
The importance of cybersecurity
54% of all .ie websites are secured with a security certificate. A much smaller percentage of .ie domains use other cybersecurity features, such as DNSSEC (0.16%), which adds an additional layer of cryptographic security to a domain, and Registry Lock (0.03%), which protects a domain from malicious or accidental changes.
“It’s encouraging to see that the majority of .ie websites are secured with a security certificate, which ensures that consumers are protected from having their personal details stolen by cyber-criminals during an online transaction,” said Mr Curtin.
“However, comprehensive domain cybersecurity entails using the full range of available tools, such as DNSSEC and Registry Lock. While the number of .ie domain owners using these tools is increasing, the base number is still small.
“Given the clear and serious impact of the HSE ransomware attack last year, as well as myriad other high-profile incidents, it’s very important that all .ie domain owners, particularly businesses and those that have a responsibility to protect sensitive information, are doing as much as possible to protect their users and their internal systems from cyberattacks. We urge all businesses in Cork to review their cybersecurity in 2022.”
Other .ie domain figures
At the end of December 2021, the .ie domain accounted for 52.6% of all top-level domains hosted in Ireland, an increase of 1.6 percentage points compared with the same month in 2020. In comparison, .com accounted for 30.8% of all domains, followed by .uk (7.6%) and .eu (2.3%).
At 6.5% year-on-year growth, the .ie domain remains one of the fastest growing country domains in Europe, behind only .ee (Estonia, +8.8%) and .pt (Portugal, +10.2%) and ahead of .fr, .de, and .uk.