.net vs .com: Which Is the Best Domain Extension?

When it comes to choosing .net versus .com as a domain extension for your website name, the decision is not as easy as it may seem.
September 2, 2022
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Is .com better than .net? When it comes to domain extensions, also called top-level domains or TDLs, .com is by far the most popular, with .net coming in at a distant second. But popularity doesn’t necessarily mean that the former is the obvious choice for your website.

In assessing .net versus .com, there are a number of considerations, from branding decisions to ubiquity to search rankings. So, it’s crucial to make the best choice for your domain extension and the domain name itself.

The Difference Between .com and Other Domains

.net is not the only alternative to .com, the most ubiquitous of all domain extensions. .org is another widely used extension, as is .edu. Briefly, here is what each extension means, at least in terms of the original purpose and intent:

  • .com: Represents a commercial product, service, or business, typically used for for-profit entities
  • .net: An abbreviation for “network,” usually indicating a provider of technological services or goods like internet, digital products, email, tech repair, networks, web hosts, and more
  • .org: A shortening of “organization” that was traditionally reserved for nonprofits, noncommercial organizations, foundations, and charities
  • .edu: Reserved for educational institutions including colleges, universities, and schools
  • .gov: Designates governmental bodies, entities, agencies, programs, departments, and institutions

The Difference Between .net and .com

You know it’s important to craft a domain name that is intuitive and will drive traffic to your website. That includes both the domain name itself and the extension. In order to create the best URL for your purposes, you must first understand the differences between the .net domain and the .com domain.

.com

.com is the more familiar of the two options when you’re comparing .net versus .com. And it is the extension used for the vast majority of websites. Even when the business or entity is not a commercial one, many users opt for the .com extension because it’s so much more intuitive and ubiquitous—more visitors will type example.com without thinking twice. Truthfully, it is the more expected domain extension.

.net

So, what’s the .net domain meaning? And is there ever a reason to use it? There is.

Because .com is so common, many users will find that the domain name they want isn’t available with this domain extension. .net, although originated to denote networking and related services, is not as ubiquitous and therefore presents a viable alternative. Simply put, it’s the less generic of the two.

Choosing Your Business Domain

When it comes down to it, how do you make the choice? And what else should you consider when creating your business domain name? Here are some key factors to keep in mind.

Availability

Or, rather, unavailability. Because .com is such a commonly applied extension, you are very likely to encounter issues with registering a domain name that includes it, particularly if the title itself is somewhat generic. At this point, the vast majority of concepts and words are already taken. But your name of choice plus a .net extension might be available when a .com one is not.

At the same time, think about the likelihood of a visitor attempting to head to your site and landing on a competitor’s page instead. You might want to go with an unused .com name if this is a realistic fear.

SEO

Between .net versus .com, which will help you rank higher in search results? Search engine optimization (SEO) should always be a consideration for marketing and traffic purposes. But in this case, there really isn’t a difference—search engines like Google don’t actually take domain extensions into account in their rankings.

They do, however, consider the domain name itself, so if your keyword of choice is taken with .com, it could be in your best interest to try it with .net.

Memorability

Will your domain name stick in users’ minds? This isn’t just about the extension—it concerns the entire URL. You want something people can easily remember because then you will gain more traffic to your site.

That said, the domain extension does play a role in memorability. Users could easily assume your site has a .com extension, for example, when in reality, it’s .net—something that could prove detrimental.

Affordability

Domain names vary in cost. The extension does play a role in the price, so this is something you will want to take into account when making an overall assessment of the choices available to you and your business. While many domain names are affordable, choices that are considered more popular are often more expensive.

Domain-related issues—and .net versus .com—aren’t the only consideration when it comes to selecting a domain name for your business. You should also ask yourself:

  • Does my domain name reflect the nature of my business and convey what we do?
  • Is it clear, concise, intuitive, and easy to find?
  • Is it unique but logical?
  • Does it convey credibility and authority in my space?
  • Is it easy to type, pronounce, and remember?
  • Are there words I can add or ways I can alter the domain name if my choice is taken?

Many businesses select names that are the name of the organization. This is the best approach if you have a unique—yet memorable—brand. However, it’s not ideal if it’s something relatively generic, such as “bestburgers.com” because this could easily be confused with a competitor in your space.

Crafting a domain name is an art, and it’s something that demands a thorough approach and attention. Give every component, from the domain name itself to the extension, the care it demands.

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