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Identifying Benign Websites: The Demise of the Alexa Top Million

What Exactly Does “Top Domains” Mean?

For decades, the free Alexa Top Million websites list has been used by numerous organizations and security products as a whitelist for benign websites. While not foolproof, whitelists like the Alexa Top Million are valuable as a coarse-grained way of culling out domain names that have a high probability of being safe.

However, Amazon announced last year they will be retiring on May 1, 2022, meaning those who are using it now will experience failures in just a few weeks. While there are alternative options available, the definition of what “top domains” means is subjective. The good news is thatDomainTools has some thoughts on where to go from here when Alexa shuts down.

In this presentation, Ultimate Windows Security and DomainTools will:

  • Discuss a brief history of the Alexa Top Million websites lists and its use cases
  • Present the implications of the Alexa’s pending retirement on May 1, 2022
  • Explore the effectiveness of the alternative websites available post retirement of the Alexa
  • Introduce the audience to a resource called Tranco, and the practicality of aggregating multiple lists into an average ranking