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NIC.IO -- .IO Domain Registry
Introduced 1997
TLD type Country code top-level domain
Status Active
Registry NIC.IO (run by Internet Computer Bureau)
Sponsor IO Top Level Domain Registry (Cable and Wireless)
Intended use Entities connected with  British Indian Ocean Territory
Actual use Popular with startup companies; little of anything related to the territory itself.
Registration restrictions None for 2nd level registrations; 3rd level registrant must be resident of British Indian Ocean Territory
Structure Registrations are taken directly at the second level or at third level beneath various 2nd-level labels
Documents Terms & Conditions; Rules
Dispute policies Dispute Resolution Policy
Website NIC.IO

.io is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the British Indian Ocean Territory. Internationalized domain names may also be registered.[1]

Other than the Diego Garcia atoll, the territory has been uninhabited since the existing population was evacuated in 1973 and has no government of its own. Google currently treats .io as a generic top-level domain (gTLD) because "users and webmasters frequently see [the domain] more generic than country-targeted".[2]

.io domains are popular with new startup companies.[3] IO is also used in IT as an abbreviation for input/output, which makes the .io domain useful for domain hacks. IO also stands as an abbreviation for Internet Organization[citation needed]. In addition, .io domains are often used for open source projects and online services.[4]


The .io domain name is administered by the Internet Computer Bureau, a company based in the United Kingdom[5] which is required to give some of its profits to the British government, and then invests the rest in the DNS system.[6]

Each of Britain's overseas territories has an account which the British government puts money into for administration of the territories, and the profits from the .io domain names offset this cost.[6] However, due to the British expulsion of the native population from the territory, no indigenous Chagossians remain in the territory, the only residents being about 4000 military personnel and contractors.[7] For this reason, the indigenous Chagossians do not receive any monetary benefit from the sale of the domain names.

The sale of .io domain names has become a point of contention between Chagossians and the British. Sabrina Jean, chair of the U.K. Chagos Support Association has called the domain name sales "another example of the Chagossian people being robbed",[6] and the president of the Diego Garcia and Chagos Islands Council, Allen Vincatassin, has stated that "we do not know what sort of income is being received from the sale of these internet domains and to what use it is being put", calling upon the U.K. to provide transparency in the process.[8]


  1. ^ IDN Code Points Policy for the .IO Top Level Domain, NIC.IO 
  2. ^ "Geotargetable domains". Google. Retrieved 6 May 2013. 
  3. ^ "Popularity with startups". 
  4. ^ Beattie, Russell (2013-02-12). "The rise of .io domains for well crafted web services". Retrieved 2014-04-24. "There's lots of open source projects (Redis, Brackets, Launcher), a few mobile-app landing pages (Avocado, X-Ray), a ton of new web apps and services, several conference pages (Lightning, Renaissance, Resonate) and a few older companies or organizations who've changed their name to take advantage of a cleaner .io name." 
  5. ^ "IANA -.io Domain Delegation Data", Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, 28 March 2014
  6. ^ a b c "The dark side of .io: How the U.K. is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal", David Meyer, 30 June 2014
  7. ^ "CIA World Factbook - British Indian Ocean Territory", Central Intelligence Agency, 21 May 2014
  8. ^ Milmo, Cahal. "Government accused of profiting from sales of Chagos Islands '.io' domain name". Retrieved 4 September 2014. 

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