Com vs. Net – How Are These Popular Domain Name Extensions Different?

Com vs. Net – How Are These Popular Domain Name Extensions Different?

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Dec 21, 2023 20:05 IST

The main difference between .com and .net lies in their original intended purposes and the perception they create among users. While .com represents 'commercial' and is widely preferred for general-purpose websites, including commercial sites, blogs, and awareness platforms, .net stands for 'network' and is commonly associated with services and technology-related sites, especially those involved in web hosting.

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Both .com and .net are popular domain name extensions. But .com is preferred over .net by many businesses. Let’s explore the .com vs. .net debate in detail to know why. 

Explore the following. 

  1. What is a domain extension?
  2. What is .com?
  3. What is .net?
  4. When to use .com vs .net?
  5. Recap – com vs. net

What is a Domain Extension?

The domain extension is the final part of the domain. For instance, in google.com, Google is the domain name, .com is the domain extension. 

This suffix after the domain name in the web address is also referred to as top-level domain (TLD). TLD is managed by a Domain Name System (DNS). Now, DNS refers to a naming database that controls how a domain name is translated into an IP (internet protocol) address. 

Some of the most popular types of TLDs or domain extensions are

  • Country code top-level domain (ccTLD) – Defined by a country code such as .in for India, .us for the USA, etc. 
  • Sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) – Represents a sponsor for a specific community, such as .gov for government websites or .edu for educational websites. 
  • Generic top-level domain (gTLD) – Represents a generic address unlike ccTLD or sTLD, such as .com for commercial, .net for network site, .org for a non-profit organisation, etc. 

Both .com and .net are gTLDs. Let’s explore how .com differs from .net. 

What is .com?

A website with the domain extension, .com represents ‘commercial’. It originally started for commercial websites back in 1985.

And, now, it is no longer limited to commercial websites only. You can use a .com website for blogging, raising awareness, etc. 

According to Statista, 52% of all top-level domains are for .com. As you can tell, using a .com domain extension is preferred by businesses worldwide. 

A 2015-dated Google Search Central blog states that an alternate gTLD than .com will not directly affect search rankings, but it is still influential regarding the audience’s brand perception. 

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So, choosing .com or .net will not affect your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Both will show up on search results without any hassle. It is the domain name that can affect ranking and not the extension. 

But, .com wins over .net in terms of usability. On smartphones, you will never find a .net button on the keyboard. The .com button is on it. 

What is .net?

.Net is another popular domain name extension. Just as .com stands for commercial websites, .net stands for network sites. The .net domain extension indicates networking websites that are bigger websites for smaller websites. 

It is generally used for websites that offer web hosting or other services. 

One of the reasons why many choose .net over .com is that it is not that hard to create a website with a simple name. In the case of .com sites, it becomes difficult to use simple website names as they are mostly taken. 

According to Statista, only 3.1% of top-level domains worldwide are for .net. 

When to Use .com vs .net?

Choosing a site with a .com domain name extension is always ideal as it is trusted and used more. If you are looking to build instant trust among your target audience, a .com site can help.

You should choose a .net domain name extension when you can’t use your domain name with a .com domain name extension. 

Also note that companies commonly buy both .com and .net domain name extensions so that any third party cannot defame their reputation. 

Recap – .com vs .net

Here are some parameters to remember in the .com vs .net debate. 

Parameters .com  .net
Stands for  Commercial Network
Availability  More than half of TLDs are .com; it is harder to get simple domain names Less than 4% of TLDs are .net; it is easier to get simple domain names
Best for  Commercial sites and general-purpose websites Services and technology  sites
Costs per year $8.99 $12.99
Mobile-friendliness .com appears on the smartphone keyboard, making it convenient to type just the domain name and clicking on the .com button .net is not present on the smartphone keyboard

Parting Thoughts

The main difference between .com and .net lies in how businesses use them as a business strategy. When it comes to branding, a .com site will be perceived better by the audience than a .net site. But this lies in the perception alone. As far as SEO is concerned, using either .com or .net will not affect search rankings. 

Check out some business strategy courses too. 

FAQs

Do domain extensions (e.g. .com vs .net) affect SEO ranking from a technical standpoint?

From a technical perspective, domain extensions (such as .com, .net, .org, etc.) don't inherently influence SEO rankings. Search engines like Google primarily focus on the content quality, relevance, backlinks, and user experience of a website rather than the domain extension itself.

However, some factors indirectly associated with domain extensions might impact SEO:

  1. Credibility and Trust: Users often trust more established extensions like .com or country-specific ones like .co.uk. A more trusted domain might attract more organic traffic and backlinks, which can positively affect SEO.

  2. Local SEO: Country-specific domain extensions (.uk, .fr, .de, etc.) can slightly impact local search results. They might be more relevant for users searching within that specific region.

  3. Keyword Relevance: In some cases, having a domain name that includes relevant keywords can benefit SEO. However, this isn't directly related to the extension but rather the words used in the domain name.

What factors determine the pricing discrepancies between various top-level domains (TLDs), and what defines a top-level domain (TLD)?

The pricing of top-level domains (TLDs) varies due to factors like popularity, demand, registry costs, exclusivity, and geographical significance. TLDs such as .com often cost more because of higher demand and widespread recognition, while niche or country-specific TLDs might have different pricing based on market factors and specialisation.

What is better than .com?

"Better" is subjective when it comes to domain extensions. The .com domain is widely recognised, but the suitability of a domain extension depends on your specific needs. For businesses, .com is conventional and trusted. However, if your website focuses on a specific country, a country code top-level domain (ccTLD) like .uk (United Kingdom), .de (Germany), or .fr (France) might be more appropriate for local targeting.

Can I use .net if .com is taken?

Yes, you can use a .net domain if the .com extension is already taken. While .com is popular and commonly used, if the desired .com domain is unavailable, using the .net extension can be a suitable alternative. Just ensure that the .net domain aligns with your branding and purpose as closely as possible.

Why is .com more expensive?

The .com domain extension is often more expensive due to its widespread popularity and recognition. It's the most established and widely used domain extension, making it highly sought after. The higher demand for .com domains results in higher prices compared to other extensions. Additionally, since .com domains are considered the default choice for many businesses and individuals, they tend to have a premium price tag attached to them.

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio