Millions of entrepreneurs have taken an essential step to make their business more professional: they’ve incorporated or registered their business. Compared to operating as a sole proprietor, forming a business entity can provide legal liability protection and other benefits.
There’s also a domain name benefit: companies can register domains that end in the type of company they’ve formed, such as companyname.llc or companyname.inc.
More names are available in these top level domains than some of the popular domain extensions such as .COM, so there’s a good chance that your company name is available to register.
Here’s a rundown of some of the corporate identifiers that are available as domain name extensions, and if there are requirements in order to register them.
Limited Liability Companies (LLC) are a popular form of corporate organization. Many entrepreneurs set up an LLC to separate their business from themselves — both legally and financially. LLCs can choose the .LLC domain name extension at the end of their company name, e.g., companyname.llc.
.LLC names are relatively inexpensive, and you don’t have to complete any extra steps to register the domains because they’re open to everyone. So even if you haven’t formed your LLC yet, you can reserve your .LLC domain today.
INC stands for Incorporated. Companies that use Inc are usually bigger companies, but some companies choose this corporate structure for other reasons. For example, it’s a typical structure for companies that have outside investors.
The registry behind .INC pitches it as more than a domain name; registrants get $2,500 in benefits when registering a .INC domain, such as a Quickbooks subscription. But here’s the catch: these domains are expensive — over $2,000 per year. The upside of this is that almost all domains are available under .INC, so you can secure your company name in .INC even if it’s a popular term.
LTD is an abbreviation for Limited, and it’s a type of limited liability company popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada. There’s no requirement to register .LTD domain names and they are inexpensive. So you can reserve your .LTD domain even if you haven’t yet formally formed your Limited company.
Think of Limitada as limited companies in Latin America. It’s short for Sociedade Limitada or Sociedad de Responsabilidad Limitada. .LTDA domain names are only available for companies that are already formed as an LTDA in Brazil and other Latin American countries.
GmbH is short for “Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung,” which translates as “company with limited liability” in German. It is a popular form of company in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Registrants of .GMBH domains must prove they are a registered GmbH if they are challenged, but there’s no upfront requirement to provide documentation.
A société à responsabilité limitée, or SARL, is a type of limited liability company that is particularly popular in France and Luxembourg. .SARL domains are open for registration by anyone.