Business

.org vs .com vs .net domain extensions - How to choose the right domain extension

By The IFTTT Team

August 21, 2023

  • When building a new website, one task that everyone must do is choosing and paying for a domain extension. Also known as domain names, these endings are necessary to register and open your website to the public.

    If you have visited a domain-buying platform before, you may have noticed that you can choose almost anything to title your website - from .org to .net, and even .biz. But how come most websites we see daily are either .com, .net, or .org? Why are these the most popular domain names, instead of just selecting the coolest-sounding one?

    Ultimately, choosing the right domain extension will depend on what kind of business you are running, or what type of organization you’re representing. Today, we will present a brief guide to help make the selection process easier.

    To wrap up, we will introduce IFTTT, our automation service that connects over 800 different apps and services. By using IFTTT, you can automate simple tasks, like posting your blog articles to social media automatically. Our service can help manage your website efficiently and without any extra effort. Plus, IFTTT is free to use – what’s not to love? Sign up today and start automating your website for a smoother experience.

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    What is a domain extension?

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    A domain extension, also known as a top-level domain (TLD), is the last part of a web address that follows the final dot. Examples of domain extensions include .com, .org, .net, .edu, and country-specific ones like .uk or .au.

    Domain extensions serve to categorize websites on the internet. They can provide information about the website's purpose, the organization that owns it, and the geographical area it serves. For instance, .com is typically used by commercial entities, .org by non-profit organizations, .edu by educational institutions, and .gov by government entities.

    They play a crucial role in the internet's domain name system (DNS), which helps translate human-friendly website names into IP addresses that computers use to identify each other on the network. The domain extension is a key component of this system, helping to organize the vast array of online destinations.

    Over time, as the internet grew, more generic TLDs (gTLDs) have been added, such as .info, .biz, .pro, and many others. In recent years, hundreds of new gTLDs have been added, including .app, .blog, .site, and more7.

    Importance of choosing the right domain extension

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    Choosing the right domain extension is crucial for a variety of reasons, including its impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and brand credibility.

    In the early days of the internet, the choice of domain extension was thought to have a significant impact on a website's SEO. It was commonly believed that a .com domain would rank higher than other extensions. However, Google has since clarified that all domain extensions are treated equally in search engine rankings.

    A memorable domain extension can increase click-through rates from search engine results pages, which can positively influence SEO. If users recognize and trust your domain extension, they may be more likely to click on your site in search results.

    For example, a .org domain extension is often associated with non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and other entities that have a mission beyond profit. If that aligns with your brand, choosing a .org extension can reinforce your brand's identity.

    The Ever-Popular: .com domains

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    There is, without doubt, no string of characters more synonymous with the internet than ".com." The .com extension is one of the first top-level domains (TLDs) introduced when the Domain Name System (DNS) was implemented for use on the internet in January 1985

    Despite technically standing for "commercial", there are no restrictions on who can register a .com domain, making it a popular and smart choice for various types of websites, from businesses to blogs.

    Pros:

    Recognition and trust: The .com extension is the most recognized and trusted domain extension worldwide, making it an excellent choice for businesses aiming to establish credibility.

    SEO benefits: Although Google treats all domain extensions equally, a .com domain might have indirect SEO benefits due to higher click-through rates from search engine results pages.

    Versatility: It's suitable for virtually any website, whether it's a personal blog, online store, corporate site, or non-profit organization.

    Cons:

    Availability: Due to its popularity, finding an available .com domain that matches your preferred website name can be challenging.

    Price: Popular .com domains, especially short and simple ones, can be very expensive to purchase if they're already owned by someone else.

    Given its association with commercial entities, a .com domain extension is ideal for businesses of all sizes and industries. If you can scoop one up for cheap, it's hard to go wrong with a .com extension.

    The Practical: .org domains

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    Alongside .com domains, .org domains also take the podium as one of the most well-known extensions available today. We call it the "practical" choice because choosing a .org domain is a fantastic substitute if all .com extensions are taken, and can even give your website an air of officiality.

    Pros:

    Credibility: The .org extension is often associated with non-profits, educational institutions, and credible information sources, which can help establish trust with your audience.

    Availability: Since .org is less popular than .com, you might have a better chance of getting your desired domain name.

    Cons:

    Perception: Because .org is often associated with non-profits and organizations, using it for a commercial business might confuse potential visitors. SEO: While all domain extensions are treated equally by search engines, a .com might get more clicks simply because users are more familiar with it.

    The .org extension is ideal for non-profit organizations, community groups, schools, and open-source projects. It's also a good choice for businesses and individuals as long as it aligns with their brand and purpose

    The Overlooked: .net domains

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    Those searching for cheap domain options are often presented with the .net extensions. However, we would recommend trying to find a .com or .org extension first, because there are some real drawbacks to using a .net domain. Unfortunately, the biggest issue with using a .net domain extension is perception, as many illegal businesses and scam sites choose this extension to use.

    Not all is lost, however, as a .net domain can be a great cheap choice for businesses in the realm of networking, such as internet providers or email services. In these cases, perception isn't as much of a downside because users know that your company is within the networking industry.

    Pros:

    Availability: Since .net is less popular than .com, you might have a better chance of getting your preferred domain name.

    Versatility: While it was originally intended for network-related businesses, there are no restrictions on who can register a .net domain. It can be a good alternative if your desired .com domain is taken.

    Cons:

    Recognition: Compared to .com, the .net extension is less recognized by the general public. This could potentially lead to confusion or forgetfulness among your site visitors.

    Perception: As .net is often associated with network-related activities, or sometimes scam sites, using it for different types of websites might not always resonate with your target audience.

    Which domain extension should you choose?

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    Finding the right domain extension is a big part of building your website, but don't get too hung up on the little details. Many businesses, for example, SimplyBook.me, are able to get creative with cheaper domain options and still retain good meaning with visitors.

    Here's a quick rule of thumb:

    Commercial Businesses: Experts typically recommend .com for commercial businesses due to its widespread recognition and trust among consumers.

    Non-Profits/Educational Institutions: .org is often recommended for these types of organizations because it conveys trustworthiness and credibility.

    Network-Related Businesses: .net can be a good option for businesses related to network technologies or internet services.

    Remember, if your preferred .com domain is taken, both .org and .net can be suitable alternatives. The choice between them would depend on the nature of your website and how you think your audience will perceive each extension.

    Growing your website with IFTTT

    Now that you are an expert on all things domain names, it's time to start growing your website.

    IFTTT (If This Then That) is our powerful tool that can automate many aspects of your website. By creating simple "recipes" on IFTTT, you can integrate your website with over 800 popular applications and services like Twitter or Instagram. Read on to hear our mission and our top picks for website automations.

    What is IFTTT?

    IFTTT, an acronym for "If This Then That," is our free web-based service and mobile app designed to boost productivity by automating tasks. It works by creating connections between popular apps and services, allowing them to work together seamlessly.

    The basic idea behind IFTTT is to create "applets" or sets of instructions that trigger when certain conditions are met. For example, you could set up an applet that sends you an email alert whenever a specific Twitter account posts a new tweet.

    Founded in 2011, IFTTT has been used by over 25 million individuals to automate both business and home tasks, saving time and increasing efficiency. It's commonly used to connect disparate services and systems, making all products and services work well together in a way that instills user confidence. Best of all, it's free and only takes a couple of minutes to set up.

    Top Website Building Automation with IFTTT

    Find Unregistered Domain Names

    If you're looking for an available domain name, IFTTT can help. With this automation, you'll receive an alert as soon as a desired domain is made available.

    Automatic Website Update Notifications

    Have you ever wished that someone would let you know whenever your site was updated? With IFTTT, you can set up an automation to send notifications whenever content is added or changed on your website.

    Post Your Instagram Photos to WordPress

    If you're a frequent Instagram user, this automation is for you. With IFTTT, you can easily post your photos to WordPress in just a few clicks.

    Ready to get started with IFTTT? Sign up today and start building the website of your dreams!

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