This article is part of a larger series on Small Business Websites.
Part of building a professional website is deciding on the right domain name. This doesn’t stop at the root domain either; the right domain extension lends credibility to your business. There are a ton of options to choose from, but a commercial entity will probably end up choosing between .com vs. .net. As the most recognizable domain extension, you’ll probably end up going with .com, but don’t dismiss .net because it’s a good choice for businesses in the tech sector.
Whether you go with .com or .net, finding the right domain name is easy. Search for your perfect domain name right here.
.Com vs .Net at a Glance Comparison
Both .com and .net are part of your domain name. As top-level domains (TLDs), these appear after the final dot in your URL. There are other common TLDs aside from these two, like .org and .edu, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get the TLD of your choice, especially when it comes to popular and professional extensions like .com and .net.
Commercial entities and almost any business
Businesses in the web and technology sectors
Online stores, media sites, blogs and portfolios, restaurants, real estate agencies
Software development companies, mobile game developers, web hosts, databases, tech repair services
Average Cost per Year
Domain Name Availability
Very difficult due to its popularity
Difficult, as it’s popular with tech businesses, but much easier to get than .com
After deciding on your domain name (and TLD), you can register your name through a domain registrar like Bluehost. Remember that domain extensions aren’t so straightforward. For example, nothing is stopping you from registering your tech company’s domain name with a .com TLD. However, the right TLD can further your branding and tell your audience a little bit about what your business does.
Pro tip: The prices shown above are just averages, but many domain registrars offer introductory prices for the first year, or cheaper prices for longer terms (e.g., five or 10 years). There are also ways to get a domain name for free.
When to Use a .Com Domain Extension
Originally intended for commercial businesses (.com stands for “commercial”), it’s currently the most popular TLD in the world. Any business can register for a .com TLD, but because of its popularity, it is the most competitive and difficult to get.
When to Use a .Net Domain Extension
In contrast to .com, .net stands for “network,” and it was intended for companies and organizations in networking technologies. It isn’t as popular as .com, but it’s still widely used. Although it was almost always used for businesses associated with technology and the web, now it’s a professional—and suitable—domain extension for businesses that can’t snag a .com TLD.
Pro tip: The .net domain extension may be a less competitive alternative to .com, but .com is still more recognizable, and we recommend trying to register a .com TLD for businesses outside of the tech sector. Because of the competition, you may not get the exact name of your choice, so get creative with choosing your domain name.
Alternatives to .Com & .Net
Nonprofits and charities
Government entities and departments
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov)
Tech companies, similar to .net, or startups and personalities that want to stand out with an abbreviation
Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign site (www.rub.io)
.us, .ca, co.uk, .ru
Location-based sites (e.g., .us for USA, .ca for Canada, co.uk for commercial businesses in the U.K.)
Register your domain name today with the best domain registrars available.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which is better for SEO, .com or .net?
Domain names don’t really affect your rankings on search results directly. However, they can influence how your audience perceives your site, or even your site’s searchability. For most businesses, sticking to recognizable extensions like .com can get the most users onto your website, even for businesses in the tech and networking sector (Gmail still uses a .com extension, for example).
Where can I get a domain name?
The most straightforward way to get a domain name is to register through a domain registrar, like Bluehost, Domains.com, or Google Domains. These registrars offer different introductory offers, prices, and plans, so you can shop around to find the most affordable deal. Otherwise, you can usually get a free domain for a year by building a website through an all-in-one site builder, or by purchasing a hosting plan from a hosting provider.
Does it matter where my domain is registered?
Different registrars offer different prices, deals, and services, but outside of that, it doesn’t matter where your domain is registered. Every accredited domain registrar goes through the same main registry, so you can choose whichever domain registrar fits your needs best.
Both .com and .net are common top-level domains, but .com is the more popular choice for a majority of commercial businesses. Nothing is stopping you from using a .net domain name, but keep in mind that .net is popular for technology and networking websites. In case you need both web hosting and a domain name, you can get a domain name for free when you host on Bluehost. If you’re only looking for the right domain name, we recommend using Domains.com.