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Top Choices for Top-Level Domains (TLDs)

6 min read

I’m generally a .com (DOT com) kind of business person. The last few letters in a domain name—take www.mycompanysite.com for example—represent the “top-level” domain. In this example, the .com is the TLD. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) coordinates the Domain Name System (DNS), and other quite relevant and core Internet functionality. They, and other sources, remind us that of the original seven generic TLDs that were created in 1985–.com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and org–.com was used for commercial purposes (companies), .net was used for companies involved in computer networking, and.org (for organization) was used for not-for-profits. That set of conventions didn’t last, however, and now .com, .net., and .org can be used without restrictions. That means, you can choose the TLD you prefer, as long as the domain name is available.

If you plan to open your doors for a new business soon and/or will set up a new website, make sure to do your due diligence before choosing the domain name: what if the website name you wanted was already taken? If a domain name is taken, while there are options (you could approach the owner and ask if s/he would sell), there are also workarounds. You may choose to ‘settle’ for a TLD that’s a country code. Using our fictitious example above, if you couldn’t get the .com, you may still be able to obtain a .ca (or Canada), .us (for America), or one of the 250+ other country code TLDs that exist.

So what’s best for you? For the purposes of this short tip, let’s restrict the argument to .com, .net or .org. The answer is straightforward: these are unrestricted now, so you can choose the one that you feel best represents you, the nature of your business, or your company.

If you want a .com but can’t get it, you could choose a country code as mentioned. Another way around the problem might be to register a domain name like this: www.myvacompanysite.com. In this example, the “va” part could stand for virtual assistance, so you’re still able to get more or less what you want. Alternately, you could check to see if the .net or .org version of your domain name is available.

For a good article on the topic of which TLD you should choose, I recommend an About.com piece by Jennifer Kyrnin. You can find it here: http://webdesign.about.com/od/domains/a/dot_com_versus_dot_biz.htm. In addition, the prestigious organization w3.org (Tim Berners-Lee, the man who created the World Wide Web, is behind this organization) has something to say about TLDs like .mobi and .xxx. You can find Berners-Lee article on the same here: http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/TLD.

Need a domain? You can buy it here: www.cybercletchdomains.com

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