If finding an available domain name wasn’t difficult enough, once you find one, you’ll have to decide which domain name extension you want. For many, it will come down to .com vs .net. Chances are, you will want to go with the .com as it represents a commercial entity and is the most recognizable domain extension. However, if you’re in a niche tech or web services area, a .net (or .io) might be better for you.
Here’s when to use .com vs .net:
- .COM: Best for nearly every type of business
- .NET: Best for technology and web-service businesses
Still wondering what exactly is a domain extension? A domain extension is what follows the period (.) in a domain name, such as “.com” in fitsmallbusiness.com. There are a variety of domain extensions, and they serve to categorize websites by business type, location, or content. Of all the extensions, .com and .net are commonly perceived as the most professional.
Difference Between .Com vs .Net
The difference between .com and .net domain extensions is what they stand for. A .com represents a commercial entity, whereas a .net represents a network. The vast majority of businesses registering a domain name will find a .com to be the best fit—unless the business is a network such as an email or internet provider.
When to Use a .Com Domain Extension
The .com domain extension is short for “commercial,” and it is the most widely used extension. It’s recommended that any professional entity use .com because it conveys credibility and is easier to remember than other lesser-known extensions. It is also the most recognizable and is seen as a reliable marker for trustworthiness and professionalism. For that reason, many individuals and organizations use it in addition to commercial businesses.
Given the popularity of the .com domain extension, it can be very difficult to find an available .com. In the case where there are no suitable .com extensions available, businesses may consider using an alternative domain extension, such as a .net or a country code such as .us or .ca if it means getting their desired domain name (e.g., yourbusiness.net).
Want a .com but struggling to find an available one? Get ideas on choosing a domain name.
When to Use a .Net Domain Extension
The .net domain extension is short for “network,” and it is mainly used by internet service providers, network services, online technology companies, and database providers. Since it was designed for web service companies, businesses outside this industry are not advised to use a .net domain extension. If you are in this industry, however, consider a .net extension.
It’s important to note that .net extensions are not as mobile-friendly as a .com domain. Smartphone keyboards typically only have a dedicated .com button on the keyboard, which makes typing in .net domains more time-consuming.
Pro tip: If you choose a .net extension, you may still want to buy the .com version and redirect it to your main .net site. This ensures you capture all .com domain traffic and prevent competitors from stealing customers.
.Com vs .Net: Which One Is Better for SEO?
Domain extensions bear little weight in search, and, therefore, have little impact on how your business website ranks. The only time extensions do matter is when you’re trying to rank in local search results outside the U.S. Local searches tend to favor domain extensions for specific countries or regions, such as .ca or .uk.
Keep in mind that there may be some advantages to using more recognizable extensions, such as a .com. For example, because a .com website extension is more relevant to users looking to make a purchase than a .net extension, you might find you get more clicks via Google search results with a .com domain. Conversely, if you want to target users interested in technology, a .net domain might be more effective.
Pro tip: If you are concerned about your site’s search engine optimization (SEO), focus on factors such as directory listings, backlinks, and page content to rank higher in Google searches.
Alternatives to .Com & .Net
Internet service providers or networking websites
Anyone can use, but it’s popular within tech
Location-based extensions (e.g., .us for the United States, .ca for Canada)
Yapp Mobile App
The Salvation Army
Academic organizations and institutions
U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Interested in using an alternative to .com or .net? Learn more about the best domain name extensions for business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How much does a domain extension cost?
Prices for registering a domain name often range from $12 to $20 and higher. This depends on domain extension (e.g., .com, .net, .io), where you’re registering it through, the contract length (e.g., 12 months, 36 months), and if you opt for add-ons such as domain privacy. Many hosting providers, like Bluehost, offer a free domain and domain extension with web hosting services. Learn more about domain name costs for the best domain name registrars.
Where can I get a domain name?
There are three main ways to get a domain name: through a domain name registrar (e.g., GoDaddy), through a web hosting plan (e.g., Bluehost), or through a site builder plan (e.g., Squarespace). Using a domain name registrar will be the most straightforward way, with a cost of around $12 to $15 per year. However, you can get a free domain name with a web hosting plan or site builder plan, so it’s worth signing up for a web hosting or site builder plan first.
Is .com or .org better?
The domain extensions .com and .org are both top extensions with different use cases. The .com, which represents “commercial,” is widely used by businesses, whereas the .org stands for “organization” and is used by nonprofit organizations. So, .com is better for businesses and .org is best for nonprofits. Get the complete head-to-head comparison of .org vs .com.
When comparing .com vs .net, most businesses will find .com is the better choice. It’s not only more recognizable, but it also appears more credible because .com domain extensions have become the default domain extension. Businesses within certain industries, such as technology services, may opt for a more niche extension such as .net or .io.
Registering a domain for the first time? Don’t make the mistake of buying a domain when you will likely be eligible for a free one through your web hosting or site builder, such as through Bluehost or Squarespace.