Before you start a business, you must have a location for it. Whether you sell custom hats from your living room or accounting services from an office space, your business needs to exist somewhere and have an address. The same goes for an online business. Every online business has an address. That address is made up of a domain name and a domain name extension. For example, a typical address is
“Myorganization” is the domain name. “.org” is the domain name extension (TLD). To start a website, you probably know a name registration is required. Usually, to register a name, you do a domain search to see if your choice has already been registered. If that name or a variation of that name is available, you register it, wait to get confirmation, then start your site.
The second part of your address, or extension, is fairly important because it does two things: it is part of what directs traffic to your site and it tells visitors something about your site. For example, a .com site is usually a business site while an .edu site is an educational one. I will explain the main types of domain name extensions so you can make a good choice.
Along with general domain extensions, there are also restricted use ones as well. These extensions are reserved for those who apply for them and usually belong to a specific group or organization. These include,
.edu—used by schools and educational organizations
.xxx—restricted for use by adult entertainment sites
These extensions are known as country code extensions. There are quite a few of them and many require that the person registering the domain name live in that country or that the site is based out of that country. Also, most small country code extensions are not really searchable outside of that country.
For example my website in Antigua could have the domain name
The second part, “.ag” in the country code for Antigua.
Some ccTLDs give you credibility among the locals who would visit your site. In other cases, visitors learn that sites with their country’s extension are full of spam (junk information). Country code extensions are often more expensive than a nonrestricted gTLD. If you want to choose a ccTLD, research to see if it is searchable and would have a good reputation.
Starting in 2012 some companies could select new domain name extensions (still called TLDs). The idea was to have creative extensions and more options. Now you can select .accountant, .photography, .tips or variety of others.
Despite the hype, these are not as popular as was hoped. The list of available extensions was supposed to expand quickly as companies grabbed them up. In actual practice, the extensions are interesting but not as searchable or as trusted as .com. However, there are creative ways to make an address with a new TLD such as
These extensions are searchable both locally and around the globe but haven’t drawn interest like the popular gTLDs.
When selecting a domain name and extension, realize you have choices. I would suggest you choose your extension based on these three criteria.
Will your domain name be easy to find in a search? (Also consider SEO factors of the site itself)
Will visitors remember the address to your site when they want to look it up again?
How much will you pay for yearly for your domain name?