ⓘ .io


ⓘ .io

The Internet country code top-level domain.io is assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory.

The.io domain is administered by the Internet Computer Bureau, a domain name registry company based in the United Kingdom.

Googles ad targeting treats.io as a generic top-level domain gTLD because "users and webmasters frequently see more generic than country-targeted."


1. Specifications

Labels for.io domains may only contain alphanumeric characters and hyphens, and must be between 3 and 63 characters long. Domain names cannot begin or end with a hyphen symbol, and may not contain two consecutive hyphens. The entire domain name may not contain more than 253 characters.


2. Administration

The right to administer domain names is given to approved organisations by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority IANA. The Internet Computer Bureau ICB administers.io domains. This domain name registry is a British company, and operates for this purpose under the name NIC.IO. The company also holds the rights to sell the.sh and.ac domains, the top-level domains for the Islands of Saint Helena and Ascension, respectively.


2.1. Administration Registration and restrictions

Individuals and organisations are allowed to register.io domains.

Applicants for the registration of.io domains do not need to be registered or established in the British Indian Ocean Territory. Third-level domains, such as "xyz.com.io", can only be registered by an inhabitant of the area. Any second-level domains used by NIC.IO and top-level domains cannot be used as a third-level domain. For example, the domains "com.com.io", "org.com.io", and "biz.com.io" are all restricted.

Domain names in.io may not be used, "for any purpose that is sexual or pornographic or that is against the statutory laws of any nation." If this requirement is breached, "NIC.IO reserves the right to immediately deactivate the offending registration."

.io domains may be registered for a minimum of one year, and a maximum of 5 years.

Domain names in.io are priced higher than those in other TLDs. Registering an available.io-domain currently at 29 September 2019 costs US$90 per annum.


3. Usage

The.io domain has considerable usage unrelated to the British Indian Ocean Territory.

In computer science, "IO" or "I/O" is commonly used as an abbreviation for input/output, which makes the.io domain desirable for services that want to be associated with technology.io domains are often used for open source projects, application programming interfaces "APIs", startup companies, video games, and other online services. Notable video games using.io domain include Agar.io, Diep.io, Surviv.io, and Hole.io.

The TLD is also used for domain hacks, as the letters "io" are an ending of many English terms. For example, Rub.io is a shortened URL that was used for the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign of Marco Rubio.

One reason given for the TLDs popularity is that it stands out by being shorter than other TLDs. Also, the.io TLD is less occupied than other TLDs, so its more likely that a given term is available there.

In Italian, io is the first-person singular pronoun English "I", which makes the domain appealing for personal websites. In Esperanto io is the assertive existential indefinite pronoun English "something".


4. Controversy

According to a Gigaom interview with Paul Kane, chairman of the Internet Computer Bureau, the domain name registry is required to give some of its profits to the British government, for administration of the British Indian Ocean Territory.

After being questioned as a result of the interview, the British Government denied receiving any funds from the sale of.io domain names, and argued that consequently, the profits could not be shared with the Chagossians, the former inhabitants forcibly removed by the British government.