If you have an eagle eye then you may have noticed that web addresses have started to change. We all recognise the .com and .co.uk domain extensions but now we are starting to see ones such as .london, .news, .ninja or .solutions which can be used depending on the type of website or business that is being run and even where it is based.
There are a huge range of domain extensions now available and the number is set to grow dramatically over the next few years as more and more are registered. Choosing the right ones for your business will be vitally important if you want to maintain the integrity of your brand and make sure you cover all the bases.
There are two types of domain you can use: First tier endings use a notation such as .com or .uk whilst a second tier domain address uses something like .co.uk. The widening of the number of extensions is important if you run an SME because you will need to grab the most useful ones for your particular business. This is vital if you are looking to grow your brand and don’t want someone else taking a particular extension and using it to surf on the back of your success.
The most popular domain extensions for UK companies are currently the following:
- .com is the most well-known top tier extension and refers generally to international commercial enterprises. It is also the most difficult address to secure because of its popularity.
- .co.uk is a second tier extension and is generally used by both businesses and personal websites in the UK.
- .uk is, like .com a first tier domain extension and is currently reserved for those who already own the .co.uk version, however that restriction will only last 5 years and 1 of those has already gone since the launch – doesn’t time fly!
- .net came along later and was originally used for organisations that operated a network such as IP providers and communications companies. It later widened out and has now been used for almost as many websites as .com.
- .org and .org.uk are generally associated with charitable organisations both globally and in the UK but anyone can actually register for this extension.
- .business is a recent top tier domain extension that can be used for businesses and is ideal for SMEs, as is the older .biz extension which is more often used for B2B companies (though not exclusively).
- .me is currently being used primarily for personal sites such as blogs and online business resumes.
- .info extensions are more suitable for informational sites but can also be taken by businesses who perhaps want to provide a more detailed background to their products and services.
Some of the domain extensions relate to particular industries such as .casino for online gambling or .app for smartphone and tablet app development. Others relate to the area in which the business comes from such as .cymru or .london
With new extensions being released every month it can be challenging to keep on top of them all. Here is a list of extensions* suitable for small businesses in the UK. Be aware there are a few on list that maybe undesirable, like .xxx which is used for x-rated content or those that will be unavailable, like .ltd which is reserved for limited companies so you will be unable to register this domain unless your company is registered. Then of course common sense kicks in, do you really need yourdomain.plumbing if you are an accountant?
Large numbers of domain extensions will continue to be registered and there will probably be thousands to choose from in the future. You can spend a (not so) small fortune buying up all domain extensions relevant to your business, so which one is right for you? There are no hard and fast rules, except for restricted domains, this article’s purpose is to help to educate you when you are faced with the decision of which domain extension is right for you. There’s no doubt that exploring the different options for domain name extensions and actually registering for the ones that fall within the remit of your business has become a lot more time consuming and complicated. But if you want to protect your brand over the long term you will need to do the ground work and secure the extensions that are most relevant for you and your business.
If you want to keep an eye on the latest domain extensions as they launch then check out Fasthosts New Extensions and Release Dates, you can even pre-order domains in an effort to secure it before launch.
If you require more specific advice about domain extensions, feel free to call our helpful team on 01604 654545
*correct at time of publishing