Abuse of Top-Level Domains (TLDs)


This section of the report covers the distribution of child sexual abuse URLs found to be operating under each website’s Top-Level Domain (TLDs). In this analysis, each recorded URL may relate to a single image instance of child sexual abuse or multiple images identified on a domain operating under a specified TLD.

  • 238 Top-Level Domains were identified as being abused to serve child sexual abuse material over the year. This represents an increase of 14% from 209 TLDs identified in 2022 (and 162 TLDs identified in 2021).

The abuse of TLDs can be further broken down as follows:

  • 143 Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) were abused, an increase of 47% from the 97 gTLDs identified in 2022;
  • 95 Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) were abused, a decrease of 15% from the 112 ccTLDs identified in 2022.

For volume analysis purposes, the webpage reports for www.anywebsite.com, www.anywebsite.com/forum/page1 and www.anywebsite.com/images/girls.html would be counted as three separate instances of child sexual abuse attributable to the .com TLD.

Top 10 TLDs by volume of actioned reports

  • .pw - 108,852
  • .al - 29,628
  • .net - 20,890
  • .com - 19,852
  • .fun - 17,414
  • .cc - 16,914
  • .to - 11,805
  • .com.ua - 9,350
  • .de - 8,123
  • .pics - 5,117

Hover or click chart segments for values.


The .pw TLD has its origins as ccTLD for the Republic of Palau. It is also sometimes presented as a TLD representation of ‘Professional Web’, which is marketed as an attractive TLD for professionals to use. It is the TLD for the second year in a row that has seen the highest level of child sexual abuse material.

  • Most of the criminal content identified under .pw was attributed to 58 Image Host sites which collectively were responsible for 107,182 of the 108,000 instances of child sexual abuse found on this TLD.
  • The domains identified on .pw were traced to be hosted across 25 different countries, none of which were Palau itself.
  • Of the 238 TLDs identified, .pw accounted for 40% of all actionable content across TLDs.

The top 10 listed TLDs in our analysis are subject to an expected level of fluctuation each year which can be influenced by several factors including high volume Images Hosts and Forums as well as persistent recidivist child sexual abuse commercial sites which choose to register their domains under a particular TLD of choice.

  • In 2022 the .de domain was identified in a comparatively low number of reports (536) reports rising to 8,123 reports in 2023. This dramatic increase represents a rise of 1,415%.

Unlike the abuse of the .pw TLD, the .de ccTLD entered the top 10 URL listing for the first time directly because of unprecedented levels of dedicated commercial distribution of child sexual abuse material. 

What can we do about this abuse?

Our Domain Alerts help our Members in the domain registration sector prevent the abuse of their service by preventing criminals registering websites with a known child sexual abuse history being reregistered on additional TLDs.