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Anyone who has visited an off-putting homepage knows that a new website lives or dies by visitors’ first impressions. Whether you’re a content creator, eCommerce merchant or local business just starting out online, your website should get positive reactions straight off the bat.

This leaves you with a laundry list of tasks to do before your website can go live. What if you don’t know where to start?

Before you settle on a web design approach or choose a web hosting service, you need the perfect domain name for your website. Picking a good website name can be an unexpected stumbling block, so don’t leave this task till last.

If your preferred .com domain name is already taken, try registering under another domain name extension. New domain name extensions aren’t in short supply, but you must carefully consider whether to use one or stick with a trusted traditional domain name.  

Domain name extensions 101

Domain name extensions are part of the Domain Name System (DNS), which was established back in November 1983. The DNS was made to pair websites with user-friendly, alphabetical addresses because, originally, websites have numerical Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Basically, it’s hard to remember IP addresses like for every website you visit in a day. But it’s easy to remember

Today, the DNS covers millions of websites and is coordinated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Domain name extensions, also called top-level domains (TLDs), are a vital part of the DNS hierarchy.

To get a clear picture of a TLD’s place in this hierarchy, let’s start with the basics. 

The various parts of a uniform resource locator (URL).

Everything you see in your browser address bar is a uniform resource locator (URL).

A protocol, such as https:// and http://, is not part of a domain name, but you’ll often see it at the beginning of a URL.

The subdomain directly follows the protocol. The most commonly used one is www.,meaning World Wide Web.There are others, like m. for the mobile version of a website.

Now for the domain name, which has two parts: a second-level domain and a top-level domain. The second-level domain appears first. For us, this is Bluehost.

Then comes today’s star of the show: the TLD, otherwise known as the domain name extension. At Bluehost, we use the instantly recognizable .com domain name extension, which is used by an estimated 52.8% of all websites.

What is the purpose of a TLD?

Crucially, TLDs saved early internet users from having to memorize 12-digit IP addresses to visit websites. Today, extensions like .ca, .shop and .gov are respectively used to signal a website’s location, purpose or source.

And for better or worse, people trust some extensions more than others. TLDs can influence whether users visit an unfamiliar website suggested by a search engine.

For example, if you want to find out about national laws, you might only trust information from a government website. In the United States, this means looking out for the .gov TLD.

Types of domain name extensions

There are hundreds of options at this point, but not all of them are available for public use. For example, .test and many sponsored TLDs have usage restrictions.  

For the average internet user, the two main types of TLDs are generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs). 

Generic top-level domains

Examples of generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

These arrived on the scene in October 1984, and the first seven were: .com, .int, .org, .edu,  .gov, .mil and .info.

The goal of these TLDs was to provide naming categories for certain entities, such as businesses (.com, as in “commercial”), educational institutions (.edu) and government bodies (.gov).

Currently, there are over 1,000 generic domain name extensions, and ICANN plans to add more gTLDs in 2023.

Country code top-level domains

Examples of country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

These extensions identify websites from certain countries and regions. Some popular ccTLDs are (United Kingdom), .cn (China) and .de (Germany).

The .tv ccTLD

The Polynesian island nation of Tuvalu was fortunate it was assigned .tv as its ccTLD.

Tuvalu’s government made licensing agreements with businesses to allow .tv to be used for commercial purposes. The financial proceeds helped Tuvalu join the United Nations in 2000.

The .me ccTLD

Although you might think the .me TLD was custom-made for self-centered people, it’s actually Montenegro’s ccTLD. Similar to Tuvalu, Montenegro gained some financial benefits from its country code. 

It’s important to note that you can’t just use any ccTLD you want. Most ccTLDs are restricted. You can only use them if you fulfill certain criteria, like being a legal resident of the country.

So, if you’ve thought of a memorable domain name, like, check whether it’s possible for you to use it. Since .in is India’s ccTLD, the National Internet Exchange of India could have a say in the matter.   

Traditional versus new domain extensions

Traditional versus new TLDs.

As the name suggests, traditional domain extensions have been around for a while, and it doesn’t look like they’ll go out of fashion anytime soon. That said, they’re not the best choice for every new website.

Before you register a domain name for your website, it’s useful to know what separates new and traditional TLDs and understand the implications of choosing one over the other.

The difference between new TLDs and traditional TLDs

We can trace the boom in new TLDs to June 2011, when the ICANN Board of Directors voted to substantially increase the number of gTLDs.

The 22 gTLDs that were available beforehand can be considered traditional domain names.

In general, traditional domain extensions were given very careful consideration before they were released for use.  

Should I choose a new TLD over a traditional TLD?

Your choice between a traditional and a new TLD shouldn’t be made lightly. But if you regret your decision later, you can always add a new website name using a pointer domain or parked domain.

Traditional domain names can be better for reputational purposes and familiarity, but they often end up being more expensive than new TLDs.

On the flip side, new TLDs can show visitors that you do things differently and keep up with new trends. Plus, you’ll have a lot more domain name options to choose from. 

That being said, don’t choose a funny-sounding domain name extension if professionalism is important in your industry. For example, if you’re submitting a tender for a top-level government project, .fun may not be the best option to showcase your business portfolio.

Does a TLD affect SEO? 

According to Google search engine optimization (SEO) expert John Mueller, choosing a new TLD will neither help nor hinder your SEO efforts. If you depend on SEO to drive traffic to your business, you can still go ahead and pick a new TLD if it suits your website.

However, Google does indicate that ccTLDs can facilitate geotargeting, so if you’re capitalizing on local SEO, a ccTLD could be a good pick. 

How to get a new domain extension

To bag a good domain extension for your web address, follow the same process that you would for getting any new domain name.

If you’re in need of both a web hosting provider and a domain name, then first check which web hosting plans come with domain perks.

For example, all of Bluehost’s shared, WordPress and WooCommerce hosting plans come with a free domain name for the first year.

If you only need a domain name, start by browsing the websites of trusted domain name registrars. That way, you can check if a certain domain name is available and see how much it costs with a new TLD versus a traditional TLD.

Bluehost’s search function for a domain name’s availability and price.

You’ll notice that prices vary widely when comparing domain endings — evidently, highly sought-after suffixes are often the most expensive. 

For example, with Bluehost, a .website extension could cost you $1.99 for the first year, while a .net domain registration would set you back $18.99 for the same period.   

The best new domain extensions for your business 

If you try to pick your top domain extension from the 1,000+-strong list of new gTLDs available, you might fall victim to choice overload.

To steer your search in the right direction, here’s a pared-down selection of new gTLDs for various types of websites.

The best new domain extensions for blogs

The best new domain extensions for blogs.

You can’t consider new TLDs for bloggers without mentioning the obvious choice: .blog.

If you publish biographical details and personal musings, then .bio could be a nice option.

For the more literary bloggers, .read might fit well for short stories, book reviews or poetry.

If many of your blog entries focus on your interests and daily life, check whether the .lifestyle TLD is available for your preferred domain name.

The best new domain extensions for small businesses

If you registered your small business as a limited liability corporation (LLC), you can make effective use of the .LLC domain extension, which was released in 2018.

For private limited companies operating in certain countries, such as Ireland, the UK and Canada, .ltd is a solid option. 

The best new domain extensions for eCommerce

The best new domain extensions for eCommerce websites.

If you already sell products on Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Amazon, setting up your own eCommerce website is often the logical next step.

As an eCommerce store owner, one of the perks of going solo is you get to use a snazzy new TLD for your custom-made store.

You can’t go wrong with a suffix that features the ultimate eCommerce call to action — .buy. If you want to be more subtle or descriptive, you can opt for .shop or .shopping

The best new domain extensions for tech startups

First things first, many tech companies use the traditional domain extension .io because of its association with the computer science concept of input/output.

The .io TLD is technically a ccTLD for the British Indian Ocean Territory; the territory is the subject of international legal proceedings.

Additionally, .io domains are priced higher than many other TLDs. It’s a good thing you have other options as a tech startup.

Here are a few to get you started:

  • .tech
  • .app
  • .technology

The best new domain extensions for artists

The boom in new extensions means that performers and creators have a wide choice of options for showcasing their work online.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so head over to the ICANN website if you don’t see one you want here:

  • .channel
  • .music
  • .photo
  • .photography
  • .film
  • .tattoo
  • .actor

The best new domain extensions for local businesses

The best new domain extensions for local business websites.

Local business owners often like to highlight their location or occupation in their domain name, and the diverse array of new TLDs leaves them blessed with choice:

Here are some examples that focus on cities and local service businesses:

  • .NYC
  • .London
  • .plumbing
  • .contractors
  • .physio

The best new domain extensions for events

Whether you organize trivia nights, intimate concerts or high-end galas, you’ve got a variety of event-related TLDs to choose from. Your options include:

  • .rsvp
  • .tickets
  • .promo

The best new domain extensions for food

The creators of new TLDs haven’t forgotten chefs, caterers and restaurateurs. Here’s a taste of what to expect from the diverse menu of culinary TLDs:

  • .restaurant
  • .menu
  • .kitchen
  • .pizza
  • .eat

The best new domain extensions for non-profit organizations

To encourage website visitors to donate or volunteer their time, get a helping hand from some new TLDs like:

  • .giving
  • .give
  • .charity

How to use domain extensions creatively

Getting creative with domain extensions is a great way to create some buzz around your website.

For example, you can consider using a domain hack. While this might sound illegal, it’s perfectly above board as long as you follow registration requirements. A domain hack involves using at least two parts of a domain to spell out a word or phrase.     

For instance, a poultry cooperative could use the domain hack to draw attention to its website. Or if you’re using a website to apply for jobs, then conveys your enthusiasm to potential employers.

Domain hacks are quirky and thus memorable. Yet, they won’t work for every purpose.

How to pick the best new TLD

While a curated list of gTLDs can set you on the right path, your decision shouldn’t be made lightly.

So, to help you clear the final hurdle, we’ll share some tips on TLD testing and explain the financial pitfalls of buying an unsuitable extension.

Try new TLDs on for size

To make sure your domain name fits your website like a glove, don’t just pick a new TLD on a hunch.

It seems obvious, but don’t forget to envision how your proposed domain name would look in a print publication, a web browser search bar and an email.

Once you’ve done this, consider bouncing your domain name ideas off family, friends and colleagues and taking their feedback. If your inner circle doesn’t appreciate your website name idea, there’s a good chance it’ll fall flat with strangers.

Look at future expenses

Don’t rush to register using a new top-level domain just because you think it’ll be snapped up by someone else soon.

Generally, domain registrars require a one-year signup for a registered domain, so any naming mishaps could put a serious dent in your wallet. 

Also, try not to let passing trends influence your decision too much. If you use the newest buzzword as a TLD and it falls out of favor in a few years, your website will end up looking outdated.  

Before you put your money down on a website name with a new TLD, think about:

  • Your website’s content: Is it serious or casual?
  • Your business: Does it already have a registered business name?
  • Your target audience: Are they entertainment- or business-oriented?
  • Your business goals: Do you have a five-year plan to create multiple websites?
  • Your budget: Can it handle multiple new TLDs over several years? 

Final thoughts: Notable new domain extensions for blogs and businesses

Once you’ve found a new domain name, it’s time to decide where your website will reside. If you’re considering dedicated, shared or VPS hosting, Bluehost has it all.

If you’re a WordPress website owner, then it makes sense to go with a hosting service that’s specifically recommended by WordPress. And if you’re still building your website (a perpetual work in progress), Bluehost can help with a WordPress website builder.

Contact Bluehost today to find out why customers choose us to power millions of websites worldwide.

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