What is the difference between .co.in and .in domain extensions

Are you wondering what is the difference between .co.in and .in domain name extensions? Read this article to find the difference between both of .co.in and .in domains and how it affects SEO and ranking of your websites. Learn which domain helps in better search engine ranking for Indian blogs.

It has been confusing for many webmasters and bloggers in India about what is the best domain extension to choose for sites targeting India. Many people do not know the difference between .in and .co.in domain extensions. Let me try to clarify the differences and which one is better for Indian blogs for better search engine ranking.

Difference between .in and .co.in domain extensions

The .IN is the Top Level Domain extension (TLD) for the country India. On the other hand, the .CO.IN extension is a Second Level Domain (SLD), under .IN, the primary TLD

In simple terms, you can consider .CO.IN as a sub category of domains under .IN domains, even though they can be registered and used independently.

Under the .IN primary TLD, there are several second level domains, including:

  • .co.in (for companies/business)

  • .firm.in (for partnership firms)

  • .net.in (for internet related services)

  • .org.in (for non-profit organizations)

  • .gen.in (for any general use)

  • .ind.in (for individuals, personal blogs etc)

  • The above second level domains are available for anyone world wide.

    The following second level domains under .IN are reserved for qualified entities in India. Individuals may not be able to register such domains, unless they qualify according to the criteria defined for each domain. For example, a .edu.in domain can be registered only for recognized educational institutions in India.

  • .ac.in (for academic institutions in India)

  • .edu.in (for educational institutions in India)

  • .res.in (for research organizations in India)

  • .ernet.in (for both educational and research institutes)

  • .gov.in (only for Indian government entities)

  • .mil.in (for Indian military)

  • .nic.in (reserved for India's National Informatics Centre, but used by government organizations as well)

  • Where to register .in and .co.in domains

    Most of the popular international domain registrars like GoDaddy.com allow registration of the top level domain (.in) and second level domains (.co.in). To see the full list of registrars for these domains, visit this official list of registrars for .in domains. I have personally used GoDaddy (http://www.godaddy.com) and Net4India (http://www.net4india.co.in/) for .in domains.

    Read more about the India specific domain registration policies at http://www.registry.in/Policies

    Which is better for SEO - .IN or .CO.IN

    In the past, the domain extensions and the keywords in the domains played a significant role in search engine optimization. But the weightage for domain names and extensions are no longer important as it used to be in the past. However, in a tough competition scenario, you should not leave any opportunities to grab even a small SEO advantage.

    In general, most people prefer .com domains for general websites. But if your website is targeting only visitors interested in Indian region, then I suggest you go for .IN instead of .COM and .CO.IN

    If I launch an India specific website, I would prefer .in domain but would reserve the .com domain as well since many people may accidentally go to the .com domain while thinking about the .in site. Many web browsers usually navigate to the .com domain by default if user types only the domain name without the extension. To avoid losing such visitors, I would reserve the .com domain and redirect the user to the correct extension (.in). Also, in future, if I like to expand my website to cover the international audience, the .com domain may be helpful, even though .in domain will also work worldwide.

    I usually avoid the second level domain .co.in since I see no real value in using it. The only reason I would go for a second level domain is, if I have an educational institution, I may go for the .edu.in or .ac.in extensions. For all general purpose sites targeting Indian audience, I will recommend the .in domain extension.

    Comparing .com and .in domains - search engines may give some advantage to the country specific domains when it searching for local information or country specific information.

    When it comes to .co.in and .in domains, the .in domain names may have a slight advantage, but definitely not marginal, as per the available statistics and information shared by various domain owners. I have used both .co.in and .in domains for various sites and faced no SEO issues for both.


    It may not make much difference from SEO perspective, but from the usability perspective, the .in domain extension is the best for sites targeting Indian audience. If you are unable to get your favorite .IN domains, you may go for .com or .co.in domains. I personally prefer .com instead of .co.in since it is hard to type .co.in.

    Article by Tony John
    Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tripod.com. Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including IndiaStudyChannel.com, Techulator.com, dotnetspider.com and many more.

    Follow Tony John or read 683 articles authored by Tony John

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    Author: Saroja02 May 2013 Member Level: Silver   Points : 4

    Thank you for the information on which most of the general public has doubt why these many extensions. Unlike previous when people used to register through manual agents/providers now it is easy through on line. But still I have a doubt how other service provider sites are linking the official websites of any major universities and some time those sites are easy to get information rather than the official websites. To be more precise, many of the university results are easily available through the other sites than the official sites and how is it possible? Just wondered many times about this technical aspect.

    Guest Author: Alpesh28 Mar 2014

    Very good information. Thanks for clarifying the difference between .co.in and .in domain extensions.

    Guest Author: Vimlesh18 Jun 2014

    Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on .co.in and .in domains

    Guest Author: gaurav28 Feb 2015

    Thank you Tony.

    Guest Author: Preeti Pandey06 Apr 2015

    I am little bit confused. If .in is top domain extension, why Google uses co.in? If any one have better answer, then please clear my doubt.

    Guest Author: Vipul P18 Jun 2015

    Thank You very much for the detailed information on domain extensions.

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