When launching a website, you need to create a distinct domain. But when presented with .com or .net, many people aren’t sure which is the right choice.
The main differences between the two are that .net has heavy tech connotations, and .com is more convenient and familiar to consumers.
Read more about the pros and cons of each extension in this article.
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What Does .Com Mean?
.com is typically for commercial use and stands for commercial. A .com domain is ideal for commercial identities and most businesses, such as online stores, media sites, restaurants, blogs, and portfolios. Most websites you visit are a .com, so many people treat that as the default option when building a site or business.
What Does .Net Mean?
.net stands for network and is common among internet providers, infrastructure, and email platforms. This type of domain is ideal for businesses in the technology or web industry.
Standard companies that use a .net domain include software companies, mobile game developers, web hosts, tech repair services, and databases. Because .net stands for network, it’s ideal for larger companies and businesses in the technology sector.
.Com Pricing and Availability
This type of domain is the most common, making it more difficult to acquire a specific .com domain due to competition. You can claim a .com domain for around $12, but they can be more expensive, spending on the name you choose and what platform you build your website on.
The pricing on a .com can range wildly, from as low as $1.99 to as high as $50. Depending on what platform hosts your website, you may have to pay annually to continue using the domain.
.Net Pricing and Availability
These domain extensions are also popular, and you can acquire one starting at $10. While a .net domain is not rare by any means, it can be difficult to require the name you want because many tech companies use .net domains.
However, they can be easier to acquire than a .com, undeniably the most popular domain extension. If you attempt to buy a .com with your business’s name or your desired name and it is not available, trying a .net is a decent next step.
.Com Pros & Cons
Choosing a .com domain extension comes with pros and cons. Before you commit to a .com extension, weigh the pros and cons explained below.
First, read about the pros of using the domain extension .com.
If you use a .com and a customer looks you up using your business name, they’ll be more likely to find you successfully and quickly! Plus, less common domain extensions, like .net, can be more difficult to remember.
If you use a less common domain extension and your customers try to search for you or your business using a .com extension, you could miss out on potential business or exposure.
People trust most .com sites because they are typically commercial websites you can assume are reputable. Even though other domain extensions are not necessarily less credible, in the consumers’ eyes, a .com is something familiar and trustworthy.
A .net extension or other domain extensions, like .io or .co, can perplex people because they aren’t familiar with them. Even though .com is technically not the most credible domain extension, as .edu and .gov are usually more trustworthy, the average person is more likely to visit a .com.
Because .com websites are more common and visited, it’s also more convenient for site visitors. Some keyboards also include a .com button to make it easy for people to complete the search field.
Google and other top search engines will also automatically show .com sites that match the search query closer to the top of the results. If your name is Jane Smith and your website is a personal portfolio, janesmith.com will likely appear closer to the top of search results than janesmith.net.
Now, onto the cons of .com domain extensions. The cons of the .com extensions typically concern how common they are, meaning they can be hard to acquire.
The number one con for choosing a .com domain extension is their commonality. It may be easy to have your site confused with another site. If you are janesmith.com, janiesmith.com may steal some of your site traffic. One letter could lose you a customer or site visitor, making a difference in your business’s success.
However, if you are janesmith.net or janesmith.org, you can stand out against all the variations of janesmith.com. If you have a common name or a common business name, the commonality of .com sites may pose a significant dilemma.
Another con for .com is that you may not get the name you want because there are limited available .com domains. So the likelihood of janesmith.com being available in this advanced digital age is low. At this point in the digital age, many names are taken, giving you a reason to explore other domain extensions like .net!
This con is small and debatable. On average, .com domains are more expensive than .net. The price difference is slim, sometimes only a few dollars. But many domains require monthly or yearly payments to retain, so the price difference can add up.
.Net Pros & Cons
Now, onto the pros and cons of .net domain extensions. While .net domains are less common, this can be an upside and a downside. Read on to learn the .net pros and cons to make an informed decision.
The pros of choosing a .net extension are strong. While your instincts may be to stick with a .com because it’s familiar, the pros of a .net explained below may swing you to the other side!
The number one reason to choose a .net domain extension is that you are more likely to find the domain name you want! While janesmith.net may already exist, many common names and business names have not been claimed as a .net domain. As the number of websites on the internet grows, fewer .net domains will be available.
This pro is small but still worth mentioning. A .net domain is typically more affordable than a .com because they are less in demand. You can expect a .net to cost less to acquire, and the monthly or annual payments will be smaller. While .nets are typically cheaper, the difference can sometimes only be a few dollars, so it isn’t a substantial pro.
Some people perceive .nets as more professional than .com. While .coms are usually credible and trustworthy, .nets can seem more serious and official. This pro is especially true in tech industries, as most tech companies use .nets.
If you have a tech site with a .com domain extension, it may seem more casual than a .net domain. This pro may seem insignificant, but for people in the industry, it can make a difference in their company’s perception.
Now, let’s discuss the cons of choosing a .net domain. For people in the tech industry, these cons are less relevant.
A small con of choosing a .net is that there are rarely keyboard buttons for a .net. A search engine is also more likely to complete a search query with .com than .net, possibly taking people to the wrong site. The lack of convenience and familiarity can reduce your website’s traffic.
While .nets are ideal for tech industries, they can be an awkward choice for non-tech businesses. For example, if you run an organic soap shop or knit custom sweaters, a .net may seem strange to people who visit your site. The tech connotations imply a seriousness that may not be suitable for more playful businesses.
The .net domain extension is traditionally for promoting internet services and networking websites. The tech connotations also limit what people imagine the site could be for. For this reason, you need to market your website more aggressively, which can take time away from other tasks.
When Should You Use a .Com Extension?
From a branding standpoint, a .com domain is valuable. If you can acquire a .com domain with your business name, you should scoop it up as quickly as possible. If you run an online business or want to create a digital portfolio, .com is the best option. It’s straightforward, familiar, and convenient.
When Should You Use a .Net Extension?
The obvious answer is you should use a .net if you want to launch a tech site or anything related to digital industries. The more technology-related your business or profession is, the more appropriate the .net will be. Networking companies should also use the .net domain.
In the end, you can use either domain extension for your website. Depending on your industry and target audience, A .net may require more marketing efforts and clear branding. But a .com can be more expensive and more difficult to acquire.
The best way to decide is to see what domains are available and consider what kind of visitors you want to draw to your site.