Definitive guide to using .in domain name extension for your business in India

DomainsCategory
17 min read
Kamalika De

India houses the third largest Internet user base in the world, with more than 243 million people using the web to work and play. Yet, only about 500,000 of the estimated 40 million small businesses in India have websites, and even lesser businesses use the .in domain name extension.

Behind every business website is a domain name. Because your domain name serves as your website address, it is the first impression many people will have of your business.

There’s a huge opportunity for Indian small businesses in cyberspace — and a website address ending in India’s very own country-code top-level domain, .IN, can help them tap into that online business potential.

By choosing .in domain name rather than .com or .net, you show your pride of being an Indian to the entire world.

Let's learn more about the .in domain extension and how you can leverage advantages of using the .in domain for your business website.

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Introduction to .in domain name extension

What is the .in Domain Name Extension?

A domain is a unique address that individuals type into their web browser to access your website, your online presence.

Think of your registered domain name as your online home address. It's a digital street sign that people type into their web browsers to find your website. Once you register it, it's yours! Just like how you own your home, your domain name is unique and exclusive to you, keeping your digital identity safe and sound.

A domain name extension, also known as a Top-Level Domain (TLD), is the suffix at the end of a web address.

The .in domain name extension is the country code TLD (ccTLD) for India. It signifies that a website is associated with India, much like .ca for Canada or .au for Australia.

Importance of .in domain name extensions

In the digital age, the right domain name extension can be a powerful tool for businesses. For small businesses in India, a .in domain name extension can increase credibility and trust among local consumers. It signifies that the business operates within India, which can be a significant factor for consumers who prefer to support local businesses.

What is a .com domain?

The .com domain extension when introduced was intended for ecommerce websites. As .com is short for “commercial”, many individuals associate it with only commercial websites. It might not be a suitable domain for non-profit or local businesses.

As it is the most widely used domain extension, it has a global appeal. A .com extension is not limited to a specific country or a region but due to its popularity it is not readily available. You may need to change the name of your business if the .com domain has already been taken.

It is a top-level domain (TLD) and is best for organisations that operate for profit or individuals who may not be based in India.

It's generally not regarded as a good domain choice for educational institutions, as there's a preference for the .edu extension in such cases.

Advantages of using the .in domain name extension in India

A .in domain name has some distinct advantages over other popular options like .com or .net. Some of those pluses are as follows:

Creating a local identity: show your Indian pride

Proud to live or do business in India? With a .IN domain name, you can tie that national pride to your business or personal interests and trumpet it for all to see in your website address.

A .in website domain says you're from India. You can subtly show your business’s geographic location to your audience at a glance, with pride. Also, with a patriotic aura, .in domain can instill more confidence in the local website visitors to take your services.

A website address with in the .IN domain extension creates and builds a distinct Indian identity for brands, companies and individuals.

It’s also a great way to show your geographic location at a glance. For instance, say you sell gemstone jewelry from your home-based workshop in Surat. A website address such as SuratGems.IN instantly tells viewers what you do and where you do it, with pride.

You don’t have to own a business to benefit from a .IN website address, however. With the practice of buying domain names for personal use gaining traction in India, there’s never been a better time to set up a personal website ending in the .IN domain extension. The possibilities are endless.

Enhance local SEO and improve search engine ranking in local search results

When a website has .in at the end of its web address, search engines like Google assume it’s catering to Indian users. Thus, when an Indian user searches for, say handicrafts, Google ranks Indian handicraft websites bearing the .in domain name higher in the results.

Google has confirmed that ccTLD (country code top-level domains) help them geotarget the websites to the appropriate country. Google considers ccTLD recognised by ICANN, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. For the United Kingdom, .co.uk is a registered ccTLD and .in is registered as an official country code domain for India and recognised as a ccTLD by ICANN.

Which is why when an Indian user searches for, say handicrafts, Google ranks Indian handicraft websites bearing the .in domain name higher in the results.

Being available in the native language would enhance SEO as Google ranks the websites serving information in the local and native language higher in the specific geographical area. With a .com domain or other Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) which are not associated with a specific location, Google expects you to specifically set a country target using:

  • Specific hreflang statements, whether in tags, headers, or sitemaps
  • Server location (through the IP address of server)
  • Other signals such as local addresses, local language, currency or signals from Business Profile

So, you can reach your local customers a little more efficiently with a .in domain name.

Related: Small business search engine optimization (SEO)

Challenges to international SEO

If not using the .in domain, you would have to depend on Hreflang attributes. Hreflang attributes are HTML statements that specify the language and targeted geographical region of a webpage. Proper use of hreflang tags is crucial for websites that wish to target India’s growing market, especially if they do not use the .in ccTLD.

Even with use of proper indexing and tagging on the developer’s end, Google incorrectly indexes the hreflang HTML often. For instance, Google may serve the USA website to India despite proper hreflang tag implementation. If a potential customer sees the product is available in US currency, they may think it is not available in India if the search result does not showcase the correct website. An .in domain would combat those challenges.

International businesses like Amazon, Decathlon, Dominos and Google all use .in or .co.in ccTLD for the Indian market to ensure they rank high in the Indian local market.

Screenshot of Amazon.in URL

Screenshot of Dominos.co.in URL

Screenshot of Decathlon.in URL

Offers better chances for the choicest domain

You want people to remember your website address so they can check it out when they get home and tell their friends about it. That’s why it’s so important to secure a domain name that’s not too long and doesn’t contain a bunch of special characters.

You’ve got an excellent chance of getting a shorter, more representative .IN domain name because the .IN namespace domain name is not as competitive as the .com domain name. It appeals to a more targeted market.

So, you might get a short website name like AcharyaSarees.in easily.

With shorter and simpler domain names, you can make your website URL easier to remember for people.

But, in the case of .com, it can be troublesome to pick a domain name of your choice. You might find that your favorite choices are already registered, and you'll have to settle for a long domain name, like AcharyaSareesIndiaOnline.com instead.

Or, you can try to contact the owner of the domain and make an offer for it (use a WHOIS domain lookup tool like the one from GoDaddy to get domain information details).

Boost trust and credibility globally

A .IN website address can also hold value for non-Indian businesses who market their products or services in India or that hope to grow into a global force. This is a great opportunity to capitalize on India’s captive Internet audience. You can even add a .IN domain that redirects to you main site (more on that below).

If you don’t have an international presence, think about the value of wordplay. A locksmith using letme.IN? Golden! A local shoe store with a website at Shoestorun.IN? Brilliant. Because .IN domains are available to anybody, any blogger or business owner in the world can turn their online identity into an attention-grabbing pun.

Protect your brand

Even if you’ve already got a website ending in .COM, .NET or .ORG, consider adding a .IN domain that redirects to your main site. This can give your business greater visibility, more traffic, and, ultimately, more customers.

It can also help protect your brand. Many businesses register multiple domain names to cover their brand bases from every angle. The idea is simple: If you own a domain, your competition doesn’t. In addition to SuratGems.IN, here are a few other domains you might register to protect that brand online:

  • SuratGems.com
  • SuratGems.diamonds
  • SuratGems.guru
  • SuratGems.gifts
  • SuratGems.direct

Check out this post to learn more about selecting and registering strategic domain names.

Make a smart domain investment

In addition to small business owners and web-savvy individuals, investors or domain resellers (aka domainers) with an eye on the global market can practically bank on a portfolio that includes .IN domains. Wise investors always seek to capitalize on emerging markets, and the Indian web market is expected to boom.

Editor's Note: New to domain investing? Here's an ultimate guide to help you get started!

What are the differences between .in and .com domains?

Target audience

Opting for a .in domain is preferable when targeting an Indian audience. However, if your focus involves global commercial activities, a .com domain would be more fitting for establishing a broader online presence.

Local and international SEO implications

A .in domain is advantageous for local SEO, as Google tends to prioritise websites with an approved ccTLD in local search results. In contrast, a .com domain would necessitate intricate and complex utilisation of hreflang tags to mitigate any potential adverse effects on international SEO.

Price of domains

Depending on your choice of domain, a .in domain could be potentially cheaper than a .com domain. You can use GoDaddy’s Domain Search feature to compare prices, as well as explore domain management and registration details

Availability and ease of access

Given that global commercial organizations may prefer to use a .com domain, you might find a .in domain more readily available if you are planning to get a domain for your India-based business. This is worth considering if you find that the .com domain of your preferred domain is taken and you are facing a challenge trying to find a domain that you would like.

Regulatory restrictions

As .in is a ccTLD recognised by ICANN, opting for a .in domain signals to search engines like Google that your website's content is for the Indian audience. While there are no specific regulatory restrictions for the .in domain, Google tends to prioritise websites with a local Indian address registered to a .in domain. A .com domain is global and thus, is not ranked higher if it has an address associated with a specific geographic region.

Ease of finding technical support and services

Finding technical support for .com domains can be tricky, as can associated services. GoDaddy offers technical support for those looking to purchase various ccTLDs and .com domains. It’s essential to partner with a reliable company for your website creation as your website is the online face of your business. With GoDaddy's expertise, you can ensure your online presence is in good hands, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

How to register for .in domain name extension in India?

Choosing the Right .in Domain Name

Your domain name is your identity on the internet. It’s the address of your business on the internet. So, you should make sure the name is appropriate for your services. Here are seven tips to choose a domain name ideal for you:

Do your research

You would want to stay away from conflicts or legal issues with the domain name you choose. For example:

  • You can’t use a name that is already registered.
  • And you shouldn’t try to use a trademarked name.

Therefore, the first step is to research well.

A basic Google search can help you find if someone is already using the business or product name you want to use, or its variants. Then, you can search for the trademarked names on ipindiaonline.gov.in.

Government of India trade mark search

Along with those, you should also check social media platforms to find if your preferred domain name is available as a username. It’s a good practice to have a same domain name and social media usernames.

Choose brandable words

Your domain name is the online image for you and your business. So, it must be memorable and stand out from the crowd.

GoDaddy .in domain name generator mobile view

You can play with existing words to create some new and catchy words for your domain.

GoDaddy’s domain name generator can also help you land on a unique and brandable domain from your name ideas.

The other option is to check the thesaurus for interesting synonyms and other related words for your domain name ideas.

Make it easy to spell

Your domain name should be easy to spell and pronounce. It shouldn’t have any unnatural combination of words or words which are bound to be misspelled. One should be able to write the spelling by hearing the name.

For example, it’s easier to recall and correctly type FoodExpress.in than FoodXpress.in.

Also, avoid combinations with repeated alphabets, e.g., FizzZone.in or BlissStation.in. Your prospects might make a typo and visit some other website without realizing.

You should also avoid words that might change their meaning when combined. The name SongsHits.in, for example, might be interpreted differently than you intend to.

Keep it short

Your domain name should be as short and simple as possible. Short domain names (between 6 and 15 characters) are easy to remember, type, and call out.

Also, many people might consider a long domain name, like BestBooksOnlineForFree.in as spam.

The alternative FreeBooks.in would sound a lot more trustworthy.

You can explore the synonyms and related words to come up with an alternative, and maybe even cheaper domain names, in case a name of your choice isn’t available. You can even try shortening the words in your business name (e.g., FedEx and Airbnb) or abbreviating them (e.g., BBC and CNN).

Avoid numbers and hyphens

Numbers and dashes or hyphens aren’t user-friendly in a domain name. With them, the spelling is often unclear, and the pronunciation is misunderstood.

Let’s take Restaurant-24Seven.in as an example.

When you ask people to visit it, some customers might mistake the spelt out seven with numeric 7. Many of them might miss putting in the hyphen. At times, you too might miss mentioning that. So, stick to only alphabets in your domain name.

Use keywords

You can put keywords in your domain name to describe your business and the services you offer.

For example, ATKrepairs.in will make more sense than the domain ATK.in to someone who’s looking for electronics repairers.

Person searching for a domain on a laptop

Keywords in the domain name can also provide a slight boost to your search engine rankings.

However, it’s best to avoid stuffing your domain name with multiple keywords. They make the name long and difficult to remember. Also, the name might look and sound generic.

Think long-term growth

When you register a domain name, you will likely have it for years to come. It becomes your online identity.

And an established online identity would be troublesome to change.

For example, you shouldn’t choose HiTechWebDev.in as your domain name just because you're into web development today. If you want to add graphic design services later, you'll need to register an entirely new domain name. You'll lose your branding and search ranking, and have to start from scratch.

So, consider long-term vision for your business while searching for a domain name.

Process of domain registration: registering a .in domain name extension

Registering a .in domain name extension is simple. Choose a domain name registrar accredited by the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI), search for your preferred domain name, and follow the registrar's instructions to complete the registration. Keep in mind that the domain name you choose should be unique, easy to remember, and representative of your business.

Success Stories of Businesses Using .in Domain Name Extension

Flipkart, one of India's biggest online retailers, is a great example of a successful business that uses a .in domain name extension. The company has grown exponentially since its 2007 launch, with its .in domain name extension playing a pivotal role in its local SEO strategy and brand identity.

Common myths and misconceptions about .in domain name extension

Myth 1: .in domain name extension is only for Indian businesses

While the .in domain name extension signifies an association with India, it is not restricted to Indian businesses. Any individual or entity can register a .in domain, making it a versatile choice for businesses targeting the Indian market.

Myth 2: .in domain names are expensive

Contrary to this common misconception, .in domains are often cheaper than other popular TLDs like .com or .net. Plus, the potential SEO benefits can offer a high return on investment.

Why your business needs a .in domain name extension

To hold a solid position in cyberspace as an Indian small or medium business, you must have a website address. And when that web address ends with .in, you can easily tap into the online business potential.

By doing profound research, choosing the right words, including keywords and having long-term growth in mind, you can easily create a perfect .in domain and make your business stand out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about .in domain name extension

H3: What is the Renewal Process for a .in Domain Name Extension?

Can foreign businesses use the .in domain name extension? Can I register a .in domain name if I'm outside India?

Yes, you can register a .in domain name regardless of your location.

How Does a .in domain name extension impact SEO?

Yes, a .in domain name can enhance local SEO, making your site more visible to users in India.

Does a .in domain name improve SEO?

Yes, a .in domain name can enhance local SEO, making your site more visible to users in India.

What if my preferred .in domain name is taken?

Check out this article to learn what other options are available for you.

This post on the .in domain extension was originally published on 3 November, 2021 and was updated on 12 December, 2023 and 25 May, 2024. It also contains content written by Erik Wong and Kadambari Bahl.

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