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ICANN Top level domains

You’ve found the perfect domain name for your website and it’s available. Congratulations!

Now that you own WombatGo.com, how are you going to protect your new brand of wombat apps and add-ons? A great idea would be to purchase additional top-level domains in addition to the .com domain.

What is a Top-Level Domain?

Each domain name you register consists of two parts, a “top-level” domain (TLD) and a “second-level” domain. These are fancy words to distinguish your personal brand and the extension after the dot.

For our pretend site WombatGo.com, the unique part of the domain on the left (WombatGo) is what we call the second-level domain. The other part after the dot (in this case, .com) is the top-level domain.

In the United States, the most common top-level domain is .com, though you will also see a lot of .org, .edu and .gov domains. What you may not realize is that there are actually hundreds of other domain options available to you.

Should You Register Other Top-Level Domains?

Although you’re probably stoked to have registered your preferred name with .com, it often makes make sense to register your second-level domain with different top-level domains.

It used to be common for people to register a .net and .org domain name to go along with their .com. Buying these alternative domains still makes sense, but there are now many more TLDs available. These range from niche domains like .science and .dog to more generic terms like .online  and .site.

You probably won’t ever register your second-level domain with most of the hundreds of TLD options. Most of them won’t make sense for your site. For example, if your site is a game about wombats, you probably wouldn’t want to register it with a .hockey top-level domain.

What is the Best Domain Registration Practice?

To avoid brand confusion, trademark infringement, and spammers, we recommend all new websites register the second-level domain with .com, .net, and .org domains. We also recommend you consider the new TLDs and choose the ones that are relevant for your content.

If you’re creating a site about great coupons and deals online, and love the domain JennysGreatDeals.com, then consider registering JennysGreatDeals.net and JennysGreatDeals.org. Then look through the other TLD options and see if there are any that work for you. Wouldn’t it be awesome to also have JennysGreatDeals.coupons, .deals and .money?
To check out all of the different domain options, you can review a list of popular and new top-level domains on Namecheap by selecting the tabs (e.g. “new”) after your search for a domain.

[image CC BY-ND 3.0 by felixart05]

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Andrew Allemann avatar

Andrew Allemann

Andrew is the founder and editor of Domain Name Wire, a publication that has been covering domain names since 2005. He has personally written over 10,000 posts covering domain name sales, policy, and strategies for domain name owners. Andrew has been quoted in stories about domain names in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and Fortune. More articles written by Andrew.

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