Skip to main content


Domain Extensions and Mastodon

James Koole on December 13, 2022

There’s a lot happening in the fediverse these days, and new top-level domain extensions (TLDs) are playing a key role.

Since the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk (and the various events that followed), there’s been a lot of movement from Twitter to Mastodon. It’s a federated micro-blogging platform that is a lot like Twitter in some respects and quite a bit different in others.

There are lots of articles and posts about Mastodon and how to get started, so we won’t rehash all that here. But one interesting thing about the growth of the fediverse is that it’s often happening using new TLDs.

The logo for the .social domain extension in orange with the word .social with a chat icon in the letter o.

The top Mastodon instance is currently and a few of the other larger instances also use the .social domain extension. But .social isn’t the only new TLD seeing growth over the last couple of months.

Other TLDs in the top 50 Mastodon instances include .community, .cafe, .top, .exchange, .party and .world. Some Mastodon instances are focused on specific geographical areas as well, and new TLDs like .scot are popular as are country-code domains like .ca, .uk, .de, and others.

The big winner, though, has to be .social, which is by far the top choice for Mastodon instance domain names.

According to nTLDstats, which compiles data about domain sales across all registrars, there were about 26,808 .social domains registered on September 1, 2022. As of December 12, 2022, that number was 33,595. That’s more than 6,700 new .social domains added just in the last few months.

A chart showing the growth of .social domain registrations between November 2021 and December 2022. The growth is fairly steady until a dramatic rise starting in November of 2022.
Growth of .social domains over the last year. Source:

To put that growth in perspective, they added 4,414 domains in the entire year between September 1, 2021, and September 1, 2022. Suffice it to say, growth in .social domain registrations has been substantial.

Here on Hover, we’ve seen a similar pattern with sales of .social domains being way up over the preceding months. It went from a TLD that was outside our top 50 TLDs in terms of new registrations by month to being well into the top ten!

We recognized that .social was the TLD to use when setting up a Mastodon instance. So when our parent company Tucows opted to join the fediverse, was the natural choice. If you are on Mastodon, give Hover a follow.