Clearly, choosing the descriptive part of your domain name is important. But you also need to choose
which type of domain name you should buy. Should it be country-specific, or a more international .com?

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  Home > Workshops > Choosing & registering a domain name >

Types of domain names

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Clearly, choosing the descriptive part of your domain name is important. But you also need to choose which type of domain name you should buy. Should it be country-specific, or a more international .com?

.com names
There are many different types of domain name. If you are in the USA, or if you are outside the USA and are trading or intending to trade internationally, then by far the most popular is a domain name ending in .com.

These dot-com domain names are used by the vast majority of large companies, who have been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on branding the "dot-com" top domain in the minds of web users worldwide. In fact, .com names are so widespread that many people don't know other domain extensions exist! .com domains can be freely bought or sold by anyone

.com domains should be considered the equivalent of prime real-estate on the Web. Most companies will place a premium on owning a .com name over any other domain extension.

Other international domain names
Two other international top domains, .net and .org, are also popular. .net is officially reserved for network associations such as ISPs, but in practice anyone can register a .net name. .org is supposed to be for non-profit organizations, but again this rule is not enforced and anyone can buy .org names. You should think of .net and .org names as distant cousins to the almighty .com, less desirable certainly but not unbearably so. Anyone can register .net and .org domain names.

Some new top level domain names have also been introduced, of which the most important are .biz (another one for businesses) and .info (for information web sites). Again, there are no restrictions on which types of organisations can register these domain names. We took advantage of this opportunity to register "", which also points to this web site.

Country-specific domain names
Most countries now have their own top domains, such as .uk for the UK or .fr for France. The rules for buying domain names under each country top domain vary from country to country; always check before you buy! Some countries (such as France) will only allow you to buy a .fr name if you have a physical presence in the country.

If you are intending to trade in a particular country, then it is a marketing advantage to own a domain name linked to that country. In the United Kingdom, for example, is the most popular domain name extension.

Some countries have essentially sold their cyber-rights to enterprising entrepreneurs. For instance, anyone can pick up a .to domain name (Tonga) or a .cc domain name (Cocos (Keeling) Islands) and most people are not even aware that these were intended to be country-level top domains in the first place! A big success story is .tv, which brings a big annual income to the small island nation of Tuvalu.

Some companies are selling sub-domains of memorable domain names. For instance, you can buy a sub-domain of if you could not get the .uk domain name you wanted. These are NOT official, internationally sanctioned top domains, just companies essentially chopping up their own domain names into smaller pieces.

Choices - getting restricted
The choice of which top domain to register your domain name under depends on availability, on the impression you want to give, and on the reason why you are registering a domain name. Country-level top domains are often firmly associated with that particular country, so if you are working in an international company or organization, you're better off buying a .com name.

However, over 9,000,000 .com names have already been registered, so supply is very tight and you may have to compromise with a .net or .net.ukname. If you do business in one country but you also want to appear as international as possible, reserve both the .com and country-level top domain versions of your new domain name.


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