Selecting the right type of domain extension is critical for your website’s success. After all, every type of website will have an extension domain that will be best suited for the intentions of their site.

After reviewing several articles on the different types of domain extensions, I have learned the importance of website hosts to understand the difference between .net vs. .com vs. .org. 

After reading this article you know the difference between domain extensions and choose which one is the best for your site. 

What is a Domain Extension?

A domain extension is a suffix that follows the domain name in a web address. The domain extension communicates the intention or the location of a site. This is why all web addresses require a domain extension.

Before building a website, a website host will need to purchase a domain name with a domain extension. The cost of domain extensions will vary depending on the type of domain extension you choose for your website. There are a few domain extensions that website hosts can get for free. However, these extensions are usually generic.

What Does TLD Stand For?

TLD stands for the top-level domain, which refers to the domain extensions that fall in the high levels of the Domain Name System. This includes domain extensions that are most popular used by website hosts. The domain extensions that are regarded as TLD includes: 

  • .com 
  • .net
  • .org
  • .co

Other types of domain extensions are a bit more generic. A few examples of this type of domain extension include: 

  • .app
  • .edu
  • .info
  • .biz
  • .gov

Common Domain Extensions

Initially, various types of domains were introduced to different websites depending on the type of organization the website was for. While this is still accurate for quite a few websites, the rules of domain extension types are no longer as strict. 

Let’s take a deeper look into the five most popular domain extensions used for websites, including the pros and cons of each domain extension:

.com

The .com is one of the most popular TLDs and is viewed as the default domain extension. The .com is short for “commercial,” as the TLD was first created to be used for eCommerce websites. However, this domain extension is no longer exclusively used for eCommerce websites and is now used for many websites. The .com domain extension is now used for blogs, organizations, events, business, and personal websites.

This domain extension should be the first choice for website hosts to purchase, no matter the types of websites that you may own. Once you have purchased the .com domain extension, you can choose to add alternative domain extensions, which can be redirected from the .com website. 

Pros:

  • Trustworthy – the .com domain extension is often viewed as professional and trustworthy by most users. 
  • Affordable – this domain extension is relatively affordable for most website hosts.

Cons

  • Limited availability – since the .com domain extension is one of the most popular domain extensions and usually most website hosts’ first choice, it can be quite difficult to get. 
  • Not suited for all websites – while .com is viewed as one of the most general domain extensions, it is not suited to all websites, such as government-owned websites. 

.net

The .net domain extension stands for “network” domain extension and is another popular TLD. This domain extension was first created for websites that focus on networking technologies. Most network technology websites offer services and discuss topics such as email services, database services, communication networks, ISPs, and more. 

The .net domain extension is a great choice if you want to communicate with your users that your website specializes in networking technologies. The .net TLD is typically viewed as the second choice domain extension for website hosts if the .com domain extension is taken.

Pros:

  • Unique – while the .net domain extension is quite popular, it is not used for various types of websites, unlike the .com domain extension.
  • This makes websites with the .net TLD a bit more unique compared to websites with the .com TLD.
  • Informative – the .net TLD informs users that the website focuses on network technology topics and services.

Cons:

  • Not suited for all websites – unlike the .com TLD, the .net TLD cannot be used for various types of websites. This domain extension is only for websites that focus on networking technologies. 
  • Not too popular – while the .net TLD is viewed as a relatively popular domain extension, it is not as well-known as the .com TLD, and it may be harder for users to remember the website address with this domain extension. 

.org

The .org domain extension is short for “organization,” and this domain extension was initially created for non-profit organizations. This includes websites for charities, foundations, public education services, open-source software, and other not-for-profit websites that aim to raise money or awareness. 

While the .org can now be used for other websites, most websites that use this domain extension are still non-profit organizations. However, the .org TLD usually communicates that the organization behind the website is a not-for-profit organization. 

Pros:

  • Credibility – users are more likely to trust a website with a .org TLD because they are familiar with it compared to generic domain extensions.
  • Informative – the .org domain extension informs the users that the organization behind the website is a not-for-profit organization.

Cons:

  • Not suited for all websites – websites that provide a product or service for a fee should not use the .org TLD as this domain extension is for non-profit websites.
  • Limited capabilities – websites with the .org domain extension will usually limit the number of features they can have on their website because they are usually for raising funds, providing a free service, or creating awareness. 

.biz

The .biz domain extension stands for “business only” and communicates that the website is a business or eCommerce website. This domain extension is seen as generic and is not one of the more popular domain extensions used. However, the .biz domain extension is typically much more affordable than domain extensions like .com and .net. 

Pros:

  • Affordable – the .biz domain extension is usually cheaper than the other more popular domain extensions like .com, .net, and .org. 
  • Availability – .biz is usually the website user’s first choice, so there is a higher chance of this domain extension being available for your web address. 

Cons:

  • Generic – the .biz domain extension is viewed as a generic domain that is usually only taken if .com is unavailable. 
  • Not too popular – while the .biz is a domain extension, this domain extension is not as popular compared to .com, .net, and other domain extensions.  

.co

The .co is a domain extension that was created in 2010 to solve the issue of there not being enough .com domain extensions available for web addresses. This domain extension is short for “corporation” or “company” and is usually used by online businesses. A country code is usually added to the .co domain extension of a web address which informs users of the location of the website.   

Pros:

  • Availability – there is a higher chance of getting a .co domain extension for your web address than a .com domain extension. 
  • Credibility – users are familiar with the .co domain extension for business websites, making it easier for users to trust websites with this domain extension.

Cons:

  • Relatively more expensive – the .codomain extension is a bit more expensive than the .com extension. 
  • It may be confusing – users may get confused and accidentally add the “m” at the end of the .co domain extension, which will prevent them from accessing your website address. 

Sponsored Domain Extensions

Sponsored domain extensions or sponsored top-level domains (sTLD) are a type of TLD and are specialized domain extensions. This type of TLD is used in the Domain Name System and country-code top-level domains. The sponsored domain extension is used to identify computers via the internet. The sTLD is managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. 

Each Sponsor of sTLD supports a specified community that they will represent. The communities are divided according to factors like geographical location, profession, ethnicity, and more. The factors determining a community can be created by organizations who will control the website hosts able to register to the TLD.

Country Code Domain Extensions

Quite a few websites choose domain extensions that are specific to the country or geographical location in which they are based. This type of domain extension is known as country-code top-level domains (ccTLD). 

A website with a ccTLD communicates the location of the website to the user. Usually, website hosts will choose to add the ccTLD to a domain extension like .co. A few examples of a ccTLD include:

  • .us – for the United States of America
  • .uk – for the United Kingdom
  • .ae – for the United Arab Emirates
  • .au – for Australia
  • .za – for South Africa

What’s the difference between .net vs. .com?

While .net and .com domain extensions are two of the most popular TLDs for various types of website addresses. However, several differences make .net and .com unique, including the intended uses of each domain extension. The .net is a domain extension that should be used for websites focusing on network technologies and services. In contrast, .com is a domain extension that should be used for eCommerce sites and commercial services. 

What’s the difference between .org vs. .com?

Both .org and .com are top-level domains. Several factors make these domain extensions different from each other. Firstly, the .org domain extension’s intended use is for non-profit organization websites. This is the opposite of the intended use of the .com domain extension for eCommerce websites. While the .org domain extension is a TLD, this domain extension is not as popular as the .com. 

What’s the difference between .co vs .com?

Compared to other domain extensions, .co and .com do not have as many differences. After all, the .co TLD was introduced to solve the problem of the shortage of .com domain extensions available. However, .co is intended to be used with country code domain extensions, unlike .com which can be used for any organization in any location. 

What’s the best domain extension for SEO?

If you are trying to build a site that ranks, preferably choose a .com domain extension for SEO. This is because it is viewed as the more authoritative TLD. 

CAUTION! This does not mean that just because you have a .com domain, your website would rank higher immediately. You will always need to put in more work and focus on various SEO factors ie. keyword research, content writing, and backlink building. – This moves your SEO and not your domain extension. 

Register Your Domain:

Now that you know everything you need about domain extensions, it is time for you to register and buy your domain on NameCheap. There are several reasons why you should choose NameCheap to set up your domain, including:

  • Affordable price
  • Provides domain name security
  • Full DNS support 
  • And 24/7 customer service – which you must need as a beginner!

To lean more about registering your domain and hosting be sure to watch our full tutorial on How To Build a Website as a complete beginner course. 

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