Hacking can be a bad word, but not when it’s applied to domain names. Domain hacking refers to using your creativity to make fun domain names that span across the dot.
Domain hacking combines the second level domain and top level domain to make a memorable domain name. The second level domain is the part to the left of the dot that forms your personal domain address. The top level domain, or TLD, is the part to the right of the dot.
In the domain example.com, the second level domain is ‘example’ and the top level domain is ‘com’.
Let’s explore some of the ways you can “hack” your domain to come up with a memorable address for your website, email address, and more.
Create Domain Hacks with Country-Code Domains
There are many domain extensions other than .COM, and some form interesting suffixes or compelling combinations.
Most domain hacks use country code top level domains. These domains are two-letter domains that are assigned to countries. Most can be registered by anyone, regardless of where they live. The two-letter endings are easy to combine with second level domains to create hacks.
For example, the domain name .LY can turn many words into adverbs.
To get your creative juices flowing, take a look at the country code domains that Namecheap offers.
Some of the country codes that lend themselves to domain hacks include Iceland’s .IS, the United State’s .US, India’s .IN, and Montenegro’s .ME. Depending on the word or brand you want to hack, you might find even more combinable TLDs.
One of the earliest examples of a popular website using a domain hack with a country code domain was DEL.ICIO.US. The social bookmarking service combined the second level domain icio with the top level domain .US, then added a subdomain ‘del’ to spell the word delicious.
Of course, remembering where both dots go is difficult, so most hacks don’t include a subdomain.
Some examples of companies using a country code domain for a domain hack include:
- LinkedIn: LNKD.IN (India’s country code domain)
- Playstation: PLAY.ST (São Tomé and Príncipe domain)
- Xbox Live: XBX.LV (Latvia domain)
- Adidas: A.DID.AS (American Somoa domain)
- Spotify: SPOTI.FI (Finland domain)
- Google: GOO.GL (Greenland domain)
It’s not just brands that use hacks. You can create hacks with ordinary words, too. That’s what Buy Me a Coffee, a site that helps creators make money, did. It bought the domain name CREATI.NG for €8,256.
You can hack a domain as long as the word you like ends in two letters that correspond to one of the hundreds of country codes. Other examples of domain hacks include SOCI.AL, WALL.ET, FAMO.US, REP.LY, TAX.IS, RAD.IO, and LOVE.LY.
Create Domain Hacks with New Top Level Domains
You can also create domain hacks using new TLDs. These are hundreds of domain extensions that have come out since 2014.
Many of these extensions are words that can be combined with second level domains to create cool web addresses.
In fact, some of the most valuable new TLDs are domain hacks that make common words and phrases.
Both VACATION.RENTALS and HOME.LOANS sold for over $500,000!
Other examples of domain hacks using new top level domains are AIR.SPACE, LIGHT.HOUSE, NIGHT.CLUB, and SIMPLI.CITY.
Namecheap offers hundreds of new top level domains that are perfect for domain hacks. Peruse the list to find a great hack.
Putting a Domain Hack to Use
A domain hack can be used as a primary brand domain name, but many companies use them as secondary domains. Domain hacks can be difficult to remember (where does that dot go?) so it’s best to use them for visual media.
One widespread use is as a URL shortener for social media. Characters are in short supply on social media, so a domain hack is a fun way to save a few letters.
Google, Adidas, and LinkedIn use the domain hacks mentioned earlier when tweeting links.
Find Your Hack
Ready to find your domain hack? There’s a free tool to find domain hacks for any word.
For example, DomainHacks shows that outrageous can be hacked as OUTRAGEO.US. The site shows other combinations if you’re willing to cut some vowels or use subdomains like del.icio.us did.
Once you find your hacks, register the domains at Namecheap and show your fun new domains to your friends.