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Small business domain names – What types are there?

November 6, 2011

If you are thinking of setting up a website for your business, one of your first tasks will be to choose a suitable domain name to suit your venture. With dozens of domain name types available these days, which ones should you make sure you secure for your business?

We have listed the key domain name types below:

Domain Name Types

  • co.uk – the UK’s standard domain name suffix. It’s vital you have it.
  • com – short for ‘commercial’ this is the most popular domain suffix on earth.
  • org – used by global non-profit organisations.
  • net – short for ‘network’, used infrequently these days.
  • org.uk – used by UK non-profit or charitable organisations.
  • plc.uk – for use by UK public limited companies.
  • info – a new domain suffix, short for information provider.
  • me.uk – individual domain name suffix.
  • ltd.uk – for use by UK limited companies of the same name.
  • biz – a shortened version of ‘business’.
  • tv – originally the suffix for the Polynesian island of Tuvalu but now frequently used by television broadcasters.
  • eu – European Union suffix.
  • mobi – For sites delivering services to mobile devices

In addition to these domain name types, a multitude of newer ones have appeared over the past few years – including country-specific suffixes (e.g. “.co” – Colombia, and “.at” – Austria), which have an alternative meaning in addition to providing a unique domain name type for the country in question.

As far as most people are concerned, the most important domain types for small businesses in the UK are .co.uk (for obvious reasons), followed by .com – the original, and most powerful suffix. Although many of the newer domain names may appear ‘clever’, most potential customers want to be able to trust a website before going any further. The .co.uk domain, in particular, has been proven to provide some reassurance to web visitors, in contrast to more niche domains, such as .mobi.

Ideally, you should secure the top two domains (.com and .co.uk) simultaneously. We’ve always recommended getting hold of the .net and .org names to protect your business identity. These are next in line of the most popularly registered domain name type.

You might also want to secure some of the other domain name suffixes to prevent other companies from buying variations of your website name in the future, even if you don’t intend using them yourself.

New variants are invented all the time, so as long as you’ve got the most important ones, it really is up to you if you want to buy up all possible variants of your domain name identity. Each different domain you buy will cost extra, so think hard whether it’s worth buying the less common suffixes. Don’t forget that you will also be liable for the costs of renewing your domain names ever few yeras.

If you want to pick up some of the other domain name types on this list, we recommend Easily. We’ve used them since 1999 for all our domain name needs.

For ideas on choosing a good domain name try our Top 10 business domain name tips.