Choosing a Top Level Domain (TLD) is the trickiest and most confusing part of building websites. Those three letters that come after the dots in a URL play a prime role in defining the purpose and credibility of your website.
Among the many TLDs available today, .com, .net, and .org remain popular. These are some of the earliest TLDs that were made public. Each has distinctive traits, pros and cons, and scope of use.
Let's dive in!
What is a .Com TLD?
.Com is the most used and popular TLD on the internet. Today, nearly 52% of global websites use .com as their TLD. Interestingly, viewers treat it as a default extension when describing any site, making it easy to remember.
However, the availability of .com TLDs is quite limited since it's been around for so long. The long time-in-market means that many better .com domain names already have owners. Most businesses prefer owning .com TLD as their digital brand.
Netflix, Spotify, eBay, Walmart, Ralph Lauren are good examples. They all use a .com domain as the primary TLD for their global websites. That's the kind of popularity and wider usage that .com TLDs represent.
Pros of a .Com TLD
- Easily recognizable
- Not tied to specific geolocations
- Builds user confidence more easily
Cons of a .Com TLD
- Most good .com names already taken
What is a .Net TLD?
.Net comes second in the TLD ranking. Users have already registered over 13.4 million domain names with the .net TLD. The “net” stands for “network” and usually refers to an umbrella website. That means the website acts as a doorway to several smaller sites. However, it's more typical that people choose .net when their desired domain name isn't available as a .com.
One category of users that love .net domain names are companies that offer internet and web hosting services.
Pros of a .Net TLD
- Offers good brand recognition
- Suitable for network services websites
- Easier to get than .com
Cons of a .Net TLD
- Less recognizable than .com
- More expensive than .com
What is a .org TLD?
.Org extension stands for organization. This TLD was initially for non-commercial organizations like NPOs, charities, foundations, educational platforms, etc. Initially, it aimed to accommodate only those companies that couldn't find a place in other TLDs.
While it remains a favorite extension for non-profit organizations, a 2019 registrar change means that commercial entities can now use it. If you decide to use .org, make sure you disclose the purpose and nature of your website accurately since users still assume .org allows only charity-type organizations.
Pros of a .Org TLD
- Good website visibility
- Enhances brand awareness
Cons of a .Org TLD
- Can make website monetization tricky
- Most expensive of all the three TLDs discussed here
.Com vs .Net vs .Org: What's the Difference?
The three TLDs here have their pros and cons. After all, choosing a domain name isn't completely black and white. The best way of choosing a domain name and extension is to factor in various considerations like the nature of your business and price.
But to give a more comprehensive and clear view of these three TLDs here's a quick comparison:
.Com extension vs .Org extension
The .org extension is more prevalent for not-for-profit organizations, whereas .com is for everyone. Though, this doesn't mean commercial websites cannot use .org TLD. You only have to ensure that visitors know your brand's purpose and intent.
If you are looking for a mere substitute for the .com extension, then .org won't be a smart choice. Many still associate .org with charity and NPO entities, which can lead to monetization complications. Conversely, charities and websites for social causes can easily use the .com TLD.
.Com vs .Net extension
The only difference between these two TLDs is that .com is more general purpose while .net is better for websites offering network services. The definition of a network here is rather broad, though. It can cover everything from technical networks to communities like forums.
Key Takeaways: Which one is the best?
.Com, .net, .org all three extensions have their scope and challenges. Still, if I had to pick one, it would always be .com, despite the challenge of finding an unowned domain name with this TLD. It's been around for so long that the extension holds a firm place in netizens' hearts.
Always keep in mind the purpose of your website when choosing an extension. Do you want to sell your products? Or impart knowledge and provide vital info? Or do you want to raise funds for your orphanage? This info can help you pick the right TLD for your website.