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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. In addition, .io domains are often used for open source projects and online services.[4]


Several South Pacific nations receive substantial income from TLD licensing[citation needed]. For example, .tv brings in millions of dollars each year for the island nation of Tuvalu,[5] and .me provides similar income for Montenegro[citation needed]. However, a result of the British expulsion of the native population from the territory is that said population (called Chagossians) does not see such economic gains, as they instead go directly to the British government[citation needed]. This is one of several points of contention between the Chagossians and the British[citation needed].


  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. ^ "Impact Assessment Tuvalu - Country Response". un.org. United Nations. Retrieved 23 July 2014. 

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