Where to Register .io Domains?

.IO domain names are becoming very popular among startups and tech oriented companies needing a web presence. I/O stands for input/output in tech speak, so we’re starting to see many technical frameworks (like Laravel.io) and APIs (like Import.io) adopt the .io TLD extension. In this short post, we’ll look at where to register .IO domain names as well as some drawbacks with using this top level domain extension.

The Two Top Registrars for .IO Domains

The two most popular registrars to reg a .IO domain are:

  1. Namecheap at $59/year (now $32.88/year starting in 2015. Price is current as of 2017).
  2. Gandi charges $35/year (price is current through 12/31/2017).

Namecheap will be the least expensive option for registering .IO domains. Compare these prices to IWantMyName, who charges $49 for the first year and $59 for every year beyond the first. Godaddy is another option but they do not seem as experienced in dealing with .IO domains and aren’t recommended from a technical standpoint. Remember, .IO is really just a rebranding of the country TLD of some remote British islands. They have a slightly different way of handling the name resolution backend so your registrar needs some experience dealing with .IO domains.

Positives of Owning a .IO Domain

  • You’ll be a bit of a trailblazer and have a certain cachet within the tech literate demographic.
  • There are plenty of premium domain names available in .IO, as high annual renewal prices have generally kept the domain squatters away.
  • Due to pressure from developers, Google has acquiesced and allowed .IO domains to be given a Generic Country Code status which means it’s on the same footing as .com / .net and other vanity TLDs like .me / .co / .tv. This means you won’t have to go into Google Webmaster tools and geo-target your domain for fear of having your site typecast as a distant Geo domain.

Drawbacks of Buying a .IO Domain

  • They’re obviously expensive, at $35-$50/year in reg fees.
  • You are going to want to buy the .com version of your ‘.io’ branded domain name. No matter how much you brand your domain with the .io extension, some people will still try to type your website’s name and tack on a.com at the end. So if you own subway.io, better get subwayio.com as well and 301 redirect that to your main site.
  • .IO is still met with skepticism as far as longevity / viability and seen mostly as a ‘hack’ type of TLD that won’t have much appeal outside of technical developers.
  • There’s no privacy for .io domains. If domain privacy is important, keep in mind you won’t get it with .io domains owing to its roots as a Geo TLD.

Best place to sell a .IO Domain

The .IO domain extension remains popular on the Flippa marketplace. Morgan Linton mentioned that he lists his .IO domains at Park.io. He mentions that “my .IO names parked at Park.io get the most offers – I’m always amazed how well the simple make offer landing pages that Park.io puts up on my domains perform.”

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