You might be a frequent internet surfer or business owner looking to build a website. Either way, you’ve probably seen a variety of different domain extensions and wondered what they mean.
Chances are, the extension you’ve seen the most is .com. Over 51.2% of websites use this domain for commercial purposes. You may have also spotted a few .net domain extensions. They’re not as popular as .com, covering only about 3.3% of websites.
Between .com vs .net, you may then think, “What’s the difference?” Well, the latter is mainly used for network services and tech sites. Meanwhile, .com is more business-friendly and made for companies trying to sell products and services.
Stick around to learn more about the difference between .com and .net as well as which one you should use for your website.
About Domain Extensions
Both .com and .net are considered Top-Level Domains (TLDs). Broadly speaking, domain extensions give users a hint of what to expect upon landing on a website. For instance, if someone visits “exampleschool.edu,” they’re expecting to see an educational institution.
On the other hand, if you were to spot a site with the domain, “example.net,” it’ll likely land you on a tech, infrastructure, or internet provider site. That being said, TLDs help narrow down your search.
Plus, they’re highly useful to researchers trying to find credible sources. A scholarly site with a .edu domain extension will likely be more promising than any other .com site.
Having said that, domain extensions have extended beyond common options such as .com or .net. These days, you can find creative extensions like .camera for photographers or .design for any design influencers out there.
When is .com Used?
In most cases, .com is intended for commercial use. In other words, it’s used by any business selling its services or products. That includes e-commerce sites such as Amazon as well as social media platforms like Facebook.
Nowadays, .com can be used for several other purposes, such as a food blog or portfolio site. Overall, .com is your safest bet when creating a website domain. Users will feel safer choosing a .com site than any other lesser-known extension.
When is .net Used?
.net, while a recognizable TLD, is still a lesser-common extension compared to .com. The domain extension is widely used by businesses promoting networks, the internet, database, infrastructure, and overall tech services.
With that in mind, it’s a more specialized extension compared to .com. Now, if you’re a tech company, you can still use .com. Nevertheless, a .net extension would be more fitting.
Pros and Cons of .com
.com is, undoubtedly, the safest choice, but it still comes at a cost. If you plan on building a site with a .com extension, you may want to weigh some pros and cons first. Let’s start with the good news.
It’s More Credible
If you were to choose between a .com and a .net website, you’ll likely click on the prior. It’s more common, trustworthy, and credible. Subsequently, your business will likely benefit more from a .com domain extension.
Generates More Traffic
Since users are more likely to go for the .com options, these sites will develop higher traffic and overall website ranking.
Nonetheless, Google has confirmed that website extensions don’t play much of a role in their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance. In this case, it’s mostly about what the users find more authoritative in their search, which is, more often than not, .com sites.
Offers Better Marketability
When users try to find a company they’re interested in purchasing from, they’ll likely type “brand.com” rather than “brand.net.” Accordingly, the .com domain extension provides businesses with a higher chance of website visits.
Overall, .com has several positive outlooks for business owners since the extension ranks better, is more marketable, and generates better traffic. Now, let’s check out the downsides of the commercial extension.
More Difficult to Create
The vast majority of business and website owners target .com domain extensions. Consequently, it can be difficult to create a unique one of your own. For instance, if you own a candy shop, you can’t simply choose an already-taken domain like candyshop.com.
This process may be easier if you already have a personal business name in mind. If you don’t, you can always revert to using a domain name generator.
There’s such a thing as website domains being too generic. With a myriad of websites boasting a .com appearance, it can be hard to pinpoint the business’ specifications.
For example, if your product or service is exclusively available in the US, using a single .com extension may give international users the wrong idea. Instead, ending the domain with a .us is more suitable.
Pros and Cons of .net
As a tech-oriented company, you may want to go for a .net domain extension for various reasons. Nevertheless, it’s also worth considering the cons that you may expect down the road. To begin, here are some of the advantages your business can reap.
With .com taking center stage, .net has garnered fewer buyers. You can use that to your advantage. If your intended website name is already taken, you can opt for .net instead. Although .net is usually used by network providers, any business is free to use it.
Whether you’re in the internet-providing or software business, a .net domain extension will reassure users that your site is tech-related. In turn, you’ll be able to have better reach for your target audience.
Keep in mind that .com and .net are both TLDs, meaning that they’re both highly trusted and professionally-used domain extensions. That being said, users won’t be hesitant when clicking a .net site.
After examining some of the advantages of opting for a .net extension, let’s review some cons below.
Tougher to Market
Despite .net being a reliable and credible extension, it may still rank lower compared to other .com sites. You’ll have to put in more effort to gain more traffic and website visits. Overall, your .net site may become overshadowed by .com competitor sites in the SERP.
Not as Versatile
Since .net is usually associated with tech products and services, it may be tough to use it for other purposes. To demonstrate, a clothes-shopping user will likely choose a .com site over a .net one.
.com vs .net: Deciding Factors
After discussing .com and .net’s pros and cons, you’ll be able to make a decision on which option to use. Both extensions excel in certain factors more than others. Here are some of the factors that will guide you in your choice.
Supposing that you’re a website offering an internet connection service, you’ll want to prioritize using a .net domain extension.
Given that your target consumers are probably aware that .net is tech-related, you’ll have better traffic. Other businesses or e-commerce sites are better off using a .com domain extension.
How much effort are you willing to expend on marketing your website? Although .com and .net sites have equal chances of becoming highly ranked, it all depends on the users.
.com domain extensions may rank higher and gain better traffic due to their heightened user reach. Consequently, brands are more likely to go for .com.
In contrast, it may require a bit more effort for .net website owners to gain more traffic due to competing .com sites.
.com vs .net: Which is the Right Option for Your Website?
The right domain extension mainly revolves around your website’s content and marketability. To choose the right extension, you’ll want to assess which of these means more to your website.
For example, if you’re trying to create a travel blog about your adventures, you may want to stick with a .com extension. Opposingly, let’s assume that you’re selling a cloud-based service.
In this case, a .net domain extension may give you higher chances of consumer traffic.
Now, if your cloud-based service domain name happens to be available with a .com extension, then you could change your mind.
.com sites are easier to market and can give your customers easier access. Overall, choosing the right extension mainly depends on what you have to offer the visiting users and your marketability.
How to Create Your Domain Name
After picking your domain extension, whether it’s a .com or .net option, it’s time to create your brand’s domain name. Here are some pointers to look out for when creating the name.
The ideal domain name will satisfy your user’s curiosity about what your website is for and build interest. The name should give users a quick overview of what your site is all about.
Now, if you have a well-established brand name, that users are familiar with, then a simple name and extension will suffice. If your brand name is already taken, then you can try to add a distinct word or domain extension.
Typically, you want to make the domain name simple and easy to remember so users can go back to it. Try to avoid generic names that’ll end up being overlooked. For instance, if you’re promoting your fashion design blog, you wouldn’t want to name it “fashiondesign.com.”
For one, a generic name will likely be already taken. Secondly, you wouldn’t be setting yourself apart from competitors and garnering as much interest. Instead, you can name your site something along the lines of, “Kellystylesthis.com,” assuming that your name is Kelly.
Alternatively, you may already have a unique brand name you can use. If the domain name of your brand name is occupied, you can use the .net extension instead.
Imagine this, you’re searching, “How to be more productive?” Now, the SERP shows you various sources, such as lifehack.org, futurelearn.com, and activecampaign.com. Underneath all that, there’s a site called verywellmind.com.
The chances of you clicking that website could be relatively low since it ranks slightly low compared to other sites. Besides that, the name is informative, engaging, and clear.
It concisely points its users to its mental health content. Plus, the .com domain name is simple and clickable. That said, its low rank could be attributed to other causes such as poor Search Engine Optimization.
How to Register Your Domain Name
Now that you’re aware of the .com and .net uses, differences, and similarities, you can start registering your domain name. This is a crucial step for your business since you’re now gaining an online presence.
Step 1: Find a Place to Purchase a Domain Name
You can choose between registrars based on their payment plans, user-friendliness, and other services offered. Besides that, if you haven’t picked a domain name yet, you can use a domain name generator to assist you.
Upon purchasing the domain name, some registrars will offer you to purchase other similar names. For instance, if you use the name: “lilyeatsfood.com,” then they may advise you to purchase similar names like, “lilyeats,” “lilyeatsfoods,” and “lilyeatfood.”
This is to protect your brand name from potential copycats out there that may take some of your potential website visits.
Side note, if you are curious about which domain name registrar to use, I wrote an article a little while back ranking 9 of the best domain name registrars on the web.
Step 2: Choose Your Plan and Purchase
After finding the domain name, you can finalize your purchase. Before you secure your payment, the domain registrar will give you several payment plan options.
These plans will range between a one to a ten-year contract. In addition to this, you can also find email domain offers to grow your business.
Step 3: Wait for Domain to be Available
The process isn’t automatically complete after you finalize your purchase. The domain needs to propagate. In other words, the domain name registry needs to be updated with your website’s Domain Name System (DNS) information.
Broadly speaking, it can take anywhere between two to seven days maximum. Meanwhile, you don’t need to do much since the process is being done in the background.
Other Domain Extensions
.com and .net are relatively two of the most commonly used extensions on the internet. Nonetheless, it’s worth looking at other extensions such as .edu, .org, and .edu.
.edu sites are mostly reserved for educational institutes like schools and universities. These kinds of domain extensions are a great indicator of reliable sources to use in your research.
Whether you’re looking for scholarly articles or case studies, .edu domain websites are your safest bet.
.org, otherwise referred to as “organization,” is catered to non-profit companies and charities like UNICEF. That being said, .org is non-restricted, meaning anyone can use this domain extension.
.org sites are additionally associated with free public services such as books and informational articles such as jstor.org.
Unlike several other domain extensions, .gov is mostly restricted to government body use. It’s used to show official information to the public. Aside from that, some .gov sites can belong to biased political entities.
About .us, .co.uk, .ru, etc.
Domain names can be an ideal method to localize your website. If your target audience lives in Canada, for example, you can end your domain name with .ca.
When it comes to differentiating between .com vs .net, there’s one main factor to consider. .com is used for commercial websites looking to sell products and services. .net highlights tech-specific products and services such as internet-providing.
All in all, both domain extensions can technically be used interchangeably, especially if your domain name in .com is unavailable. Apart from that, SEO won’t directly affect your website’s performance whether it’s .com or .net.
Your main concern should be to focus on the content your produce and the marketability of your website, everything else comes secondary.
Is .net or .com more reliable?
Both are similarly reliable and are TLDs, but people tend to visit .com websites since they’re more common.
Why is .com so popular?
.com is more popular since it can be used by the majority of commercial business owners. Plus, it’s the oldest and offers the best traffic guarantee to your website.
Who owns the .com and .net domains?
Both domains are operated and registered by Verisign, an internet company. The company provides domain name registries