The term “domain hack” may make you think of someone wearing a hooded sweatshirt in a dark room with eight computer monitors breaking into your domain management account to make your website point to something embarrassing. In reality, the term refers to something far less adventurous — but still exciting nonetheless.
Domain Hack Definition
A domain hack is the process of using two or more levels of a domain name to collectively spell a word or phrase.
Domain names consist of three components: a subdomain, second-level domain, and top-level domain. Domain hacks creatively combine these elements to form words (e.g. sandwi.ch) or phrases (e.g. best.marketing.agency).
How to Register a Domain Hack
1. Choose a Top-Level Domain
Most domain hacks make creative use of their top-level domain, so deciding on a TLD is a good place to start. There are hundreds to choose from, so start by browsing through our list of available TLDs.
There are two types of TLDs: generic (gTLD) and country-code (ccTLD).
gTLDs are words that can range from generic like .xyz, or go all the way to hyper-specific like .horse.
ccTLDs are two letters and technically pertain to a certain geographic region. Some of them restrict registrations for citizens or businesses within their corresponding area (e.g. .ca for Canadians), but many are available for registration by anyone worldwide (e.g. .co, .fm and .io). To see if a ccTLD is open for registration regardless of region, click it from within our domains list (linked at the top of this section) and check the “Special Requirements” section.
Browsing available TLDs will let you know which ones are available to choose from and help get your creative wheels turning. With over 400 available it can be easy to forget them, so it’s a good idea to write down your favorites to look over later.
2. Search for a Domain Name
Now that you know which TLD you’d like to register, try searching for any combination of second-level domain and TLD that you’d like to register.
At this stage, you don’t have to worry about the subdomain (where www. normally is) — you can set as many of these up as you’d like at a later point, and they aren’t involved with the registration process.
If you’re feeling stuck, Hover also has a built-in domain hack checker, so you can always try searching for your desired word or phrase and let us handle the rest.
3. Purchase a Domain Name
Once you’ve found the perfect domain hack, it’s time to register it. This process is straightforward, and your domain provider (*cough* Hover) will help guide you through it.
While purchasing the domain, you’ll be presented with some options depending on which domain provider you’ve chosen. The main thing we recommend opting in for is WHOIS privacy, which will prevent your contact information from being displayed publicly in the online WHOIS database. Hover offers this for free with all eligible domain names, dependent on whether the TLD being registered supports WHOIS privacy (which most do).
Note that when you purchase a domain name, you will only own it on a year-by-year basis. You’ll have the option to renew your registration every year, but it’s best practice to either register the domain for multiple years upfront or enable auto-renew in your account so you don’t forget.
Ways to Use a Domain Hack
However you use your domain name hack is up to how creative you’d like to get. Typically, they will be utilized much in the same way that you would use a regular domain name, including:
- Main website domain name
- Single-serving site
- Landing page
- URL shortener
- Domain forward
- Email address
Now it’s time to get creative and find your own domain hack. Happy searching!