Jim Nielsen’s Blog
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Domain Sins of My Youth

I recently received a reminder to renew a domain I use for a rather frivolous side project.

At the checkout screen, I realized it would cost me $105 to renew this domain for 5 years.

Why 5 years?

Right now my disposition is: if I plan on keeping a domain for as long as possible I renew it for as long as possible upon each renewal because I can only foresee the cost of domains increasing over time. (Maybe I’m wrong here — if you think I am, I’d love to know why.) I kinda wish I could renew it for 20 years.

Why $105?

You’ll have to ask GoDaddy.

The point is, many of my side projects could’ve been a subdomain of my personal domain, e.g. instead of:


I could’ve done:


Sure, it’s not as cool as the top-level domain, but it’s way cheaper over time.

This is a lesson I wish I knew 15 years ago.

So my advice to my younger self is this: get a personal domain and start all your side projects as a subdomain of that top-level domain.

Your personal domain is the one you’ll own the longest, so you can easily upgrade a side project subdomain to a top-level domain if/when it becomes reasonable enough to justify it for X, Y, or Z reasons (simply setup up a long-standing redirect from the subdomain to the top-level domain).

However, you can’t easily “downgrade” from a top-level domain to a subdomain because eventually you’ll stop paying for the top-level domain and lose the redirects from any residual traffic.

Also, it won’t be a cool URI anymore because cool URIs don't change, which means domain names eventually bankrupt you.