Choosing the right domain name for your website is essential for building brand recognition and authority. Even the domain extension you choose could have a huge impact on your website’s visibility, but with so much at stake, how can you ensure that you’re making the right choice?

Keep reading to learn more about three of the most popular domain extensions (.com, .org, and .net), the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how to choose the best domain extension for your website.

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a unique and easy-to-remember address to a particular website. In reality, the address of each website is a complex string of numbers called an IP address, but domain names are used to map onto IP addresses so that internet users don’t need to remember lots of numbers to access a website.

Well-known domain names include, and As you can see, all of these domains end in a ‘.com’ domain extension, which we’ll discuss in more detail later.

Domain extensions

The domain extension, also known as a top-level domain (TLD), is a suffix following the specific brand identifier of your website. Each domain extension is preceded by a full stop.

There are a few different types of domain extensions. The most common type is generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Popular gTLDs include .com, .org and .net.

Next, we have country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). These domains are slightly more specific as they’re used for websites based in particular countries. An example of this is, as we’re a UK-based company using the ‘.uk’ ccTLD. Plus, using a ccTLD can be helpful for building credibility in specific markets and boosting local SEO.

Finally, you can also get sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) that are reserved for specific industries, such as .gov for government websites and .edu for educational websites. Nowadays, there are also lots of new domain extensions to make your domains less generic, such as .pizza and .space.

Overall, your domain extension should provide users with additional information about your website to let them know they’re in the right place. Therefore, choosing the right domain extension for your website is absolutely vital.

What are .com domains?

Let’s look at three of the most popular domain extensions: .com, .org and .net. If you’re hoping to register a new domain name, it’s very likely that you’ll choose one of these domain extensions.

In fact, as of June 2023, 47.8% of websites use .com, making it the most popular domain extension by far. The next most popular domain extension is .org, with only a 4.7% market share. A total of 2.9% of websites use .net.

The first websites all used .com, which explains why this domain extension has continued to enjoy unrivalled popularity. Over the years, .com has become the default extension for websites and the most recognisable and authoritative domain extension for Internet users.

However, this doesn’t mean that .com is entirely neutral. This domain extension actually stands for ‘commercial’, which means it’s intended for use by online businesses or any website seeking to make a profit.

What are .org domains?

While .com is used for commercial websites, .org (short for organisation) is most commonly used for charity, educational and non-profit websites. The .org domain extension is often viewed as authoritative by Internet users because they trust that these websites are high-quality sources of information and are not trying to sell them anything.

Can anyone use a .org domain?

Although .org domains are commonly associated with non-profit organisations, there are no restrictions on who can use this domain extension. Some commercial websites choose to use a .org domain because they feel that this will make their website more credible, but the danger of this is that some consumers will be put off if they think a commercial website is trying to hide its nature or motives.

Another reason why other organisations may choose a .org domain over a .com one is because there’s less choice with .com domains. Since .com is so popular, millions of .com domain names have already been registered before, which means your chosen domain name may not be available with a .com domain extension. To avoid this issue, many website owners are opting for .org domains or newer domains like .pizza or .site that give more of a description of their contents.

What are .net domains?

Another very popular domain extension is ‘.net’, which stands for ‘network’. This TLD is often suggested to those who can’t get their preferred .com domain name.

Anyone can use the .net extension, but it was originally introduced for businesses involved with network technologies and umbrella websites acting as a portal for multiple smaller sites. So, if you want the most appropriate domain extension for your site, we would recommend .net if your website offers network-based technology services such as email services, website hosting or database services.

.net vs .com domains

Originally, .net and .com domains had very different purposes. Commercial sites with the aim of making money online (such as ecommerce stores or affiliate sites) are best suited to .com domains, whereas technology services and networking platforms match better with .net domain extensions.

Although both domains are now available for anyone to use, they’re still strongly associated with their original purpose, just like .org is still associated with non-profit organisations. To reach your target audience, it’s recommended that you stick with these original aims so that customers know exactly what your website is about and don’t feel misled by your online presentation.

However, a common issue you could face is that your ideal .com domain is no longer available. .com domains are much more widely used, so it’s more likely that you could struggle to find the right .com domain for your website. In this case, .net is one of the main alternatives due to its popularity, credibility and more generic nature (especially compared to hyper-specific domain extensions like .beer and .car).

Registering multiple domain names

The decreasing availability of unique domain names means there’s an even greater chance that your business could be confused with another organisation. Registering a .org or .net domain when the .com version was already taken by another website could be fine if you’re in completely different industries (e.g. for-profit vs non-profit for .org or tech-based vs any other industry for .net), but if your businesses are similar, this could cause a lot of confusion and even direct traffic away from your site.

To strengthen brand authority, many businesses register multiple domain names with different domain extensions to redirect traffic back to their main site. Large businesses like Google also register domain name typos (such as to secure as much traffic as possible and prevent cybercriminals from typosquatting.

Pros and cons of .com domains

So, which domain should you choose? Even though .com domains are commonly associated with commercial websites, .org domains are usually used for non-profit organisations and .net domains are mainly used for network technology businesses, anyone could choose one of these domains.

Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of choosing a .com domain extension:


1. Most popular domain extension

The main benefit of using the most popular domain extension is that it’s the one people remember most easily. If a customer is trying to remember your domain name and type it into the address bar, they’ll probably try it with a .com TLD.

2. Trusted and respected

Another benefit is that popular domain extensions are widely recognised and therefore trusted. People are more likely to visit your site if it looks safe and credible.

3. Available for anyone

Any website can use the .com domain extension, no matter its purpose or where it’s based. This makes it a great default option.

4. Sold by most domain registrars

It’s also extremely convenient to opt for a .com domain because they’re sold by most domain registrars (including web hosting companies that also sell domain names). More niche extensions may be harder to find.

5. Mobile shortcuts

Many mobile phones and tablets now include a ‘.com’ shortcut on the keyboard when typing in email addresses and URLs, making this domain extension much more mobile-friendly. No other domain extension has this type of mobile shortcut.


1. More expensive to register and maintain

Since .com domains are so in demand, they can be more expensive than other domain extensions to register and renew.

2. Poor availability

Half of all websites use .com domains, which means that there’s much less availability for new .com domain names. You may find that your preferred domain names are already taken with .com TLDs.

3. May not be the best option for non-profit organisations

Although .com domains are often seen as the default, they can still suggest that your website has a more commercial focus, which may be misleading if you run a charity website or free educational platform.

Pros and cons of .org domains

Most website owners will end up choosing a .com domain extension or relevant ccTLD (such as for commercial organisations in the UK). However, depending on the brand image you’re trying to create, a .org domain may be better for you.

To help you decide, here are the main advantages and disadvantages of .org domains:


1. Very popular and trusted

Like the .com domain extension, .org is widely used and therefore seen as highly trustworthy. This will improve brand authority and encourage more people to visit your website.

2. Fantastic for non-profit websites

The .org domain extension adds extra credibility to non-profit organisations as it signals to visitors that the site isn’t trying to sell anything (for commercial profit).

3. Can sometimes be cheaper to register and maintain

Since .org domains aren’t as popular as .com domains, you may be able to get better deals on a .org domain name. However, in most cases, the prices for both of these domains will be pretty similar.

4. Better availability

There are fewer existing .org domains than .com domains, so you’re more likely to get the domain you want by registering a .org extension.


1. May not always be appropriate for commercial organisations

Anyone can use a .org domain extension, but this doesn’t mean you should. Some people may feel deceived if they discover that a .org site is run by a for-profit organisation, so think carefully about what best fits your website and aims.

2. Not as marketable as a .com domain extension

The .com domain extension is viewed as the default by most people, which means that .org domains may not be as memorable. To combat this, businesses with domain extensions other than .com will often include their TLDs as part of their brand name in marketing campaigns.

3. Less mobile-friendly

Only .com domains have a keyboard shortcut on mobile phones, which makes all other domain extensions (including .org domains) less optimised for mobile web browsing. With the rise of mobile web usage, this could become a significant issue in the future.

Pros and cons of .net domains

If .com and .org aren’t right for you, a .net domain extension may be the ideal choice. This is especially true if you run a network technology business in industries such as web hosting or database services, but anyone can use a .net domain if they feel like this will give their website the sense of professionalism, credibility and innovation they’re looking for.

Here are the main pros and cons of choosing a .net domain extension:


1. Credibility

.net was one of the seven original domain extensions introduced in 1985 (along with .com, .org, .edu, .gov, .int and .mil). As a result, .net is regarded as a very credible and trustworthy domain extension, which means that site visitors are more likely to trust your organisation and view it as reputable.

2. Ideal for innovative tech businesses

Anyone can use the .net domain extension, but it’s particularly relevant for tech businesses and startups. Originally, .net was designated for organisations involved with network technologies. As a result, .net has become synonymous with technology and innovation over the years, so if you want to highlight the cutting-edge nature of your tech business, .net is the way to go.

3. Better availability

Like .org, .net has much better availability than .com. Therefore, if your ideal .com domain name isn’t available, why not swap it for a .net domain extension instead?

4. Affordable

Since .net is now generic and can be used by anyone, it remains much more affordable than certain niche domains. Overall, .com, .org and .net can be registered and renewed for roughly similar prices, but the final price will depend on your domain registrar.


1. Not as marketable and memorable as .com domains

Just like .org domains, .net domains can suffer due to the much greater popularity of .com domains. To prevent your customers from accidentally typing .com instead of .net, you can register multiple domains or include your .net TLD in your branding and marketing campaigns.

2. Less mobile-friendly

Again, .com domains are the only TLD with their own shortcut on mobile devices. This makes all other domains, including .net, less optimised for mobile searches. With Google adopting a mobile-first indexing approach, this could be damaging to your website’s search engine rankings.

Frequently asked questions about .com, .org and .net domains

Which domain extension should I choose?

In general, it’s best to stick to the domain extension that most accurately reflects the nature of your organisation, since this will instantly boost brand recognition. For non-profit organisations such as charities, educational institutions, and free and open-source software (FOSS) companies, .org domains are generally the best choice. Umbrella sites and businesses in the network technologies field are strongly associated with .net domains, making this the obvious TLD option. Ecommerce and for-profit businesses, blogs with affiliate links, and any other sites that sell goods or services should usually opt for .com domains.

Is .com the best domain extension?

When in doubt, most website owners will go for a .com domain extension. For most types of websites, .com domains offer the best marketability, credibility, mobile-friendliness and brand authority.

However, the biggest downside to .com domain names is that they have poor availability. If you can’t get the domain name you want with a .com extension, or if you want something much more specific to your business, you may have to opt for a .org domain, a .net domain or a newer domain extension.

How do I register a new domain name?

Once you’ve chosen your domain name, including both your brand name and domain extension, it’s time to register it with an official registrar.

You can register your domain name with an independent registrar, certain website hosting companies and also some website builder companies. Not all registrars will offer all kinds of domain extensions, so make sure you check their availability (and their prices) before you choose a registrar.

With Fasthosts, you can get a new .com domain name for FREE for the first year. To take advantage of all of our amazing domain offers, including .com domains, domains, .pro domains and many more, visit our website today or get in touch with our helpful sales team.