.com vs .net – Differences Between Domain Extensions
What is a domain? Every URL of a website consists of two parts. The domain name is the first step, as it is the only thing that distinguishes your site and its purpose from your competitors. The second indicator is the domain extension: a suffix attached to the site's domain name that indicates the niche and function of the site—like .com or.us. But is it relevant to your site? Of course!
What to choose: .com vs .net vs .org?
We often mistakenly assume that a domain name is just the text between the first and second dots of a given URL. However, the last few characters that appear at the end of the address are very important in establishing the credibility of your site and how you want to be perceived on the Internet. Sometimes the extension of the domain is what makes a source reliable.
This short acronym is a domain extension, also known as top-level domain (TLDs), like .net vs .com or .tv, .fr or .us. These short codes are used to classify sites according to their content, target audience or business structure. The most popular domain extensions are .com, .net and .org, but there are hundreds of other to choose from when buying a domain.
But what is the difference between a .com and .org domain?
What is a dot com domain?
The top-level domain ".com" is the most valuable extension, because of its wide use and importance. In the 1990s, it was designated as referring mainly to "commercial" sites, so private companies. However, it became so popular that many start-ups soon became known as "dotcoms". This domain extension became a symbol of the World Wide Web and of the entire Internet.
Today, 48% of all websites use the ".com" TLD domain… This is often the default for many people—when they start searching for information about pets, they will probably understand that pets.com can influence the reliability of a source on-line.
What is a .org domain
While ".com" referred to commercial organizations, ".org" was intended to refer to nonprofit organizations, such as NGOs, charities, open source initiatives or educational platforms. Since it was one of the first domain extensions created in 1985, users associate it with reliability and stability.
The original target audience for this domain extension was organizations that are neither commercial (com), network (net), academic (edu), government (gov) or military (mil). You could find domains of partially commercial organizations—and some people began to associate the .org abbreviation with “origin”, but for the most it remains associated with non-commercial activities.
However, the restriction limiting.org to NGOs was lifted in August 2018. This means that any person company can now register a .org address when buying a domain. Nonetheless, many people understand that .org is aimed at non-commercial companies.
Failure to explicitly declare that your company is for-profit could result in a harsh reaction from customers who think you want to deceive others by claiming to be a charity, for example.
How do you buy a domain name?
Normally, a .com domain name costs $14.99 / year. The cost of a domain varies based on each different extension or TLD (top-level-domain). Some are even more expensive than this—especially rare or short ones.
However, there are many promotional offers—some domains can be purchased for free for the first year. Many hosting sites offer a free domain name with a hosting package, for example. Shop around, and you’ll be able to find a great option for your company!
If you don't want to use a hosting site, you can buy a domain from a domain registrar like GoDaddy, Google Domains, Bluehost, or a company that's appropriate for your country. Registration should be fairly easy—and it's when you decide whether you want .com vs .org vs .net domain.
Advantages and disadvantages of .com domain
The main advantages of .com domain extensions are that it is easy and intuitive to remember—when you hear about a new website, you usually type <website>.com into your browser.
Having a .com type address will make visitors think of your site as professional and reliable. Interestingly, many smartphone keyboards already have a dot-com button, confirming how often it is used for search.
Because so many sites now use the dot-com extension, it can be difficult to find a domain name that suits your needs. That's why you should consider changing your domain name—maybe instead of pets.com you choose BestPets.com and so on.
You can also use a domain with your country code, like com.cz or .cz for Czechia. Knowing that your company serves people from your country can help you attract new consumers.
What to choose: .com vs .org
Due to the widespread recognition of .com domain extension, you may find it difficult to find a good domain with a short and memorable extension. That's why it's always a good idea to verify the availability of a domain early in the startup process, and preferably take it into account when coming up with a company name.
When you look at .org vs .com, you'll see that there is a clear difference between the two: .org should refer to non-profit organizations, and .com for for-profit companies.
If you want to make money, just choose .com—but of course, this is not always easy. Maybe you want to create a web comic: you don't want to make money from it, but you wouldn't mind people paying you. Are you then a non-profit organization?
Of course, you can use other top-level domain extensions (TLDs) – but most users prefer to use .com. However, the public perception of .org domains as belonging to nonprofit organizations, NGOs and educational centers is so deeply ingrained that it should not be your first choice.
Although both .com and .net domains are nowadays acceptable for commercial websites, it is important to understand the differences between them before buying a domain.