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Domain extensions: the 411/the low-down

Example Domain NamesWhat is a domain extension?

Otherwise known as a TDL (top level domain), domain extensions are the suffix of your website name i.e the letters than come after the final dot in your URL.

For example, .com, .co.uk or .org. Domain extensions are introduced by an institution called ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers).

What are the different types of domain extensions?

gTLDs – These are the most common and familiar domain extensions, known as Generic Top Level Domains. This group used to be limited to .com, .org and .net – but has since grown to include many more diverse options.

grTLDs – Generic Restricted Top Level Domains require more information in order to acquire them. These might include options such as .biz, .name and .pro.

sTLDs – Sponsored Top Level Domains are reserved for specific groups with target audiences. This might include institutions, governments or large governing bodies. For example .edu and .gov.

ccTLDs – Country Code Top Level Domain are exactly what they say on the tin. They’re country specific extensions, such as .ie or .nz.

Can I have anything I want as a domain extension?

Not quite, but .com isn’t the be all and end all anymore! New domain extensions are paving the way for fun and creative site names. Here’s a few of the best, to give your website an edge.

.store

All you e-commerce whizzes – this one’s for you. Using .store let’s your customers know exactly where they’re headed, to your storefront.

.me

If you’re running a personal site, blog or contracting business, .me let’s people know that this is a solo focused site. They’re going to get some personality alongside your business offering.

.ly

This domain extension works nicely with site names that can easily turn into adverbs. For example: quick.ly, smart.ly, passive.ly. It’s also great for tools – like http://snip.ly and https://embed.ly

.app

Self-explanatory, if you’re marketing an app or using your site as a landing page to direct customer to your App Store or download.

.accountant .attorney .catering etc

Professions can now benefit from unique domain names for their industry. It looks established and ensures that your brand name is synonymous with your industry.

How do I choose an appropriate domain extension?

If in doubt, it’s better to keep it simple. For example, if you’re just starting out and there’s a possibility that your business may grow into new areas, it’s best not to niche down too much. However, if you’re targeting a specific geographic area or industry, then you could consider marrying your brand to a relevant extension.

Another thing to consider is the potential resale of your domain name. Just because you’ve bought mybusiness.com doesn’t mean that someone else won’t by mybusiness.org. Generally speaking, there is a higher demand for .com extensions and companies do buy up other websites with similar extensions.

For example, the lucky person who’d bought insurance.com for pennies, sold it for over $35.6 million in 2010. Sometimes, keeping .com might be the best option as it’s still highly sort after and universally trusted.

Need to buy your domain but don’t know where to start? Take a look at our handy Domain Name tool to see if your chosen site is available. If it is, we can guide you through the process of connecting your domain, setting up your SSL certificates and even establishing your fully customised email address.

Take a look at our domain services, or get in touch.

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