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.ca vs .com


The intent of this article is to help you in choosing the extension of your domain name. The most common extensions most of us are familiar with include .com, .net, or .org. However, you also have a choice of selecting a domain name extension specific to your country or region. I am going to discuss why, if you live in Canada, you might want to stay away from .ca domain name extension.

There are advantages to having a .ca name over .com. These are the main points, taken from CIRA site:

Benefits of a .CA

Trusted around the corner and around the globe
There’s no better way to connect with people, build your brand, reach markets and service customers—in Canada and around the world—than with a .CA domain.

Canada’s Internet identity
A domain name is the lynchpin of corporate identity in today’s marketplace, and a .CA domain name instantly identifies you as Canadian to Internet users in Canada and around the world.
.CA domain names are reserved exclusively for Canadians and Canadian organizations.
Internet users know there’s a Canadian behind every .CA—and Canadians are trusted around the world.

Canadians trust Canadians online—over 75% say they prefer to shop on a .CA web site.
Transactions are subject to Canadian law.
There are no customs to clear or exchange rates to pay.

Only about 1 million .CA domain names are already taken—compared to almost 70 million dot-com names. That means you can:
Get the short, easy-to-remember name you really want.
Register a domain name that accurately reflects your business.

CIRA’s centralized .ca registry protects your domain name.
.CA domain names and Registrant information are maintained in a national registry. (Dot-com information is maintained only by Registrars in their own business offices.)
A .CA domain name is safe—you cannot lose it or even face any downtime—even if your Registrar goes out of business.

The .CA registry is managed by CIRA as a public service, on behalf of all Canadians.
.CA was created over 20 years ago (the seventh in the world!).
It’s an established presence you can trust will still be around in the future.

Interesting Facts
Canadians order billions of dollars’ worth of goods online every year (over $12 billion in 2007), and more than half of their purchases are from Canadian businesses. (Reference:Statistics Canada, 2005 Canadian Internet Use Survey)
Over 60% of Canadians say they prefer to shop on a .CA web site. For every $100 spent by Canadian adults online in 2005, $63 was spent with Canadian vendors. (References:Statistics Canada, 2005 Canadian Internet Use Survey, Statistics Canada, 2005 E-commerce: Shopping on the Internet Survey, Statistics Canada, 2007 E-commerce: Shopping on the Internet Survey, Strategic Counsel 2008 Canadian Internet Users’ Attitudes Toward and Perceptions of The .CA Domain Survey)


The above points are valid, and I believe that if you are a business or an organization that needs to establish itself as a Canadian company, then you definitely should go with a .ca domain name. However, if you do not require this Canadian presence, if you are setting up a personal blog, or even a good niche blog that you hope to make some money, I would not recommend .ca extension.

One reason is in numbers. As mentioned, Canada has one tenth the population of the US and so if you are looking for sheer exposure, I don’t believe .ca is of benefit. This argument against .ca name is arguable, I admit, however, the main reason I will never again go with a .ca name is HASSLE. Yes, it is a hassle to register a .ca name as opposed to .com. It honestly feels to me like a bunch of red bureaucratic tape that I will forever try to avoid lol.

Let me explain …

Registering a .ca name requires you to register with the CIRA – Canadian Internet Registration Authority – a not-for-profit corporation that manages the dot-ca domain space on behalf of all Canadians. Their site also goes over the advantages of having a .ca name (http://www.cira.ca/benefits/).

One major disadvantage, besides the fact that .ca names generally cost more than a .com name, is that .ca names have to be periodically renewed, each year, and unless you renew your .ca domain name the CIRA will shut your site down. Most hosting companies that you register your site with do this automatically, however, if they don’t, or are unable to, or for whatever reason something goes awry, you’ll be getting very upset. I had a recent experiences with my own .ca name that after years of working trouble free got shut down for …. well I still don’t know why. The biggest thing that really ticks me off about this CIRA regulatory body is that they actually work via an American company www.enom.com that registers all the .ca domain names … WTF??? … is what I said. I thought that “.CA domain names and Registrant information are maintained in a national registry”. I guess it’s only the “Registrant Information” that is stored there, because I know for a fact that the actaul name is registered with enom.com … yes a fact from CIRA themselves.

So here’s a scenario. Say you get a .ca name through a hosting company or domain name registrar, like HostPapa. You will have to register with the CIRA, fill out their forms and blah blah blah, but your actual .ca domain name is stored or “maintained” by a company in the states called ENOM. Now when you need to renew your domain name, you actually have to do so with that US company, not with CIRA.CIRA just makes sure that you have renewed it …what a bunch of useless morons … I’m still not sure if this is an actual branch of the Canadian government, but it sure seems like it, because they are basically good for nothing.

As I mentioned, your host you signed up with does normally renew your .ca name for you, but because there is this unnecessary middle man, the CIRA, if anything goes wrong and someone messes up in this chain gang, your site will go down, even if you are actively emailing every moron you can get in touch with 2 weeks in advance of that shut down date that the CIRA is so nice to send you a notice of … LOL.

… yes the above has actually happening to me twice.

As a final straw, a friend of mine tried to move his .ca name from one provider to another, and I think it took him about 2 months of emailing everyone between his old host provider, the new host provider, CIRA and Enom. He asked me for help and I seriously could not do anything to help but laugh … and that was the last time I thought about getting a .ca domain name.

In conclusion, yes, I do like .ca names for that Canadian touch, but because of the bad experience I’ve had with my .ca names, I would not recommend the .ca extension unless you need that Canadian presence on the web.


It has been a while since I wrote the above article and the CIRA has gotten a little better at handling .CA domains. I am not sure if the rules that have caused me so much hassle in the past still apply, but from my own and other’s experience I will stay away from .CA domain unless I feel it is a necessity for my business.

Good Luck : )

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

miso September 15, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I have an update to the above topic. I received this email from CIRA, and it seems like they are aware of the BS that I described, and perhaps the argument I made against getting a .ca extension might become but a distant memory : ) I sure hope so, but only time will tell. In the meantime, below is what I received from CIRA:

All Registrants,
On October 12, 2010, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) will launch a redesigned domain name registration system, the system that enables Registrars to communicate with the .CA registry database. All aspects of the system to register and maintain.CA domain names have been updated and simplified, including its technological processes to its policies and business practices.
Please note that these changes will not affect you in any noticeable way. Your domain name will not be affected, nor will it affect the operation of your website or email addresses. The biggest change that you will notice is that with the new system and policies, CIRA is effectively removed from many day-to-day transactions. Most transactions will be handled solely by your CIRA certified Registrars, and you will no longer need to confirm them with CIRA.
The new system and policies will result in changes to your Registrant Agreement for your .CA domain(s), effective October 12, 2010.
Your new Registrant Agreement can be viewed here cira.ca/assets/Documents/Legal/Registrants/registrantagreementv2.0.pdf.
More information about the new .CA domain name registration system is available
at cira.ca/ca-faq-10-12.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact CIRA’s Registry Services at 1-877-860-1411.
Thank you


Nahoru April 14, 2013 at 10:29 pm

Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my
facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Many thanks


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