.US Domain Names – Born in the USA

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Quiz question — what’s the domain name for the United States? Is it .com perhaps? You’d be forgiven for thinking so, as practically all US-based commercial Web sites use the .com domain. But in actual fact, .com is known as a ‘generic top-level domain’ (gTLD); ‘generic’ because parties worldwide can register .com domains without restriction. Other examples of gTLDs are .net and .org.

What’s a .US?

So if it isn’t .com then what is it? The answer is the almost unheard of .us domain. This is the official two-letter ‘country code top-level domain’ (ccTLD) for the USA.

Every country in the world has a two-letter domain allocated to it. In Germany, it’s .de. In the UK, it’s .uk, and in Japan, .jp. These country code domains are all incredibly popular in their own countries. In fact, for most European and Asian countries, the country code domain is much more popular than generic domains such as .com. So why doesn’t the same apply to .us in America?

The answer is that until now, .us has been a ‘restricted’ domain, and has only been available in the ‘locality space’ at the third level and above.

So for instance, it was possible to register www.county.arlington.va.us but not myname.us or mycompany.us. In other words, nobody could register the .us domain they wanted. Because of the restricted nature of the .us domain, American companies, organizations, and individuals naturally turned elsewhere — in particular to the .com generic top-level domain. So .com became the de facto country code domain name for America.

But all that has now changed. ICANN wisely decided to open up the .us name space, and make it available for people to register second-level domains, or as they’re better known, domain names.

Who Can Register a .US?

So just who can register a .us domain name? Here is what NeuStar, the official .us registrar have to say about it:

“Any U.S. citizen or resident, as well as any business or organization, including federal, state, and local government with a bona fide presence in the United States can register a .US domain name. One of the following three eligibility requirements must be met: 1) A natural person (i) who is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America or any of its possessions or territories or (ii) whose primary place of domicile is in the United States of America or any of its possessions, or 2) Any entity or organization that is incorporated within one of the fifty (50) U.S. states, the District of Columbia, or any of the United States possessions or territories or (ii) organized or otherwise constituted under the laws of a state of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, or any of its possessions or territories, or 3) An entity or organization (including federal, state, or local government of the United States, or a political subdivision thereof) that has a bona fide presence in the United States. See Section B.3.1 of the NeuStar proposal to the Department of Commerce for details concerning what constitutes a “bona fide presence.”

So if you’re:

  • American,
  • resident in America,
  • domiciled in America,
  • have your business incorporated in America, or /# linefeed #
  • your organization has a ‘bona fide presence’ in America,
then you are eligible to register one or more .us domains.

Registrars will require registrants to indicate they are eligible to register .us domains at the time of registration. If any names are registered by parties not eligible, these can be challenged post-registration by activating a dispute policy.

When Can I Register a .US?

On the 24th April 2002, at precisely 10.00 a.m. Eastern Time, live registrations in the .us domain space will be taken for the very first time, on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Why Should I Register a .US?

Haven’t we all had enough of new domain names? Surely there are enough to go around now? Yes and no. There are plenty of generic top-level domains to choose from, especially with the recent additions of .biz and .info. But .us is unique and importantly at this time, uniquely American.

It is the country code domain for the United States. Given the understandable recent rise in the levels of patriotism in the States, all the indicators are that .us will prove extremely popular to American people and organizations. If you want a domain name that says you were ‘Born in the USA’, go and register a .us domain name today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about .US Domain Names

What are the benefits of using a .US domain name?

A .US domain name is the official country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United States. It offers several benefits. Firstly, it can help businesses establish a strong online presence in the U.S. market. It can also boost your search engine rankings, especially for local searches, as search engines often prioritize local content. Additionally, a .US domain name can help you build trust with your American audience, as it shows that you are based in or have a strong connection with the U.S.

Who can register a .US domain name?

The .US domain name is available to any U.S. citizen or resident, as well as any business or organization, including federal, state, and local government with a bona fide presence in the United States. One of the key requirements is that the registrant must have a valid U.S. address that can be verified.

How does a .US domain name impact SEO?

A .US domain name can positively impact your SEO, especially for local searches. Search engines like Google often prioritize local content in their search results. Therefore, having a .US domain can help your website rank higher in search results in the United States.

Can I transfer my .US domain name to another registrar?

Yes, you can transfer your .US domain name to another registrar. The process is similar to transferring any other domain name. You will need to obtain an authorization code from your current registrar and provide it to the new registrar. The transfer process typically takes five to seven days.

Can non-U.S. residents register a .US domain name?

Non-U.S. residents can register a .US domain name if they have a bona fide presence in the United States. This means they must have a real and substantive connection with the U.S., such as regularly conducting business, maintaining an office, or other persistent activity.

How can I renew my .US domain name?

The process of renewing your .US domain name depends on your registrar. Typically, you will need to log into your account with the registrar and follow the prompts to renew your domain. Some registrars offer automatic renewal services, so your domain doesn’t accidentally expire.

Can I register a .US domain name if I already have a .com domain?

Yes, you can register a .US domain name even if you already have a .com domain. In fact, many businesses register multiple domain names to protect their brand and capture more online traffic.

What happens if my .US domain name expires?

If your .US domain name expires, it will typically go through a grace period, a redemption period, and then be released for anyone to register. During the grace period, you can usually renew your domain at the regular price. During the redemption period, you can still renew your domain, but there will be an additional redemption fee.

Can I register a .US domain name for more than one year?

Yes, you can register a .US domain name for more than one year. The exact length of registration depends on the registrar, but many offer registration periods of up to 10 years.

Can I use a .US domain name for a personal website?

Yes, you can use a .US domain name for a personal website. The .US domain is not limited to businesses or organizations. Any U.S. citizen or resident can register a .US domain name.

Lee HodgsonLee Hodgson
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Lee operates DomainGuru, where domain names, industry knowledge, and personal advice come together to help your business secure the best possible home on the Web.

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