What Is .io and What Is It Used For?

.co vs .com

What Is .io and What Is It Used For?

Key Points

  • The .io domain is a top-level domain (TLD) used by tech companies and startups, as well as healthcare and software development industries.
  • The .io domain is popular because it offers greater availability and the ability to register unique names compared to .com and .net domains.
  • Using .io as a domain can make a company more recognizable in the tech industry, but it may be seen as less credible and more expensive compared to other TLDs.
  • Overall, using .io can be a good choice for tech and finance companies looking for a unique and recognizable domain name.

A web domain carries a certain weight to companies and site visitors. Many companies know that something as seemingly simple as a domain name can signal competence in marketing strategy. Most domains, like .com and .net, are referred to as top-level domains, or TLDs. Yet another TLD is making its way in the technology age. That is the .io domain. However, what is .io, and what is it used for? This article will explore everything you need to know about the domain, who uses it, and why you may want to consider using it as well. 

The .io Domain Fully Explained

Just like .com, .org, .net, and .edu domains, .io is what’s called a top-level domain. A top-level domain, or TLD, is the final segment in a domain name. It denotes and classifies websites not only based on their purpose and content, but also on their location/origin and their web servers. For example, you may find some websites end in .us or .en. The .us will let you know a site originates in the United States, while the .en will let you know the site text is in English. Sometimes, you can change the .en to read .es or .fr to see the text in Spanish or French, respectively. 

That being said, the .io domain is the country code TLD for entities associated with the British Indian Ocean Territory. However, some domains may be registered for a purpose other than geographical identity. IO is also an abbreviation of input/output, so .io is a popular up-and-coming domain name for tech companies. If you see a domain that ends in .io, the website may belong to a startup in the tech or finance industry. Other industries that use the domain are healthcare and software development.

The .io domain is increasingly popular with startups because registering a unique name tends to be easier than with some .com sites. Let’s look into the advantages and drawbacks companies may face when using the input/output domain.

Oldest Active Website
.io is a top-level domain, or TLD, which is the final segment in a domain name.


Pros and Cons of Using .io

Because the domain can make or break a company’s marketing strategy, it’s important to explore the pros and cons of using a specific domain name. First, let’s look at why you may want to use a .io for your domain. 


More Recognizable 

Because the letters “I” and “O” are also an abbreviation for input/output, the .io domain is used in tech industries, even though it is not used as often as .com or .org. Lately, the .io domain is almost synonymous with tech and finance companies. For example, the company Aha!, a software company that makes project management tools, uses the domain. 

Greater Availability 

Because domains like .com and .net have been around for so long, they, along with other top-level domains, make up the majority of websites. Therefore, getting a website that ends in either may be an uphill battle. However, because .io is relatively new and the .com and .net domains are ubiquitous, it is easier to secure the desired name using .io instead.

We should point out that, despite the higher availability, you won’t be able to register a site at google.io. Most tech giants have done that already to protect themselves. 

That’s not to say that companies like Google and Yahoo, who have already secured their .io domain, will start to use them. This doesn’t mean you can find a usable and interactive site at google.io. either. It just means that the domain is becoming more popular, and these enterprises recognize it. Therefore, they’ve reserved their environment so others cannot benefit by using it themselves. 

Largest data mining companies
Big companies like Google have already registered .io domains to keep other companies from using them.


Now, let’s consider some reasons why you would not want to use .io as your top-level domain. 


Less Credible

Because the .io domain is so new, it is seen as less reputable and therefore, less trustworthy. It’s possible some may see the .io field and not believe that it’s a legitimate site from a reputable business. However, we imagine in time, this will become less of an issue. 

More Expensive

While the domain is relatively new, it is gaining popularity. However, there are still a limited number of .io domains available. So if you understand the rule of supply and demand, it makes sense that .io names may be more expensive than other TLD names. Of course, prices will also vary based on your web hosting service and other factors. 


There is some controversy around the .io domain name due to geopolitical issues regarding the Chagos Archipelago, located within the British Indian Ocean Territory where the .io domain originates. The legitimacy of the .io domain has been disputed due to the UK government’s alleged refusal to provide financial support to the displaced Chagos people.

Using .io for Your Company Website

If you’re considering using .io for your domain name, it is essential to consider the advantages and disadvantages first. If you’re a tech or finance company or a startup, using .io may be a good idea to use .io. because the domain name is easily recognizable in these industries. For example, visitors and customers can quickly identify what your company does or what content they may find on your website.

In addition, because .com and .net domains are so common, it may be easier to get the name you want using .io instead. Also, search engines like Google won’t automatically assume your .io site is from a specific geographic area, making the name a good choice for a company in any location. 

Finally, a website ending in .io will be more straightforward for some to remember due to its uniqueness. 

Although there are some disadvantages to using .io domains, such as lower credibility due to their newness and the possibility of higher costs, the domain is a unique and recognizable top-level domain name that is gaining popularity among tech startups, as well as gaming and finance companies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is .io usually used for?

Companies that use the .io domain tend to be in finance, tech, or SaaS companies. The domain is also attractive to startups.

Why is .io expensive domain?

Because .io domains are rare, they may be more expensive than other TLD names like .com.

What big companies have .io domains?

Some tech enterprises such as Yahoo have registered .io domains, however they don’t necessarily use them. They’re parked to keep others from registering them.

Do .io domains rank on Google?

The domain .io may actually rank higher on Google because the search engine considers it to be generic, or not country-specific.

Do domain names still matter?

Yes, they can afftect your SEO rankings and signal smart marketing techniques.

To top