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Cheap and reliable places to buy a .io domain name

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The .io domain extension is a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) that is officially assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory (a British overseas territory). However, it is mostly treated as a generic top-level domain (gTLD) by Internet users and also by search engines.

Anyone can register a .io domain and use it for any reason (with the exception of pornographic content which the registry prohibits). This TLD is usually used for tech-related websites, since in technical terms “I/O” is an abbreviation for input/output.

Many startups opt for a .io domain name for their company because it’s much easier to find an appropriate name that is available for registration in this extension, as opposed to .com and other popular generic TLDs where most of the good names have already been taken.

On the downside, one of the main drawbacks of the .io extension is its high registration cost compared to other extensions. Some registrars charge as high as about $100 per year for a .io domain registration. But you definitely don’t have to pay such a massive fee because there are several good places where you can register a .io domain for a very reasonable price.

Affordable .io domain registrars

Some registrars offer promotional discounted prices for .io domains intended to attract new customer. But the common catch here is that the discount would only apply to the first year of registration, after which you’ll pay the regular renewal fee, which can often be quite high. So although you may save a significant amount of money on the first year of registration, such special promos may not ultimately be a good deal if you take into account the high renewal cost.

And you also don’t want to choose a registrar based on the price alone. If you value your domain, you should keep it stored at a reliable company that provides solid services and prompt technical support. With that in mind, the following are two of the best registrars where you can buy a cheap .io domain name:

Dynadot: The current registration cost of a .io domain is $29.99 and the renewal cost is the same. They offer free Whois privacy service. *Note: Dynadot will ask you to enter your birthday during account setup; if you are going to provide a random number, you should write it down because you’ll need it later to unlock your account/domains to be able to perform certain actions.

NameCheap: The current registration fee for a .io domain is $32.98 and the renewal fee is $34.98. They also offer free Whois privacy with each domain registration.

Does a .io domain rank like a .com domain?

Google and other search engines use ccTLDs for geo-targeting in organic search results. So for example, a .ca domain is more likely to rank in search results displayed to Canadian users while being filtered out from search results for users in other countries.

However, there are certain ccTLDs that are treated as generic TLDs by Google and thus they are excluded from geo-targeting filters. Although .io is a ccTLD, Google treats it just like they treat .com or any other generic TLD. Other ccTLDs that get this special treatment by Google include: .co, .cc, .tv, .ws, and a few more.

So you don’t really need to worry about your website’s ranking in Google and other search engines just because you decided to go with a .io domain. If you find the right name in this extension then go for it! You don’t have to pay a premium price for a .com because either extension you choose will likely have no impact on your website’s success and it won’t have an effect on its search rankings.

What are the top alternative TLDs to .io?

If the name you wanted isn’t available in the .io extension, then it’s also likely not available in other popular extensions like .com, .net, .co, etc. If you intend to use it for a tech-related website, then some of the top alternative extensions to consider are: .tech, .dev, and .app.

There are many (hundreds) other newly released generic TLDs that you can consider as well. Some of them are niche-specific while others are more general and can be suitable for any type of website. Visit any registrar’s website to discover the complete list of new generic TLDs and their respective prices.

What makes a great domain name?

If you still haven’t decided on a domain name to register for your website, blog, or whatnot, then the following are some general tips to keep in mind:

  • Short and sweet: The shorter the domain name, always the better and the more valuable. There is a reason why most of the big and successful companies out there use short names; because no one likes to remember long and complicated names!
  • Brandable and catchy: If you could secure a snappy, brandable one-word name then that would be perfect. Alternatively, a two-word brandable name — such as RadioShack — might be easier to come by.
  • No hyphens or numbers: Although hyphens and numbers are allowed in a domain name, they make it look less professional and less trustworthy. Both hyphens and numbers make a name harder to remember and are obsolete. Using either in your domain name can make it less valuable and harder to sell in the future.
  • Plan for future growth: If you are going to launch a website about mobile security, for example, you may be tempted to choose a domain name that contains the word “mobile”. But what if you later on decide to cover other products like desktops and other smart devices? Your website’s name may now look irrelevant to potential customers/readers. In certain cases, it would be wise to start out with a more generic and a less specific and restrictive name that allows for future growth and expansion into other market areas/topics.

Should you buy an aged domain name?

Some novice users who are looking to buy a domain name for the first time may be torn between buying an aged domain for a premium price or registering a brand new one. Well, in the past, the domain’s age used to have some SEO value, but that is no longer the case today.

Unless the domain comes with a website that is already ranking in search engines, then a brand new domain can rank just as well and fast as a 20-year-old domain. So the domain’s age on its own has almost no value.

But even if you are buying an old domain for the name itself not its age; if it has no established website with valuable content and a sizable user/reader base, you’d probably be better off registering a new domain and investing the money you would have forked out for the premium name on developing and promoting the fresh one instead.

With a little effort and brainstorming, you will certainly find a perfect domain name out there that is available for sale at the mere registration fee. It’s the idea and the ambition, not the name, that will ultimately determine whether your project will be a success or not — so invest in that.

Story by Jim Grogan