Net vs com is a common debate when it comes to domain name extensions.
Generally, domain names that end in .com are the preferred choice for commercial websites, but they tend to cost more and be less available than .net domain names.
Choosing the right domain name extension can have a big impact on how your company is branded and even where your website shows up in search engine rankings.
In this article, break down what domain name extensions are, tackle the net vs com discussion, tell you what the differences are between the two domain name extensions, and how they apply to different types of websites.
- Net vs Com Domain Name Extensions
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Net vs Com Domain Name Extensions
The .com and .net domain name extensions are two of the most popular, but before we dive into their differences, it’s important to know exactly what a domain name extension is.
What is a Domain Extension?
A domain name extension or domain extension is the last part of a web address.
For example, inmotionhosting.com uses the .com domain extension.
Originally, they were used to serve as an indication of a website’s origin or purpose.
While a domain extension may still offer some background on a website, .com has become the most widely used extension even for websites that do not engage in commercial activity.
Top-Level Domain Name Extensions
A domain name extension is also known as a top-level domain (TLD).
By definition, a TLD is the last segment of a domain name after the final dot that was introduced to differentiate types of websites.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is an organization that allocates and maintains unique codes and numbering systems that are used in the technical standards or “protocols” that drive the Internet.
The IANA officially recognizes three types of TLDs:
- gTLD – Generic Top-Level Domains: This type of TLD Contains all the most recognizable TLDs with options like .com, .net., and .org.
- sTLD – Sponsored Top-Level Domains: These are TLDs that are sponsored by a specific entity. Think .gov, .edu., .mil (United States Military).
- ccTLD – Country Code Top-Level Domains: TLDs that represent a specific country. Some of the most common ones include TLDs such as .us, .uk., .eu.
By far the most popular domain extension, .com is used for more than 50 percent of the websites on the internet. For most websites, it should be the extension you shoot for when considering net vs com.
What Does .Com Mean?
The .com TLD was created to indicate that a website is a “commercial” site.
However, it is treated as the default TLD for web addresses whether they are commercial or non-commercial websites, and has become by far the most widely used TLD for both types of sites.
It has been synonymous with the internet since the late 1990s when investors pumped money into internet-based startups in hopes of turning a profit in what is known as the dot-com bubble.
Reasons to Use .Com
Besides being the most popular TLD, there are numerous reasons to use the .com domain extension.
A big one is that because of its popularity, most customers will just assume your website is your business name followed by .com. When they use their smartphones, there’s even a .com button on most mobile keyboards to save them from having to type it in. That is not the case for .net or any other extension.
Another reason .com is a good choice for your domain extension is that it is thought to improve SEO search engine rankings.
While Google has said that .com doesn’t really affect rankings, as far as backlinks are concerned, domains with .com extensions carry more authority than those with new or unfamiliar extensions.
When it comes to the downsides of a .com domain extension, the biggest concern is that it may have already been taken.
If it hasn’t, it might also cost you a lot more to get than .net and other domain extensions.
Flipping domains can be a lucrative business, so if your business has a fairly common name, there’s even a chance someone else may have bought it with the intent of selling it for a premium.
Originally created for websites dealing with internet, networking, and email service providers, the .net TLD is another popular extension.
However, it pales in comparison to .com, accounting for less than five percent of global websites.
What Does .Net Mean?
The .net TLD stands for “network” and was created to indicate websites that worked with network infrastructure.
Until the late 1990s, .net addresses were restricted to computer and network providers such as internet service providers and web hosts.
It is now open to anyone and considered the top alternative to .com.
Reasons to Use .Net
Using the .net domain name extension can be a good choice, but it depends on what kind of website you have.
If you run a tech or web-based company, .net can be useful because it can help validate and communicate your services to your customers and the worldwide web.
Also, because .net addresses are in less demand than .com TLDs, they usually cost quite a bit less to obtain.
However, .net may not be a good choice for nontech and web-based companies. You are usually better off finding a different option under the .com TLD for marketing purposes.
When it comes to choosing a domain name and a domain name extension, it is important to choose the right one.
Your choice can affect your overall branding, as well as impact where you land in the search rankings.
Net vs com is a popular debate, but the answer comes down to which one works for your website and its purposes.
While those two are the most popular, they do not apply to all websites. For instance, nonprofit organizations would be best suited using the .org domain extension.
Your best bet is to make a choice that accurately helps convey your website and its intention to those you want to use it.
Still not sure which way to lean in the net vs com discussion? No problem. For help picking the perfect domain name and extension for your website, check out our Tips for Choosing a Domain Name.
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