Choice of Domain name extensions
The Domain name extension is the part of a domain name after the dot eg. www.your-domain-name.extension
Your choice of domain name extension can affect how your website and business is perceived. Domain name extensions are divided into three main groups
- Global Top Level Domains
- Country-specific domain names
- The "new" Generic Top Level Domains
Global Top Level Domains
- .com (commercial) - "dot com" This is most suited for a business that trades internationally although it can be used by non-commercial organisations and individuals
- .org (organisation) - "dot org" This is most suited for an international non-profit organisation although it can be used by non-profit organisations limited to one country or by individuals. It is not recommended for use with commercial companies
- .net (network) - "dot net" Originally intended for networks of computers this is often used when the desired domain name is not available with a .com extension
There are other top level global domain extensions .int (international organisations) eg un.int, .edu (education organisations) .gov (us government), .mil (us military) but their use is severely restricted. Note use of .com, .org or .net does not signify the country you are based or wish to indicate you are based.
Country specific Top Level Domains
Each country is allocated a two letter domain name extension and allowed to allocate domain names either directly with that domain name extension or at the "second level" to a sub-division of that domain name extension
Three examples of country specific domain name extensions are:
- .uk "dot uk" for UK registered domains
- .fr "dot fr" for French registered domains
- .de "dot de" for German registered domains
A full list of country specific domain names is detailed in the wikipedia article at the foot of this page whilst further information concerning each country's domain name extension is also available on wikipedia
We will look more closely at the UK domain name extension. Only recently have people been able to register directly under the top level country extension thus www.your-domain-name.uk. Registrations have been done at the second level under a number of sub-divisions (sub-domains)
- .co.uk (company) "dot co dot uk" - Ideal for a UK based business especially one that does not do any overseas business. Still many uk businesses use the .com domain name extension.
- .org.uk (organisation) "dot org dot uk" - Ideal for a UK based non-profit organisation or charity though many UK charities do use the .org domain name extension.
- .me.uk (me = personal) "dot me dot uk" - Used as an alternative sometimes for personal use or general us if the desired .co.uk or.org.uk domain names are not available. This is not as popular as the first two extensions.
There are a number of restriced use domain names which include .ac.uk (education), .gov.uk (uk government), .mod.uk, .mil.uk (uk military), .net.uk (network companies), .nhs.uk (the National Health Service), .police.uk (police), .sch.uk (schools)
There are two restricted domain name extensions that may be of interest... .ltd.uk and .plc.uk for limited and public limited companies. The domain names are further restricted to the actual registered legal company names.
The "new" Generic Top Level Domains
I have used the term "new" to describe the remaining non-country specific domain name extensions that have been added over a period of time since the original domain names
These are a couple of the more popular extensions:
- .info "dot info" - Intended for information sites, most suitable for a website that does not sell anything.
- .biz "dot biz" - Intended for business websites, possible as an alternative when the .com or .co.uk domain names are not available
A full list of the available domain name extensions is on wikipedia. Some of these extensions have negative associations and have been used extensively for spam and scam websites. It is advisable to fully research these extensions before registering a domain name with one.
Another domain name extension that is sometimes registered is .uk.com "dot uk dot com". This is essentially a subdomain of the domain name extension .com for the UK zone.
Other articles by Michael Fowler:
Free Domain names - Michael Fowler
Discussion of the Pros and Cons of Free domains, popular free domains available and their suitability for different websites.
Free Hosting - Michael Fowler
The Pros and Cons of using free hosting. A review of the free hosting available in the early days of the internet (1990 - 2000) and the free hosting options available today.
Hosting Reviews - Michael Fowler
A listing of leading website hosting companies with links to Review centre and Trust Pilot reviews