Advice on .ly domains.

sloan profile image Sloan ・1 min read

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Does anyone have experience with .ly domain names? I'd love one for my personal site but have ran into some issues. So I am an American and .ly domains are owned by the country of Libya. That was the first red flag for me. The second is that there is no anonymous registration. The faq says:

"We don’t have this service included at the time being, but we are working to add it soon.
However, you do not have to supply a private address or phone number for the contact persons registered on the domain. It is sufficient to supply contact information for the organisation, as long as the contact person can be reached by email."

The domain name I have in mind would be perfect for my personal site but i'm wary of the no anonymous registration. Does anyone have any advice on what I can do to acquire a .ly domain name as safely as possible? Or should I completely avoid it? Thanks for your help.

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sloan profile



I help moderate content and welcome new users to this platform. I also ask questions on behalf of members looking for advice from the community.


Editor guide

To briefly set the scene, there are Global Top Level Domains (gTLD) such as .com, .net, .org, .info, etc. And Country-Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD) such as .us, .de, .uk, .pr, .to, .ly, etc.

When you register a domain name, you typically do so through a "Registrar," which is a licensed entity that is able to interact with ICANN ("The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers"). For most domain extensions, you can do so through a well-known registrar such as Uniregistry, Moniker, Namecheap, etc.

However, some ccTLDs set their own rules and have their own registrar relationships. That seems to be the root of your question β€” is it worth registering a .ly domain given the potential uncertainty about their rules, safety, anonymity features, price, etc.

I really think that's a personal decision. You certainly can register it if you'd like β€” it appears that they welcome registrations by foreigners (so long as you follow some rules re: adult content). Some ccTLDs are strictly for local registration. And there are bigger companies that are using .ly domains: bit.ly being the most prominent off the top of my head.

But there might be some downsides and headaches:

  • At $75/year, it's pretty expensive
  • It doesn't appear any of the ultra-reputable registrars above support .ly
  • The lack of fully-private registration [1]

If you're willing to put up with the headaches and slight uncertainty above, go for it. But for a personal project, it might be a bit more of a hassle (and a bit more expensive) than would be optimal.

Hope that helps!

[1] - FWIW, to my knowledge, the rules surrounding "accurate contact information" are very rarely enforced. The most important aspect of the registration to get right would be ensuring that you control the admin email on file.


Well, I just learned a whole lot.


I would just avoid anything other than your local ccTLD or .com for a personal site.

What I tell clients about any kind of cute domain name is that you're going to have to buy the .com anyway, because if someone hears the domain, they're not going to remember the ".ly" as a TLD. Among other reasons, this is why bit.ly redirects to bitly.com. (I give the same advice to groups that need a .org TLD -- get both the .com and redirect to the .org. I give the same advice to anyone with dashes in their URL or multi-word urls -- redirect from two-words.com to twowords.com or vice versa.)

Until I started really visiting here, I'd go to dev.com or devto.com, and still have had a hard time telling my team to check something out verbally.

Anonymous registration isn't, like, totally necessary, but my thinking on the gTLDs is that it's just not worth it and for "branding" you're in a stronger place to have a strong brand name and add the (local equivalent to the) .com.


@peter you wanna weigh in here?


Why would you want to have a Libyan domain?


From the question, it sounds like the ly ending will fit nice.ly with their site. Quite like.ly even.


Yes - seen this quite a few times one that worked really well was countly which bought count.ly nice and easy to remember.

I think if it forms part of the brand / name then these domains whilst vanity are really memorable. Its not quite the same impression that I get when someone just registers mywebsite.ly which looks like you are just uber cheap!


The .com is taken?

We have a Tonga domain.


I thought it was a reference to the DEV.TOgether stickers? 😜


I find the unwritten rule that web developers absolutely must not have a normal TLD quite boring, to be honest.

I don't think it's just some unwritten rule, so much as a variety of factors. Some of the reasons I could see for someone wanting a unique domain include:

  • Creative freedom
  • Improves marketing
  • .com availability

It's not "creative freedom" when everyone does it. Also, people usually forget that ".com" is for "commercial" - ".net" is much more logical in many cases.

I don't think that creative freedom inherently means doing something unique, so much as having the ability to create something in the way that you choose to express yourself.

You're welcome to have your own view on exactly what creative freedom means to you, and I understand that from a certain logical perspective, sites should fit into a specific top-level domain. Using the same logic, I would propose that it's most logical to use a domain that fits your brand well since I suspect that many Internet users don't consider that site.com means commercial use and site.net is for networking.

I suspect that many Internet users don't consider that site.com means commercial use and site.net is for networking.

The logic of "they don't know better, so we'll cater their misinformed needs" violates my standards.

"they don't know better, so we'll cater their misinformed needs"

While I think it's great that you have standards about this, this is very much not the point I was trying to make here. Namely, in the text you quoted you'll notice I used the wording "consider" not "understand".

For example, when I go to dev.to, I'm not thinking about what the TLD means and if it's the correct classification for the site, I'm thinking about the content and community that I want to experience once I'm on the site.

I don't intend to continue this conversation since it seems clear to me that you're barely taking the time to read my responses before responding, but thanks for taking the time to encourage me to sit back and really think about what creative freedom means to me. I found it to be quite an enjoyable thought exercise :)