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.AI vs .IO Domains: Making the Right Choice for Your Tech Site

Table of Content

AI Wave: The Influence of .AI and .IO Domains
Understanding the .AI and .IO Domain Extensions
.AI Domain: a Symbol of AI Expertise
.IO Domains: Tech Versatility and Branding
.AI and .IO Domains Side by Side
.AI vs .IO in Action: Real-world Examples
Practical Considerations and Recommendations



In today's fast-paced digital world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a pivotal force. As businesses navigate this AI-driven era, the selection of domain extensions such as .ai and .io has gained paramount importance. These extensions go beyond mere web addresses; they embody a sleek, tech-savvy image that reflects a company's dedication to innovation and technology, profoundly shaping its online identity.
This blog aims to explore the nuances between .ai and .io domains, shedding light on their relevance in the dynamic AI landscape. By understanding these distinctions, readers will be better equipped to make informed decisions regarding their website or business's domain extension, aligning it seamlessly with their digital strategy and goals.

AI Wave: The Influence of .AI and .IO Domains

AI adoption transcends industry boundaries, with sectors that include healthcare, finance, retail, and manufacturing embracing its transformative potential. Currently, around 34% of companies actively leverage AI, while an additional 42% are exploring its capabilities to revolutionize their operations.
The rapid growth and expansion of the AI market present significant opportunities for early adopters. Technologies such as chatbots, image recognition software, and predictive analytics are reshaping business-customer interactions, highlighting the gravitational pull of AI innovations.
Both .ai and .io domains are playing a key role in the ongoing technological revolution by enhancing branding, aiding SEO efforts, and establishing credibility within the tech and AI communities. These domains can attract the right audience and convey a message of innovation, particularly for businesses deeply engaged in AI-related or technology-driven activities.

Understanding the .AI and .IO Domain Extensions

.AI Domain: a Symbol of AI Expertise

Launched in 2009 as Anguilla's country code TLD (ccTLD), the .ai domain has expanded globally, especially among tech giants and startups wishing to showcase their AI prowess. Registrations of .ai domains surged by over 156% from 2022 to 2023, highlighting the growing AI adoption across all major industries. By the end of 2023, there were 353.928 registrations.

Figure 1. Percentage Increase in .AI Registrations. Source: Originality.ai 2023.

Figure 2. Evolution of .AI registrations. Source: Originality.ai 2023.

On the flip side, a concerning trend has emerged: statistics have shown that almost half of .ai domains are held by unrelated third parties. This poses challenges for companies without secured .ai domains. It has also led to a 350% increase in disputes, notably in the banking, finance, and IT sectors. This emphasizes the importance of safeguarding online presence and brand identity in today's digital landscape.
Despite the challenges, securing a .ai domain offers significant advantages and can still be a powerful step in showcasing a company's commitment to cutting-edge technology, helping it stand out in the digital landscape.

Pros of .AI Domains:

  • Industry Affiliation: Using an .ai domain instantly communicates your business's core purpose related to AI, attracting the right audience seeking AI-based products or services while establishing credibility and relevance within the AI space.

  • Differentiation from Competitors: With an .ai domain, your brand stands out in a competitive market, showcasing authority and leadership in the AI industry and positioning your business as an early adopter with a distinct identity.

  • Memorability: An .ai domain facilitates recall due to its short, easy-to-pronounce structure, making it ideal for creating memorable web addresses that enhance brand recognition.

  • Innovative Branding: Associating your brand with AI through an .ai domain communicates a commitment to technological advancement and ingenuity, allowing for a wide-reaching impact on a global audience interested in AI solutions.

  • Easy Registration: Registering a .ai domain is straightforward and efficient through accredited registrars. This makes it convenient for businesses and individuals to quickly secure their desired domain names.

Cons of .AI Domains:

  • Limited Control Over .AI Domains: Many companies, including global brands, lack control over their branded artificial intelligence (.ai) domain names, exposing them to risks such as hijacking and brand misuse. 43% of .ai domains are owned by individuals or entities not affiliated with the companies they represent, while 49% of companies do not have a matching .ai domain registered, leaving those domains available for registration.

  • Rise in .AI Domain Disputes: The dramatic increase in disputes involving .ai domains is indicative of a rise in cyber threats targeting these domains.

  • Subdomain Vulnerabilities in .AI Domains: Inactive or misconfigured DNS records in .ai domains create vulnerabilities for subdomain hijacking, necessitating robust security measures.

.IO Domains: Tech Versatility and Branding

The .io domain is a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) assigned originally to the British Indian Ocean Territory. Despite its territorial association, the .io domain has gained popularity globally, especially among tech companies and startups. By April 2024, there were 220,804 registered .io domains, with major increases over the last few years. 62% of registrations were from the US. This popularity stems from its connection to "IO" as an abbreviation for input/output in computer science, reflecting the digital communication and interaction central to technology. The domain's appeal also lies in its lack of strict usage restrictions, making it accessible to individuals and entities worldwide for a variety of purposes, regardless of their connection to the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Figure 3. New registration of .IO domains 2021 to 2024. Source: Zonefiles.io.

Figure 4 .IO Geolocation. Source: Zonefiles.io 2024.

Pros of .IO Domains:

  • Tech Signal and Versatility: A .io domain not only signals your tech involvement due to its computer science association but also fits well with gaming, cryptocurrency, and creative web addresses.

  • Creative Brand Integration: .io domains offer opportunities or "domain hacks" for creative web addresses that are memorable and stand out, especially if your business name contains "io" or related words such as "radio" or "studio," allowing for a natural blend with your brand.

  • Global Recognition and Search Visibility: Google treats .io domains like regular global domains such as .com, rather than as country-specific domains. Unlike other country-specific domains such as .co.uk or .de, .io domains are recognized worldwide by Google and appear in search results just like any other widely-used domain.

  • Easy Availability: .io domains are easier to find and afford than .com domains which are often taken given they account for over 37% of the total share of websites vs just 0.19% of .io websites.

  • Simple to get: Registering a .io domain doesn't require extra steps, making it simple for anyone to register.

Cons of .IO Domains: 

  • Cost Challenges: .io domains come with higher prices and rising costs due to their popularity, which can be a disadvantage for startups or those with budget constraints, exacerbated by domain squatters driving up prices.

  • Limited Recognition: .io domains are not as widely recognized as .com domains, especially among users who are not familiar with the tech industry. This lack of recognition may lead to confusion or the perception that a business with a .io domain is less established than one with a .com domain.

  • Search and Trust Issues: .io domains can be harder to find as users often default to typing .com when searching for a website. Although it maintains a relatively robust trust ranking overall, some users may perceive .io domains as less trustworthy or legitimate compared to more established domain extensions. It may require extra effort to build trust and clarify the legitimacy of a .io domain for potential customers.

Figure 5. Domain Extensions Trust Ranking. Growthbadger 2024.

.AI and .IO Domains Side by Side

.ai domains have emerged as a symbol of innovation and expertise in AI and machine learning sectors. They are ideal for businesses with a strong focus on AI technologies, showcasing their dedication to cutting-edge advancements. Yet, they can also face challenges such as third-party ownership issues and be a focus of potential domain disputes. However, their distinctiveness and relevance within the AI industry make them a powerful choice for companies aiming to position themselves as leaders in the AI-driven landscape.
In contrast, .io domains are particularly suitable for tech firms or those seeking a catchy web address. They are cost-effective, widely available, and easy to remember, but may be misunderstood by non-tech audiences and are subject to increasing prices due to their popularity. Despite these considerations, .io domains offer versatility and accessibility, making them a viable choice for businesses looking to establish a strong online presence.

.AI vs .IO in Action: Real-world Examples

Imagine a visionary startup specializing in predictive analytics and machine learning solutions. Their choice of domain, DataDream.ai, goes beyond a mere web address—it's a bold declaration of their expertise and unwavering commitment to cutting-edge technologies. By adopting the .ai extension, companies similar to DataDream.ai can captivate tech-savvy clients and investors, effectively showcasing their dedication to AI-driven innovation.
Now, picture "PixelPirate.io," an adventurous gaming studio crafting immersive experiences for players worldwide. Their .io domain isn't just a playful touch—it's a nod to the popular .io gaming genre while signaling their tech-centric approach. Companies like PixelPirate.io can leverage .io extensions to engage a global gaming community, blending creativity with technology seamlessly. 

Practical Considerations and Recommendations

When deciding between .ai and .io domains, it's crucial to carefully consider your target audience, industry focus, and branding objectives. Having checked the availability of your preferred name under both extensions, think about how each extension is perceived by your audience. Let's look at a couple of scenarios to illustrate this:
To boost SEO impact, prioritize content quality and relevant keywords. Align with industry standards and select a flexible extension that supports your long-term goals and future expansion efforts. This comprehensive approach ensures an informed decision that protects your online presence and boosts brand recognition effectively.

Furthermore, securing domain ownership is paramount to avoid third-party issues. Consider trademark protection to strengthen legal safeguards. Regularly monitoring domain activities aids in detecting unauthorized use, while implementing robust security measures guarantees cybersecurity on both domains.


The choice between .ai and .io domains depends on aligning technical prowess with branding goals and audience appeal. Understanding the unique strengths and considerations of each domain extension is key to making a well-informed decision that resonates with your business objectives.
Whether you opt for the innovation-focused .ai domain or the versatile .io domain, both offer opportunities to establish a strong digital presence and showcase your expertise in the evolving tech landscape.
Ultimately, choosing the right domain extension is a strategic step that sets the stage for success and enhances your brand's visibility and credibility in the digital realm.


  - Can anyone buy .AI or .IO names?
Yes, both .ai and .io domains are available for registration by individuals and businesses globally. There are no specific geographical restrictions for purchasing these domain extensions.
- Are these domain names trustworthy?
Both .ai and .io domain names can be credible depending on how they are used and the reputation of the website they represent. Credibility is often influenced by factors such as content quality, website security, and overall brand reputation.
- How long does it take to register a .AI or .IO domain name?
The registration process for .ai and .io domain names typically takes a few minutes to complete once you choose a domain name that is available. However, the actual availability can vary depending on the registrar and any additional verification steps required.
- How does domain name extension affect SEO?
The domain name extension itself (such as .ai or .io) does not directly impact SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is more influenced by factors like relevant content, website structure, backlinks, and user experience. However, having a relevant and memorable domain name can indirectly contribute to SEO by making it easier for users to find and remember your website.
- Are .AI or .IO domains more costly than traditional domain extensions?
.ai and .io domains can vary in cost compared to traditional extensions such as .com or .net. Generally, .AI domains tend to be more expensive due to their popularity in tech and AI industries. On the other hand, .io domains are typically priced similarly to .com domains or slightly higher. Prices can vary by registrar, so it's best to check with different providers for specific pricing details.