.io Domain – How to Register, Regulations, Tips & Tricks

Buy .io Domain – Complete Guide (2024)

Buy .io Domain Complete Guide 2024 blog image

What Is .io Domain?

The .io domain name is a country code top-level domain name (ccTLD) that refers to the British Indian Ocean Territory. It is managed and operated by Afilias, which is a domain name registry under Ethos Capital. The .io domain name was introduced on the 16th of September, 1997.

In Which Scenarios Should You Use the .io Domain?

The intended use of the .io domain is for companies and individuals that operate in or have connections to the British Indian Ocean Territory. However, it is mostly used for creating websites for startup companies and browser games. Thus, you should use the .io domain name for the following:

  • Establishing websites for businesses associated with the British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Creating sites for entities connected to the British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Startup companies, especially tech startups
  • Browser games


The .io domain name does not require you to follow any strict rules and regulations. So, anyone from anywhere can register a .io domain name. Due to the liberty that the .io domain name offers, many up-and-coming businesses adopted it as a substitute for .com. Also, it contains the letter “IO,” which is an abbreviation in computer science used for input/output, which is why many tech startups have adopted the .io domain name for their websites.

However, if you want to register a third-level .io domain name, like .com.io, you’ll need to be registered in the British Indian Ocean Territory. However, there are no permanent inhabitants on the British Indian Ocean Territory, so, in theory, no third-level .io domain can be registered.

.io domains are slightly more expensive compared to other TLDs, which has sparked some controversy in recent years as the British government was accused of requiring the domain registry in charge of .io domains to give it some of its profits. However, the British government denied such claims, but many still believe that this is true regardless.

Also, many companies who purchase .io domain names face backlash as people are against .io because it does not give anything to islanders or people who originate from families that lived on the islands in the past.

How to Register .io Domain?

To register .io domain, you need to come up with a name for your domain. Then, you need to find a suitable domain name registrar that offers .io domains and check the domain’s availability via WhoIs Lookup. If the domain is available, you then need to purchase it. Below, you’ll find a comprehensive step-by-step guide.

Steps on How to Register .io Domain?

.io domain names are limited, which is why they’re so expensive. So, don’t be surprised if the domain name you want is already taken. And if it is, you can always tweak the name a bit to find an available option.

  • Pick a reliable domain registrar
  • Add your .io domain name to your cart and buy it
  • Secure your .io domain by getting DNS-related privacy and security features or Domain Privacy add-ons
Some people purposefully buy up .io domain names so that they can sell them for a higher price when someone actually needs them. So, if your domain name isn’t available, you can check who the owner is and see if it is for sale. 

Our Recommended Places to Register

There are quite a few domain registrars that offer .io domain names. Here are our best picks:

GoDaddyGoDaddy is the go-to domain registrar for thousands of people because it’s been around for a long time and has proven the quality of its services. With your GoDaddy .io domain, you’ll also get free Privacy Protection forever.

NameCheapNamecheap is another excellent domain registrar that offers free lifetime domain privacy protection, free BasicDNS and DNSSEC, and other exclusive deals.

HostingerHostinger is a great domain name registrar that includes free domain privacy protection in its .io domain names.

At the moment, .io domain names go for a minimum of $30.88, which is quite high when compared to other TLDs. They can cost as high as $80 per year. And like many other domain names, .io domains are no strangers to price hacks. Namely, registrars like GoDaddy offer discounted prices for the first year of your domain registration and then either increase the price on renewal or once the first year is up. For instance, a .io domain name at GoDaddy costs €44.99 for the first year and then €64.99.

Perfect Partners for Your .io Domain

Hosting – If you don’t host your website, it won’t be able to reach other users online and will only be available to you. Web hosts store your site’s data and provide it to visitors when they open your website, which is why they’re essential for websites to live online. You can choose from a wide range of web hosting services and use this site to find the best options for your needs.

SSL ProtectionSSL certificates make your website more secure and enable it to rank higher on search engines like Google, Firefox, Bing, etc.

Premium DNS – DNS protection will keep your data safe and prevent various online attacks.

Private Email – Private emails allow you to match your email address to your domain name and look more professional to the outside world.

Domain Information for .io

Minimum Registration Period1 year
Maximum Registration Period10 years
Minimum Renewal Period1 year
Maximum Renewal Period10 years
Is Domain Privacy SupportedYES
Are IDN Domains SupportedNO
Is RegistrarLock SupportedYES
Is DNSSEC Supported YES
ICANN fee$0.18

Popular .io Domains

Here are some of the most popular .io domains:

  • github.io (Ahrefs rank: 72) – github.io is a website that allows you to deploy projects into websites.
  • sentry.io (Ahrefs rank: 86) – sentry.io is a third-party service that tracks errors and monitors performance.
  • readthedocs.io (Ahrefs rank: 91) – readthedocs.io is a website that simplifies software documentation.

.io Domain Alternatives

.com – Exchange your .io domain name with .com, the most popular extension in the world.

.net – Try out .net instead of .io for your website.

.org – Create your website with the world’s third most popular domain name, .org.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the .io domain name established?

The .io domain name was established on the 16th of September 1997 as a country code top-level domain for the British Indian Ocean Territory.

What do people use the .io domain name for?

Even though the .io domain name was established to be used by entities that have a connection to the British Indian Ocean Territory, nowadays, it is mostly used by SaaS and tech startups and browser games.

Why are .io domains more expensive than most TLDs?

.io domains are more expensive compared to most TLDs because they’re limited in supply, memorable, short, and great for marketing. Also, they’re ideal for tech companies because they use the letters I and O, which can also refer to I/O, a popular computing algorithm.

Which is the first non-geographical .io domain name?

The first-ever .io domain name that was registered for a company that has no connections to the British Indian Ocean Territory was Levi’s. It was established in 1998 and helped Levi’s greatly with its marketing aspirations.

Which are the oldest .io domain names?

Some of the oldest .io domain names include levi.io, yahoo.io, go.io, bofa.io, nokia.io, bmw.io, hotjobs.io, and chanel.io.

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