Introduced7 November 1997
TLD typeCountry code top-level domain
RegistryDot TK (run by BV Dot TK)
SponsorGovernment of Tokelau and Teletok
Intended useEntities connected with Tokelau
Actual useSees some use, mostly not in Tokelau
Registration restrictionsYes, for free domains only
StructureRegistrations are taken directly at the second level; domains are redirected to actual website addresses within a frame, or point directly to a webserver or nameserver.
DocumentsRegistration Agreement (free domains)
Registration Agreement (paid domains)
Dispute policiesUDRP (paid domains only)
Registry websiteDot.TK

.tk is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand in the South Pacific.

The .tk TLD is managed by Teletok, a local telecommunications company who outsourced the domain registry operation to a Dutch company Freenom, who was additionally also acting as a registrar. As Freenom offered free registration, the .tk ending was often associated with malicious activities like phishing, spam and cybersquatting. In 2023, Freenom stopped offering new .tk registrations in their registrar business as a result of a lawsuit with Meta. Their registry operations for other registrars were not affected by this. Freenom announced it would exit the domain registry and registrar business in February 2024.

Teletok opened negotiations with the domain registry operator of .nz, for help in managing .tk after Freenoms exit.[1]


Tokelau allows any individual to register domain names. Users and small businesses were able to register any number of domain names free of charge (with some restrictions).[2] In addition to the name itself, users can opt to forward their web traffic using HTML frames and their email traffic, with a maximum of 250 addresses per user log in, or use full DNS, either via their own or third-party servers, or by using Dot TK's servers. There are content restrictions for free domains, banning sites containing sexual content, drug use, hate speech, firearms, and spam or copyright infringement.[2] Dot TK requires free domains to have a regular traffic of visitors, and if a domain's redirect target does not work (even temporarily) the domain is taken offline. If a domain violates any of these terms, it is replaced by a Sedo advertisement page, and no advance warning is given.

Dot TK also provides .tk websites with the option to join a network called TiKinet, a close-knit network that links sites to each other based on keywords called TiKilinks. The network is expected to increase traffic to the websites, many of which are personal sites and blogs operated by individuals who otherwise would have no way to advertise their sites.[3]

To be able to get a "special" .tk domain name the user must buy it. This includes trademark domain names for most Fortune 500 companies and common dictionary terms. Paid domain names cost US$19.90 for the first two years. Potentially valuable names with fewer than 4 characters are similarly unavailable for free registration and must generally be purchased at a premium price of over $1000.

Dot TK launched a new service called TweaK for Twitter users in April 2010, offering a URL shortening service that uses less space than many others, and for Facebook where the user can rename Facebook account pages with a .tk name.

In 2016, Nominet released a world map where each country was resized according to the popularity of its top-level domain. The .tk domain ranked first worldwide with 31,311,498 registered domain names (China (.cn) ranked 2nd with 16,810,737 registered domain names). The revenues from the .tk top-level domain business represent about 16 of the island's annual income.[4]


In 2006, McAfee conducted a survey in which they claim out of the 95 percent most trafficked web sites, .tk domains were twice as likely as the global average to be used for "unwanted behaviours", including scams such as phishing and spam.[5] However, in 2008 McAfee reported that the threat of scams like phishing and spam was significantly reduced with .tk and that other top level domains such as .com and .net were much more used in such scams.[6]

A 2011 report by the Anti Phishing Working Group blamed Tokelau's bad reputation on the registry Dot TK. It acquired the right to operate the top level domain and is responsible for the current free registration system. .tk domains logged 2533 of 11768 (~21.5%) total phishing attacks in the second half of 2010 Internet-wide.[7]

A 2018 report by Michelle Base-Bursey stated that, "The third most prevalent TLD for phishing attacks is .tk, the country code for Tokelau, a territory north of New Zealand in the South Pacific."[8]

As of 2016, .cc, .com, .pw, and .tk domain names accounted for 75% of all malicious domain registrations.[9]

On 3 March 2023, Meta filed a lawsuit against Freenom alleging cybersquatting violations and trademark infringement, and new domain registrations were halted.[10] The lawsuit references a 2021 study on the abuse of domains conducted by Interisle Consulting Group, which discovered that the ccTLDs operated by Freenom made up five of the top ten TLDs most abused by phishers. In November 2023, ICANN terminated its registrar accreditation agreement with Freenom due to failure to cure breaches of the agreement within 21 days of notice.[11] On 12 February 2024, Freenom announced that it had settled the lawsuit with Meta under undisclosed terms, and that it would exit the domain name and registry business.[12]

By early March 2024, around 99% of Freenom domains (mostly those under .tk, .cf, and .gq), roughly 12.6 million, were no longer accessible, although it was reported that some paid domains were still active. Most of these domains hosted their DNS with Cloudflare, which consequently saw a 22% drop in its number of hosted domains.[13]


  1. ^ "How a tiny Pacific Island became the global capital of cybercrime". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 24 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b "Free Domain Terms and Conditions" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  3. ^ Narain, Divya (19 December 2007). "Dot TK Websites Now Interlinked to One Another". TMCnet. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2008.
  4. ^ Frank Jacobs (13 March 2016). "Tokelau: The World's One True Online Superpower". Bigthink.com. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  5. ^ Field, Michael (16 March 2007). "Pacific atolls host world's most dangerous websites". The Age. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  6. ^ Keats, Shane (4 June 2008). "Mapping the Mal Web, Revisited" (PDF). McAfee. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 August 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2008.
  7. ^ Pauli, Darren (27 April 2011). "Pacific atoll a phishing haven". ZDNet. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  8. ^ "Phishing epicenters: The top 5 TLD used in today's phishing attacks" Michelle Base-Bursey, Wandera, 07 March 2018. Accessed 2021-05-05.
  9. ^ Judah, Jacob (2 November 2023). "How a tiny Pacific Island became the global capital of cybercrime". MIT Technology Review. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  10. ^ "Sued by Meta, Freenom Halts Domain Registrations – Krebs on Security". 7 March 2023. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  12. ^ https://www.freenom.com/en/freenom_pressstatement_02122024_v0100.pdf
  13. ^ Mutton, Paul (15 March 2024). "Cloudflare loses 22% of its domains in Freenom .tk shutdown". Netcraft. Retrieved 18 March 2024.