Why Do .io Domains Cost So Much More?

.io domain

If you’re starting a website one of the first things that you’ll need to do is purchase a domain name. This is how people will find your content online. Some domains, like .com and .org, are well known and fairly popular. 

But there’s one type of domain that is charging a lot more, .io. This is the domain for British Island Ocean Territory. At first glance, there’s nothing remarkable about this obscure domain. So, why do .io domains cost so much more? 

There are a few reasons that can explain why these are so expensive;

  • They appeal to technology companies
  • The .com domain might be taken
  • .io is more memorable
  • It doesn’t get geo-targeted
  • It’s popular amongst mobile gamers
  • They’re easier to search for

As you can see, there are many reasons why .io is the new must-have domain. Let’s take a closer look at each of them to give you a better idea of why .io domains are so expensive. 

Appeal To Tech Companies

One of the biggest groups that are buying the .io domain is technology companies. This is because the term .io has a strong meaning for this group. 

In the computer world, I/O is short for input/output and it’s one of the most important building blocks for any new technology. It’s used to describe the tasks that a computer should be performing. 

In a computer, you an input. For example, you open a Word document and press the letter “K” on the keyboard. The computer then has a task it needs to complete. In this case, the output is to display the letter on the screen. 

As you can imagine, for a tech firm, it can be very exciting to learn that such an important term can be their domain. Though they might need to pay a little extra, it’s their way of establishing themselves as a part of the computing community. 

There are a few other groups that might be using the .io domain;

  • Start-up organizations
  • Mobile game developers
  • Open-source programmers 
  • Technology bloggers

As the .io grows more popular, you can expect it to expand out of the tech and start-up sector. As this happens, it will become even more expensive for you to purchase one of these domain names. 

.io Is Widely Available

Another reason why .io is so popular is because it’s widely available. It’s estimated that, as of 2019, there were around 340 million domains registered. Many of these end with either .com or .org. 

Each year, it gets harder for people to get their ideal domain name. For example, imagine you become infatuated with cutepuppies.com. After a quick search you find, unsurprisingly, that it’s already taken. 

Rather than change the name of your site, you can change the domain. In this case, registering as cutepuppies.io. However, if you are trying to copy the site, you might get sued for breaching copyright.

In other cases, you might already own the .com domain and want to purchase the .io domain to make sure that no-one can rip-off your site. 

If the .io site is taken, you don’t need to give up on your quest for the perfect domain. There are a few tricks that you might want to try;

  • Contact the current owner and ask to buy the name. If they’re not using it, they might be tempted to sell to you, for the right price. 
  • Check the resale domain list. This is where any inactive domains are placed. 
  • Set up an alert. Many domain name services will let you set-up an email alert system, so you’ll be the first to know if a domain comes up for sale. 
  • Choose an alternative. Sometimes, these tricks won’t work. In this case, go with your second-choice. 

.io is Memorable

Another reason why this domain is so popular is that it’s easier for people to remember. There are millions of sites that end with .com or .org out there. 

What better way to make your site stand out than by using .io. It sounds cool and on-trend. This is especially important for an emerging company, trying to find their place in the market. 

It’s also possible that some .io domains can be used as a way of shortening the name. This was the case with the campaign site for Marco Rubio. In this case, the site was rub.io. 

If people can remember your site easier, you’ll be able to get more visitors. So, over the long-term, the more costly domain might end up being a wise investment. 

There are a few other ways that you can make your domain name stand out;

  • Keep it short, so there’s less to remember. 
  • Use keywords in the domain name
  • Don’t use hyphens 
  • Choose something that will be easy to pronounce 
  • Pick a name that will be easy to spell

.io Doesn’t Get Geo-Targeted

When you purchase a .io, you’ll be able to get access to an international audience, as you don’t get geo-tagged. This is due to the way that search engines treat the domain. 

Generally, there are two types of domains online;

  • ccTLD- Which applies to countries. For example .au for Australia. 
  • gTLD-Which are more general. For example .com or .org.

The ccTLD tags are geo-targeted. This means that they are only shown to people in that country or region. On the other hand, gTLD sites are usually available around the world. 

Because of their popularity, .io is treated as gTLD. This means that it can be viewed by an international audience. As a result, people with this domain will be able to generate a lot of traffic. 

.io Is Popular With Mobile Gamers

In some cases, the .io might be in high demand because of the people who are searching for it. The mobile gaming market is huge, generating millions in revenue each year. Increasingly, the trend in this industry is to use the .io domain to create games. This has led to popular games like;

  • Agar.io
  • Hole.io
  • Slither.io
  • Deip.io

Each of these has been able to attract a larger player base. Because of this, more developers are trying to create their own .io game to cash in on the craze. 

.io Is Easier To Search For

When designing a site, it’s essential to try and shorter the domain as much as possible. The longer and more complex the name, the harder it will be for people to remember and search for. Which would you rather titanindustries.com or titan.io? 

This aspect has become important as smartphones have started to take over the market. It’s estimated that most online searches come via a mobile phone. With a smaller screen, the fewer characters the user needs to type in, the better. 

The .io domain can help all aspects of the site to become easier to manage. For example, you might want to use it to shorten your email address. 


So, do you think that it’s worth paying more for a .io domain? 

The domain that you choose will often have a big impact on the success of your website. You want to make sure that you are choosing something that people will remember and that they’ll be able to search easily. 

For the moment, the .io is largely used by those in the technology industry and mobile gaming developers. But, as the .io domain becomes more widely used, they will continue to become more expensive. So, if you want to get one, it’s best to jump in now, before you need to deal with a price hike. 

John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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