More than 4.7 million new domain names were registered during the first quarter of 2004 -- the most ever recorded in a three-month period, according to a report released by VeriSign, which operates the global registry for Web addresses ending in .com and .net.
That brings the total number of registered Web addresses to 63 million, approximately one for every 100 people living in the world, VeriSign said in a statement.
In addition, VeriSign said renewal rates, look-up rates and the percentage of domain names tied to live sites indicate that the current base of domain names is being used more actively than ever.
According to VeriSign, new records were set in the first quarter of 2004 in the areas of new registrations, renewal rates and the overall number of domain names under registration, up 21 percent from the same period in 2003. More than 72 percent of today's domain names now link to a live Web site, up from 55 percent in December 2002.
In addition, country code top-level domains account for a growing portion of overall domain names and currently represent 40 percent of all domain names registered in the world, according to the report.
"Though North America has the highest number of Internet users as a percentage of its population -- some 55 percent -- increasing Internet traffic is a reflection of a fast growing group of Internet users around the world," said Rusty Lewis, executive vice president of VeriSign's Naming and Directory Services, in the statement.
"For instance, 223 million people in Asia and 173 million people in Europe currently use the Internet on a regular basis, compared with around 175 million in North America. But, those Internet users represent only 6 percent and 22 percent, respectively, of the total populations of Asia and Europe."