Domain names are required to enable effective use of websites and email addresses and can be registered very easily. Since each name has to be unique on the Internet, the only condition imposed is the availability of the domain name within its top-level extension. For Luxembourg, the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is .lu and its infrastructure is operated by the RESTENA Foundation since 1992, the time when Luxembourg was first connected to the Internet. Twenty-seven years later, at the end of June 2019, the number of domain names registered in .lu surpasses the 100,000 mark. Leaving aside ‘reserved’ names, i.e. names mainly used to block a particular domain without using it, more than 97,000 .lu domain names are active on the web!
Impact on Luxembourg’s overall economy
To ensure the availability of these 100,000 domain names - which on a national basis results in an average of 1 in 6 inhabitants having a .lu domain name - the RESTENA Foundation relies on its highly qualified staff working for the service DNS-LU. In this context, DNS-LU is a key contact for more than 50 registrars accredited for the registration of .lu domain names, acting on behalf of individuals or companies wishing to use these names. The RESTENA Foundation also offers a direct registration service of .lu domain names via its own platform named my.lu and available online at www.dns.lu/en/online.
With DNS-LU, the RESTENA Foundation serves the economic actors of Luxembourg, the Greater Region, and the World. With over three quarters of .lu domain names held by companies and organizations and one quarter by individuals, a prime motivator is the promotion of activities, economic or not, carried out in Luxembourg. Not surprisingly, more than half of the domain names are registered to holders with residence in Luxembourg, followed by those located in France, Belgium and Germany. Altogether they represent more than 80% of the domain name holders.
Stability and growth for .lu
The RESTENA Foundation is a member of the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries (CENTR), an association for exchange, dialogue and innovation of country code domain registries in Europe. Compared to other CENTR members, the .lu domain name market is rather stable with the highest renew rate. The annual growth of .lu has been oscillating between 3 to 4% for a couple of years and no less than 89% of domain names get renewed.
“Not only do those who have a .lu keep it for a long time but there is also an increasing number of first time registrations - two major factors that clearly demonstrate both trust and stability of the .lu” says Guillaume-Jean Herbiet, Systems Engineer-PhD at RESTENA Foundation's DNS-LU service.
Moving towards ever more registration possibilities
Engineers at the RESTENA Foundation are currently working to open the one and two character domain names for registration, prohibited since 2000 mainly due to security issues that could not only cause confusion between names but also allow malicious redirections.
Since the beginning of the decade, the ban on registering 2-letter domain names has gradually become obsolete, and national authorities, such as the RESTENA Foundation for Luxembourg, are moving towards the reopening of one and two character names. For .lu, this should be announced during the first half of 2020.