In 2017, Versign (registrar for the com domain name) announced that 1.3 million new domain names had been registered in the first three months of 2017. This brought the total amount of domain names registered (top level domains) to 330 million. The majority of the 330 million top level domains registered were either com or net domain names (143.6 million in total, with 128.4 million being com); which is not surprising, as com and net were two of the first top level domains created. The bulk of the remaining domain names (143.1 million in total) are country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as: .cn (china) 21.4 million; .uk (united kingdom) 10.6 million; .de (germany) 16.2 million; and .ru (russia) 6.4 million. Versign concluded (blog.verisign.com) that the Internet had grown in size at a rate of 3.7% (year on year).
So, if someone wishes to add their name to the growth of the Internet, and register a domain name, how do they go about it? It's a fairly simple process, many websites offer the ability to register a domain name with them, its just a matter of finding a domain name that is available at a top level domain (registrar websites provide a search function that searches the most popular top level domains), providing personal details (name and address), and then paying. Building a website and hosting it -- using the domain name registered -- is another matter entirely and wont be covered here. Some domain name registrars are also web hosts, but some are not. Its important to note that not all websites that provide a domain name registration service are a ICANN accredited registrar; instead, they are simple a third party reseller for a registrar. ICANN is the organisation that is responsible for managing the Domain Name System (DNS) and top level domains. ICANN accredits registrar's, who should have signed either the 2009 Registrar Accreditation Agreement or the 2013 Registrar Accreditation Agreement (preferable the 2013 agreement). Accredited registrar's have direct access to the top level domain registries (database of domain names registered within a specific domain, such as org, is a registry) and may prove a more reliable route -- when registering a domain name -- than doing so with a domain name reseller, who do not have a direct relationship to ICANN, and have not signed a ICANN accreditation agreement.
ICANN still maintain a list of their accredited registrar's, the majority of which are American companies. Not all registrar's provide a service to the general public, and some appear to be setup to provide a domain name registration service for resellers. Currently there are hundreds of accredited registrar's, and the list below just highlights those who currently have a homepage or provide registrations to the general public (such as 123reg and godaddy).