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What is a domain hack?

Find out how you can hack a creative domain.

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Brief Summary

Glossary

A domain hack is a clever way of creating a domain name by using the domain extension creatively to form a word or phrase. For example, using the domain extension .ly to create the domain name “love.ly”.

Did you know 350.4 million registered domain names existed at the beginning of 2023? This number continues to rise, making it harder to find a suitable domain for your business by yourself. But, there is a creative solution: domain hacking. We want to tell you more about domain hacks in this article.

What is a domain hack?

A domain hack is a technique where you use a top-level domain, such as .uk or .com, in your name to form a word. You can create a unique and memorable domain name that suits your business with a domain hack.

A domain hack does not mean a malicious person hacks a domain name. This is called ‘domain hijacking’.

How does a domain hack work?

You always use a top-level domain to form a word for a domain hack. The top-level domain can differ from the region or industry in which you operate. Take the domain hack ‘love.ly’, a domain name for lovely stuff. .LY is Libya’s country code top-level domain and therefore has nothing to do with lovely.

The pros and cons of domain hacks

Domain hacks bring both advantages and disadvantages. Below, we have listed them for you.

Advantages

  • Unique

With a domain hack, you develop an eye-catching domain name to make your business stand out.

  • Creative

A domain hack shows your creativity.

  • Available

You are more likely to be able to register a domain name right away because it is still free.

Disadvantages

  • Confusion

A domain hack involves the top-level domain. As a result, it may not be immediately clear what the domain name refers to, and confusion arises.

  • Unknown

Not everyone is familiar with domain hacks. This can cause people to not immediately know what your website is about or not immediately recognise your brand.

  • SEO challenges

Choosing a country code top-level domain, such as .de, where your target audience is not located, may affect your website’s SEO.

How do you choose a domain hack?

When choosing a domain hack, it is essential to consider several things. You will read below which things we mean.

  • Location

Some top-level domains have restrictions. For instance, some country code top-level domains require you to be based in the country or region.

  • Target

Think about the purpose of your website. Choose a domain hack that suits what you want to convey.

  • Keyword

Choose a word that your target audience uses when searching for related information.

  • Combinations

Make a list of relevant words and brainstorm different domain names.

  • Pronounceable

Choose a domain hack that is easily pronounceable to your target audience.

Tip: Could you use some help with coming up with a domain hack? Use a domain hack generator. Search in Google for ‘domain hack generator’, and you will find countless generators.

Domain hack examples

A domain hack is not new; it has existed for decades. On 23 November 1992, for example, ‘inter.net’ was registered. In 2002, ‘who.is’ was created with Iceland’s top-level domain’ .is’. And in 2010, Apple launched ‘itun.es’ with Spain’s top-level domain ‘.es’.

You can create a domain hack with country code and generic top-level domains. Here are some examples:

Domain hacks with a country code top-level domain

Most domain hacks are made with a country code top-level domain (ccTLD). These are top-level domains consisting of 2 letters that represent a particular country or region, such as .uk for the United Kingdom and .eu for Europe.

Examples of ccTLD domain hacks:

  • Spotify: spoti.fi (Finland)
  • Google: goo.gl (Greenland)
  • LinkedIn: lnkd.in (India)

Domain hacks with a generic top-level domain

You can also create a domain hack with a generic top-level domain (gTLD). A gTLD says something about a particular theme – for example, .com is for commercial purposes, and .shop is for online shops.

Examples of gTLD domain hacks:

  • Photo.camera
  • Data.centre
  • Video.games

In brief

With a domain hack, you can creatively develop a domain name for your business. Especially with more and more registered domains, you can still find a suitable domain name via a domain hack. However, remember that not everyone is familiar with the domain hack technique, which could confuse your target audience.

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