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Domain extensions and their meaning

Tola Osadugba 0

Strategic positioning is important for your website when choosing a domain extension. The right domain extensions can affect your website traffic, and even the way people perceive your business online. Now that you are ready to have a website, you are looking for which domain extension will suit your business. This article will explain the different domain extensions and what it means.

Choosing the right domain extensions

My first advice to anyone looking to register a business online is to go for a Top-level domain (TLD). This is because a Top-level domain is the commonest type of domain for commercial and business use. Having a .com is great for business but might not be the right choice for an NGO. The same thing goes for registering a school with .net which is actually meant for networking companies.

Types Of Domain

There are different types of domain extensions and some people use different extensions for different reasons.

Top Level Domain (TLD) 

A top-level domain is a domain at the DNA root zone of the domain name system of the internet. The top-level domains are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). They oversee all the approval process for the new proposed TLD for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Types of Top Level Domain extensions

  • Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) that are applicable
    • .com (Commercial) – This TLD is for commercial organisation use, but it changed over time and became the most popular TLD for any website or business.
    • .net  (Network) – This is mainly for networking companies as the name implies so it is common amongst internet service providers and network technology companies. There was no restriction and soon became available for any business or organisation interested in getting a .net
    • .org (Organisation) – Common among non-profit organisations, it has now become a domain for not just non-profit organisations but also schools and businesses.
    • .info (information) – This is for informational sites, it is unrestricted and available to all internet users.
    • .edu (Education) – This TLD is strictly for schools and educational institutions in the USA. Schools outside the US use .edu together with their country-level domain to differentiate one from the other. E.g www.oauife.edu.ng 
    • .gov (Government) – This is restricted to government agencies across the world. The American system uses .gov but other countries use .gov together with their country-level domain. Example is www.ekitistate.gov.ng 

A subcategory of the Top Level Domain is the generic TLD which is for general purposes.

Other examples are:

  • Other Generic top-level domains that are for specific use are:
    • .mobi (mobile) – This is strictly for creating a mobile version of a website. It is for mobile users.
    • .name (name) – A way to personalise your website online, so the domain extension is strictly for names.
    • .pro (professions) – A variant for professionals in the medical or legal sectors online.
    • .travel (travel) – Mostly used by travel industries and airline companies
    • .coop (cooperatives) – Cooperative companies use this to differentiate their businesses from all other financial businesses online.
    • .biz (business) – This is for all businesses and is unrestricted to all users.
    • .aero (air-transport) – Another domain extension for airline companies and aeroplane manufacturing companiesĀ 
Whogohost domain registry

Country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) 

This is for different countries and some consider it to be used for vanity purposes while others think it is a way to differentiate a business location. These ccTLDs are over 250 across the world all of which is linked to the IANA.

  • Examples are:
    • .us – short form for USA
    • .ng – Hello Nigerians šŸ˜‰
    • .au – added to domains in Australia 
    • .ca – for small businesses in Canada
    • .de – for people living in Germany
    • .uk – united kingdom residents
    • .ly – Libya, but people use it to register URL shorteners like bit.ly or ow.ly
    • .tv -considered to be from Tuvalu but now commonly used in the television industry
    • .fm – Many use it for radio but it originated from the Federal States of Micronesia
    • .me – Montenegro country but now used for individuals and readily available worldwide
    • .cc – it is actually from Cocos islands but now common for commercial companies or creative commons etc
    • .co – Columbia, but I don’t think they care that people now use it for corporations and commerce.
    • .xyz – A new generation domain extension formed from generations x, y and z. Some think it is the new .com, others think it is the commonest in Asia. We just like it and think it is a cool domain extension.

In Conclusion,

These domain extensions and many more of the 1500+ top-level domains online are the different ways you can express yourself or brand your business online. Whichever domain extension you settle for, make sure it complements your business or personal brand and communicates your industry.

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