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What domain name should I be using?

8th August 2014

Are you just stepping out into the world of websites for your organisation? There is a lot to think about when setting up a new website, and a domain name is a key factor in the process.

Although, choosing a domain name can be a tricky and confusing process – there are hundreds of different extensions available to register, but which one should you be going for?

.COM is undoubtedly the most common and well-known top level domain name, and according to RegistrarStats.com, over 114 million .COM domain names are currently registered – that’s roughly one .COM domain name per person living in Mexico!

But which domain name is best for you? Let’s break down some of the options.

.com.COM

As stated above, the .COM is the most well-recognised domain name worldwide. Its name is derived from the word commercial, indicating its original intended purpose for domains registered by commercial organisations. However, this domain name extension is used for multiple purposes in recent times rather than just commercially. This is the go-to domain if you have commercial operations internationally rather than just nationally as it gives your website a more ‘global’ feel to it.

.org.ORG

Introduced in 1985, .ORG was established to give non-profit organisations a presence on the web. Though similarly to .COM, .ORG registrations are not restricted meaning that the .ORG can be used for any purpose. The .ORG extension would be the ideal domain name if you are a not-for-profit organisation, charity, community group or project which has international operations.

.co.uk.CO.UK

.CO.UK is often seen as the UK’s version of .COM. It is most commonly used by UK-based commercial organisations. The .CO.UK firmly cements your stance as a UK business and is instantly recognisable and trusted by UK residents.
This is the right domain name for you if you are a commercial UK organisation.

.org.uk.ORG.UK

Like the .CO.UK, the .ORG.UK is adding a bit of UK flavour to the standard .ORG. It’s main use is for UK-based non-for-profit organisations, as well as charities, social enterprises, community groups and projects. In fact, Cosmic uses the .ORG.UK domain name to proudly show that we are a social enterprise! If you fall into the above category, then .ORG.UK would be the right move for your UK organisation.

.sch.SCH.UK

If you are a school or educator, then the .SCH.UK will display that perfectly. This is a common extension for schools across the United Kingdom, and is easily recognised. These domain names must be applied for and are not given out to anyone who wants one, only UK schools are eligible. For more information on applying for a .SCH.UK domain name, visit the site here.

.uk.UK

Surprisingly, .UK is actually a very new domain name extension, despite its use within the .CO.UK, .ORG.UK and so on. Back in June 2014, the .UK domain name was made available to all UK residents – this offers a much shorter, simpler and more memorable domain name for any UK based entity. This is the UK's equivalent to France's .FR, Germany's .DE or Holland's .NL. 

This extension is very new so is still being rolled out gradually across the UK – it will be a while before it starts becoming as popular as domains such as .CO.UK but it is already looking very promising with the amount of interest it spurred. This would be a good domain name to use for any type of UK based company or organisation (or even an individual!).

Notable others

.NET

.NET is the second most popular domain name extension worldwide after .COM. They have a very similar purpose, and .NET has no restrictions. This means is can be used for any purpose, whether you are a commercial organisation, a charity, community group or individual. This is a globally recognised domain name extension and would be a good choice if your preferred .COM was unavailable.

.ME

The .ME is for a website all about ME! The .ME domain name was originally set up for use by the people and organisations of Montenegro after the collapse of Yugoslavia, but due to its lack of registration restrictions and the fact it spells out ‘me’ it rapidly become popular with individuals and bloggers worldwide. This would be a good buy for anyone wanting to set up a personal website that could be ready by people from other nations.

.ME.UK

A lot of domain names have a country-specific version of it, and .ME.UK is a good example. Like the .ME above, the .ME.UK domain name is the ideal purchase for an individual, but situated in the UK.

.GOV.UK

The .GOV.UK domain name is an extension reserved for local and central government bodies. Similar to the .SCH.UK, you must go through a process of application to register a domain. This is the perfect domain name to establish your online presence as a UK government body – for more information on how to apply please visit the GOV.UK website.

Cosmic hopes this information will help you in your path to choosing a domain name for your website, but if you do need any more assistance our team will be happy to help. You can drop us an e-mail on [email protected], phone us on 0845 094 6108 or even tweet us at @Cosmic_UK.