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Domains For Websites

  

Warnings About Alternative TLDs

If the domain name you want is just not available, you have a large number of alternatives. In years past, you had to be wary about some of these alternatives, but ICANN’s introduction of the new gTLDs has essentially changed this.

Of course, the first alternative is to see if your name is available in one of the many other TLDs. With the introduction of the new gTLDs, you’ll most likely be able to find your desired name available in a number of extensions. For a full list of current ICANN/IANA recognized namespaces can be found here. You can perform a quick search to see what extensions in which your name is available at DomainSearch.

If you don’t see the extension that you’re registering on the ICANN/IANA recognized list, you should proceed with caution.

Here are a few alternatives that could potentially still occur:

Sub Domains

As you may have seen elsewhere in the Domain Guide, it is possible with the right configuration to set up an essentially infinite number of sub domains for any given domain name. Thus, for example, you can make the sub domains:

news.mylonganddulldomainname.com
weather.mylonganddulldomainname.com
sport.mylonganddulldomainname.com

These all use “mylonganddulldomainname.com” as the starting point.

Now, you probably wouldn’t expect to be charged for “news.mylonganddulldomainname.com” – in fact, in this case you probably wouldn’t even use this domain if it was handed to you for free!

Unreachable (Alternative) TLDs

Here’s where the domain name picture starts to get really blurred!

Up until here, all the top-level domains (or sub-domains) have some official basis for their validity. But you’ll find a few uninvited guests at the domain name party – and like many uninvited guests, a few contortions are required to get entry.

Basically, the fundamental difference between alternative domains and regular domains is that they are NOT recognized at the Root DNS level. The mapping of domain names to IP addresses (which allows you to type in “Microsoft.com” into your browser yet have your computer – which speaks only numbers – communicate with Microsoft’s servers) is done by a number of large servers scattered around the world. If a domain name is in the Root DNS servers, it will resolve (that is, it can be translated into its IP address and therefore you can find the site). These Root DNS servers essentially act like dictionaries for domain names, translating them from text into numbers.

Some companies are selling domain names with TLDs that are not officially recognized by ICANN and hence they’re not allowed into the domain name dictionary, the Root DNS files. Just like you’ll be stuck if you look up a word in a dictionary and find it missing, browsers will be stuck trying to make sense of such domain names and you will be unable to connect to the site you’re trying to visit.

Unless…

Yes, there had to be an “unless” otherwise the names would be an impossible concept rather than just an improbable one! The get-around in this case is that IF your ISP has installed some special software OR if you go to the company’s site and download some special software. In either of these cases, you’ll be able to reach those domain names!

In practice, this means that the alternative domain names are a class of domains that are only accessible to a fraction of the Web population. In the past, such companies (like AfterNIC and new.net, for example) have forged some partnerships with pretty large companies, but at this point, 99% of the online population can not resolve these domain names – and hence cannot visit those sites.

The attraction is that you suddenly have a whole swathe of new domain extensions to play with. However, the very strong downside is that it puts your domain name off-limits to the majority of the web population, not to mention the fact that since these domains are not officially sanctioned top domains, they are at the mercy of the solvency of these ‘shady’ companies.

Every domain Registrar reviewed or listed here is an ICANN accredited Registrar…no need to worry about the problem if you use iGoldrush as your starting point.

Domain Search Tools

If you’re still having a difficult time finding a good domain name, try DomainIt’s domain name suggestion tool or look through the list of domain search tools on this site. While you still may not be able to get the exact name you wanted, you’ll likely find several suitable alternatives



2 Responses to Warnings About Alternative TLDs

  1. I sincerely hope this is an old article, as .chat and .video are now valid gTLDs.

    For those interested, a full list of current ICANN/IANA recognized namespaces can be found at http://data.IANA.org/tlds-alpha-by-domain.txt


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