I am looking at getting a .pro domain for my portfolio page as a web designer. I realize that .pro domains are for licensed professionals such as lawyers, engineers, etc.

What kind of certifications would I need to qualify for a .pro domain as a web designer.

And also which certs would you recommend such as w3c or cwp?

  • wait, why do you want a pro domain?
    – user6901
    Feb 25, 2012 at 22:29
  • @Christofian For a personal portfolio and service site
    – MLM
    Feb 26, 2012 at 1:52
  • has this question been answered? if so, can you please accept the answer that best answered your question (click the green check mark to the left of the best answer) so people know that you solved the problem? thanks.
    – user6901
    Feb 26, 2012 at 18:26
  • @Christofian I understand how this works but it is not exactly solved since no one has a clear cut answer.
    – MLM
    Feb 26, 2012 at 21:52

2 Answers 2


From the .pro official website:

.PRO is an exclusive top-level domain reserved for use exclusively by licensed business and service professionals and entities internationally. All applicants meeting the following qualifications may register a .PRO domain name:

  • Provides professional services
  • Admitted to or licensed by a government certification body or jurisdictional licensing entity recognized by a governmental body that regularly verifies the accuracy of its data
  • In good standing with the licensing authority

In addition, registrants will be asked to provide the following information related to their professional eligibility:

  • Identification
  • Contact information
  • Profession-specific information such as license number

The key is that you need to have a license from the government or a government approved organization. I don't know of any government approved licenses for web designers or professionals, so I don't think you'll be able to get a .pro domain.

  • Thanks for the reply. This is basically what I have read as well unfortunately. Maybe I will come across a web license but I doubt it. I will probably email one of the contacts on the .pro website about this.
    – MLM
    Feb 25, 2012 at 22:20
  • @MLM Did you found any evidence that a .pro domain will help your business as a web designer?
    – Osvaldo
    Feb 25, 2012 at 22:37
  • @Osvaldo I have no evidence that it would help me. I just want to get a personal portfolio up and after my brainstorm of domains, I came up with one with a .pro
    – MLM
    Feb 26, 2012 at 1:50
  • @MLM Buy a .com that is easy to remember, to say on the phone and that relates to you. Like for example yourname.com. Dot pro domains are expensive and I don't think your customers will value the effort/cost.
    – Osvaldo
    Feb 26, 2012 at 11:14
  • @Osvaldo I know where you are coming from but there are not many good .coms I am interested in. .pro domain isn't that expensive eitehr: encirca.com (only $2.99) - I will still brainstorm more domain names but I just asked this question to see if it was a possibility.
    – MLM
    Feb 26, 2012 at 18:03

Web design is not a regulated industry such as law, medicine, accounting or engineering. That's why there's no requirement for you to get a web design license in order to practice web design.

Secondly, the W3C offers no certificates for web design or otherwise. W3School offers one, but they're an unrelated commercial organization that has no regulatory authority and are not professionally or academically recognized by anyone.

CWP and WOW are both equally worthless certificates. Judging by their websites, at best their certificate guarantees that the holder is familiar with web development technologies/methods that are at least a decade or more out of date. At worst, it strongly suggests that the certificate holder probably has no clue what they're doing, which is why they'd be taking web development courses from organizations so far removed from the professional sphere.

If you want to learn about web development, you should take courses at a university and participate in events and organizations put on by the web development community. BarCamp, An Event Apart, FOWA, FOM, RubyConf, jQuery Conference, JSConf, ZendCon, Full Frontal, etc. are all great places to advance your education.

But web technologies are always evolving, and that's why there's not much point in a certificate for web professionals. Anyone who thinks like that will quickly find their skillset out of date and obsolete. Instead, professional web developers are constantly learning and developing their craft, picking up new technologies, experimenting with new methods, and keeping up with ever-evolving best practices. And this style of learning is much more suited to bootcamps, conferences, and self-study rather than a static certification process.

Lastly, you mention web design, but you named certificates that have to do with web development, and that's a fairly common mistake to make. However, web design and web development are two different things. Many front-end developers are also designers, but they're two separate disciplines that each require a lot of effort/attention to master and stay up to date on. So unless you're willing to make the commitment to basically work 2 full-time jobs, you should really consider specializing in one or the other. Because most of the time people who don't distinguish web design from web development tend to do a very poor job of both.

  • Not really what I was asking. I am already very good with web development/design, etc. The only reason I ask about certs is because I am wondering if they would count as being licensed to be able to get a .pro domain.
    – MLM
    Feb 25, 2012 at 22:16

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