Arnt Gulbrandsen
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.de Domains

Ever since I moved to Munich, I've been struck by the large number of TLAs in Germany, and also by the strange subdomains.

.de has no official subdomains, so people have invented both geographical subdomains and topical subdomains. Good examples are for anyone located in Munich (,,, and so on) and for movies (, etc).

Recently I came across a complete list of .de domains, so I started counting. Which TLA is the most popular? Which German "city subdomain" has the most domains?

Popular TLAs

All the TLAs are registed. When the natural TLA is taken, people have different strategies:

Add hyphens. There are 8111 domains like

Add -web or -online to make sure that people understand that not only does the company have a domain, it's even online! There are 6930 domains and only 1984 ones.

Add the company abbreviation. 5000 GmbH TLA companies have opted to call themselves etc, outnumbering -ag (1535) by a wide margin. Only 347 GbRs registered

Add the city name, ie. registering instead of In the big main German cities, Berlin leads the way with 2765. The next cities are Hamburg (1412), Munich (862), Cologne (852), Bremen (737), Hanover (648), Dresden (632), Stuttgart (595), Leipzig (589) and Frankfurt (549).

Most German cities appear to have approximately one TLA per 1200 inhabitants. Extrapolating from that, a million people live in dreamland (9412 domains). and about 300,000 people live in someplace called Bielefeld.

Add the industry's name. No less than 671 German publishers have domains like Web designers (730, ad agencies (543 and IT companies (547 also don't suffer from an overdose of imaginatin.

All of the above sometimes. is an example. I'm glad to say there are few of these.

Adding all these up, I find around 90,000 three-letter domains in the .de zone.

The most popular TLAs (counting ones in the above categories) are: WEB (35 domains out of 37 possible), SEX (34 domains of 37), PRO (34), JOB (34), BAU (33), ART (32), ABC (32), VIA (31), EDV (31), VIP (30), UNI (30), 123 (30), WWW (29), TOP (28), TCM (28), MAC (28), KFZ (27), COM (27), STB (26), NET (26), MCS (26), ITS (26), IBS (26), BUS (26), ASB (26), ACS (26), AAA (26), SOS (25), SMS (25), PSA (25), NLP (25) and IBB (25).

Some of those are words or other non-TLAs. But I suppose Germany's most popular TLAs must be on that list. To take a random example, IBS is registered as,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ibs-werbung. Several of them belong to companies called Innovative Bsomething Ssomething.

Big Cities

Of course TLAs aren't everything. Some Germans do register other domains. Here are the counts for the biggest geographic subdomains: Berlin: 26421, Hamburg: 12289, Muenchen: 8409, Cologne: 8007, Hannover: 5644, Bremen: 5362, Dresden: 5001, Leipzig: 4790, Stuttgart: 4774 and Frankfurt: 4754.

Seems that about 10% of domains in the domain are TLAs. The smaller cities are a little bit above 10%.

States is used for 3995 domains. Not very much. Even is more used, and Frankfurt is not very big compared to Bavaria. Both (8179) and (5646) are used more than

A few other states' names are used (2038, 3137, 4490, but most apparently are not. Perhaps because the names become oeverly long. There certainly aren't very many or domains.

Topical Domains

I mentioned The most popular domains of that kind are (26183 domains), (19634),,, (5609 portals! wow!), and (And of course and the other industry names.)


The most popular other words, independent of location within the domain name, are shop, in, service, web and immobilien.


My list contains 7682004 domains with an average length of 17 characters (including .de). Some average-length examples:, and

I cannot tell what the domains are used for. I did a few random lookups to see if I could spot any interesting patterns, but gave up when I discovered that was used for management coaching. I suppose.