.com vs .io

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Last Updated on March 21, 2023

Are you looking to start a new website? You might want to compare and contrast the .com vs. .io domain extensions.

For one, .com is for businesses, but it works for other types of websites. The .io extension is for the British Indian Ocean Territory, but many tech startups have started to use it.

Read on to learn more about these extensions to decide which is better for you.

.com vs .io

What Does .com Mean?

The top-level domain (TLD) .com is a shorter version of “commercial.” That means the primary purpose of this extension is for business use.

However, .com has become almost like a default extension for many website domains. You can find domains that end in .com for websites that have nothing to do with selling a product or service.

What Does .io Mean?

The newer .io domain extension refers to how I/O means “input/output.” However, the extension originated as a country code for the British Indian Ocean Territory.

You don’t have to live or work in the territory to register a .io domain. That has made it an excellent choice for many startups and other websites that operate in the tech sphere.

.com Pricing and Availability

Since the .com extension is quite common, you can register one from most domain registrars. It doesn’t matter where you live or work. You don’t even need to have a business, but its popularity means a lot of the best domains are already taken.

If you want to register a .com domain, GoDaddy is an excellent option. They charge a cent for the first year of registration if you commit to two years. Domains cost $19.99 a year after that.

You can initially register a .com domain for about $10 with Namecheap. The registrar charges just under $15 to renew the domain each year.

A newer registrar, Google Domains charges $12 per year for a .com domain. This price applies for the first year and subsequent renewals.

.io Pricing and Availability

The .io TLD isn’t as common, so you may find more domains available. You can also register the domain with many of the same registrars as you would register a .com domain.

GoDaddy charges roughly $45 for the first year of a two-year registration. The standard price for a .io domain is $62.99, which is quite a bit more than a .com domain.

Namecheap also charges more for its .io domains. You may spend anywhere from $37 to $43 for the first year, depending on if the domain is on sale. Renewals cost between $41 and $45, also depending on if Namecheap runs a sale.

With Google Domains, you’ll have to pay $60 per year to initially register or renew your .io domain. So regardless of the registrar, .io is going to be more expensive than .com, but you may have your first pick at the domain name since more names are available.

.com Pros & Cons

Consider the pros and cons of choosing a .com domain. It can be the right choice for many, but it might not meet your needs.

.com Pros

Here are a few advantages of using a .com domain, especially compared to a .io domain:

  • Easy to recognize
  • Pretty versatile
  • More affordable

.com Cons

Unfortunately, the .com extension isn’t perfect. You should consider the following drawbacks of this TLD:

  • A lot of names are taken
  • Can come off as generic
  • Somewhat commercial

.io Pros & Cons

If you find that a .com domain isn’t right for you, consider the pros and cons of .io. Then, you can make sure to choose the best domain.

.io Pros

It may not be as popular, but that gives the .io extension a few advantages over .com domains, such as:

  • More names are available
  • Best for tech and British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Becoming more popular

.io Cons

Before you rush to buy a .io domain, consider some of the disadvantages. That way, you can be sure it’s the best choice for you.

  • Not as easy to remember
  • Quite expensive
  • A bit limiting

When Should You Use a .com Extension?

As you compare the pros and cons of .com vs. .io domains, you may still wonder when it’s right to use each extension. Here are a few scenarios in which a .com domain is usually better.

You Have a Business

The original purpose of .com domains was for businesses to sell things. If you have or want to start a business in any industry, you can use this extension. Visitors probably won’t find it surprising when they visit your website to find a sales page or digital shop.

You can register a domain with a variety of companies, including many website hosts. That can make it incredibly easy to set up your new website for your business.

Now, not all .com websites are for businesses. Some are personal portfolios, blogs, or other general sites. However, that makes the extension an excellent choice if you aren’t sure what you want to do with your new website.

You Want an Easy Domain

Even though many names are no longer available, the .com extension can still be easy for you and your visitors to remember. As long as you choose a name that’s easy to spell, you can have a better chance of getting people to return to your site and ranking in search results.

The .com extension is often the default in people’s minds. Because of that, you won’t have to work as hard to remind them of the TLD as if you chose .io or something else.

If people don’t remember your domain ends in .com, they may assume it does. Then, they can still land on the site they were expecting. That’s not always the case with other extensions, especially if you choose a name similar to a .com domain.

You’re Short on Cash

For better or worse, not all domains cost the same amount to register, even from the same place. The .com extension is one of the most budget-friendly options, costing $10 to $20 per year after any promos expire.

However, .io domains cost anywhere from $37 to $63 per year. That means you could register three to six .com domains for the same price as one .io domain.

So whether you want to start one website or multiple, you can save money with the .com extension. Of course, you’ll have to pay the same amount each year, so the savings will add up even more over time.

When Should You Use a .io Extension?

Sometimes, the .io extension is a much better fit for a website. Consider a few situations when you may want to use it over .com.

You Have a Local Business

Maybe you’re one of the 4,000 people that are stationed in the British Indian Ocean Territory. If you want to start a local business for others on the islands, it makes sense to use the .io extension.

After all, people created the extension as a country code. You can also use this extension if you want to start a website where you write about your experience living or working in the territory.

Now, you won’t find people living there permanently. But you can help people who move there temporarily, such as for work. The TLD can help you stand out from other travel sites since it explains the destination right away.

You Work in Technology

It may not be the intended purpose, but many tech companies have started to use .io. If you have a small startup, you might want to use the extension. People are starting to recognize it as a TLD for the industry.

That way, people don’t have to click on your domain to learn the basics of your company. If your tech business is more for the public than other businesses, .io could work great.

You can avoid the commercial reputation of .com domains. Even if you don’t have a business, if you want to get a tech job, you could create a portfolio website with a .io domain.

You Can’t Get the .com

Since .com domains are so popular, you may struggle to find an available name that you like. If you really want a specific name, you may find it’s available with the .io extension. Then, you can get the name you want, whether that’s your name or the name of a business.

However, you should be careful before you do this. If the same .com domain is in use, you could accidentally send traffic to that site. As mentioned, people may default to .com if they don’t remember the extension.

Now, you can make .io part of your branding. That way, you can increase the chances that people will remember the full domain to visit your site.


Comparing .com vs. io domains is crucial if you want to start a website. The .com extension is more common, but that also means your ideal domain name isn’t available.

Meanwhile, .io is less popular, but it can be harder for people to remember. It’s also a better fit for tech websites or websites for the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Consider both extensions before you register your next domain.

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