What do you think the effect on search engine ranking will be if one uses an underscore in a domain name?

  • 2
    This question already exists here, more specific to digits and hyphens. You cannot use underscores in domain names.
    – dan
    Apr 10, 2016 at 21:46
  • Your original question has been edited as you included a couple of questions that has already been discussed on Pro Webmasters. @dan has listed those similar questions above. Apr 10, 2016 at 22:08

2 Answers 2


Underscores in Domain Names

While it may be perfectly valid by RFC 2181 (section 11) to have underscores in a domain name, you will not find any domain type i.e TLD, ccTLD or gLTD that supports registering domains with underscores in, you are therefore restricted to hyphens as an separator.

The DNS itself places only one restriction on the particular labels that can be used to identify resource records. That one restriction relates to the length of the label and the full name. [...] Implementations of the DNS protocols must not place any restrictions on the labels that can be used. In particular, DNS servers must not refuse to serve a zone because it contains labels that might not be acceptable to some DNS client programs.

You can however use underscores in the hostname, sub domain or URL but this is very subjective as its agreed that in most cases, the hyphen serves the purpose better, especially in the hostname environment.

  • 2
    Although it would seem to be RFC1123 (which modifies RFC952) that defines the "syntax of a legal Internet host name", which states just letters, digits and hyphens (with some additional restrictions on their placement).
    – MrWhite
    Apr 10, 2016 at 23:10

Host names cannot contain an underscore (RFC 1123). This seems a bit counter-intuitive since domain names can contain underscores...but remember, the domain name is a label pointing to a series of records. Several of those records contain host names (A and MX for example). The records that contain host names can't use underscores.

IF your domain registrar let you create a domain name with an underscore, you wouldn't be able to add any valid host names to it, but you could add other types of records (TXT, SRV, CNAME, etc.). Since most people want to have host names in their DNS records, domain registrars won't accept domain names that contain an underscore.

  • A host name and domain name are two separate things and do not occupy the same space. Host names are not valid on the Internet unless used as part of a domain name. I realize that linux installs want to use the host name as a sub-domain, however, that is completely optional and often wrong to do. The question is in regard to domain names having an underscore (_) and the effect on search performance. What does a host name have to do with the domain name having an underscore and search performance?
    – closetnoc
    Jul 6, 2016 at 23:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.