What type of domain should you have? New domain types are continually being introduced but some should be used with caution and certainly not as a primary website address.
Most common domain types
The most common international domain names are: .co.uk, .com .net .org .info and .biz.com. These are the safest choices and can be used by almost all websites. The most important domain types for small businesses in the UK are .co.uk and .com. and if you can secure both of these simultaneously you should snap them up. In the UK .co is short for ‘company’ and although .com is used for company in the United States you do not have to be based in the US to use it. Many UK companies now use a .com domain, especially if they do international business.
Securing the .net and .org name are also useful ways to protect your business identity. Even though .net was originally meant for network organizations and .org was meant for non-profit organizations they can be used for all kinds of web sites.
- .co.uk – the standard UK domain name suffix
- .com – the most popular domain suffix. Although originally intended for UK commercial organisations, now used universally.
- .org – organisational domain suffix, global.
- .net – originally intended for network related companies (short for ‘network’), but now used generally.
- .org.uk – originally intended for non commercial organisations such as charities but now available for general use.
- .plc.uk – used for UK public limited companies.
- . info – a new domain suffix, intended for sites that provide information. It is one of the most successful newer domains with 4million .info names registered by March 2007.
- .me.uk – individual domain name suffix.
- .ltd.uk – used for UK limited companies.
- .biz – a shortened version of ‘businesses used for general information and business sites.
- .tv – short for ‘television’ – often used by broadcasters.
- .eu – European Union suffix.
- .mobi – For sites delivering services to mobile devices
There are also approximately 250 different international domains containing their own two-letter country code extension. Since each country code is managed independently, registration rules can differ greatly from country to country. Examples
- fr – France
- es – Spain
- ir – Ireland
- jp – Japan
There are also domain types which should be used with caution and certainly not as your primary website address. For example .chat, .game, .kids .shop etc. These domain names may look good, and most of them are not registered yet so you might be able to snap up something that may be valuable in the future, but at present web surfers need a plug-in to view your site and search engines will not be capable of registering your website.
Each country has its own registration authority. For example, NOMINET is the UK naming authority which controls the registration of .co.uk, .org.uk, .ac.uk (academic), .plc.uk, .ltd.uk, .gov.uk (government), .sch.uk (schools), .net.uk (Internet infrastructure providers), .nhs.uk (for NHS organisations), .police.uk (for police forces) and .mod.uk (Ministry of Defence) domains. Each national registration authority has its own rules and regulations (and indeed prices) for domain name registration.