.net vs .com

A top-level domain or a TLD is known to be at the highest level of the hierarchy of website domains. Its purpose has been to classify any website into certain categories. These categories may be the website's owner (ie: an institution), the geographical location from where the website is run, or even simply the website’s purpose. Basically, top-level domains exist so that we can distinguish between different kinds of internet sites just by looking at their URLs.

The most known combination of top-level domains that are often discussed together is .net vs .com. .net or .com always go together because they are the most common forms of top-level domains found in the URLs of many different websites. In the earlier days of the internet, there was lesser variety in top-level domains, and hence, .com or .net were the only two options people could choose from for several years.

Now, with the emergence of several other top-level domains, com vs net remains to lead the way for top-level domains. Without being familiar with .net vs .com, you cannot learn further regarding top-level domains. .net or .com are generic top-level domains that work for any country and do not discriminate about the geographical origin of any website. That is also why they are better known than other top-level domains, even though.net vs .com might not lead the ultimate hierarchy of top-level domains in terms of signifying websites.

If you continue reading this article further, you will learn how to differentiate between websites that have the .net domain compared to the .com domain. This guide will help you learn more about many different websites and the source of the .net vs .com debate.

What is the Difference Between the .net and .com Domain Extensions?

The main reason behind the simplest differentiation between .net vs .com domains is that the .net domain is used for websites that provide network services, and the .com domain is used for commercial websites. This is very easy to remember as the .net extension is an abbreviation of the word ‘network', and the .com domain is an abbreviation of ‘commercial’.

Further explanation leads to the understanding that commercial websites are owned by businesses - websites that wish to make money by selling certain products. Commercial websites also may include blog websites and other personal websites of any kind.

On the other hand, network sites help people perform networking activities over the internet. Examples of networking activities conducted over the internet include organizations like email service providers.

If you are still confused about the differences between .net vs .com websites, it will become clearer once you read ahead. We will explain when a .net domain should be used for a website and when a .com domain should be used. This shall settle the .net vs .com debate in your minds once and for all.

When Should You Use .net?

The most common time when the .net extension is used by websites is when they provide networking services over the internet.

Networking services are any service that lets you contact thousands of other people over the internet very quickly and within seconds. Email service providers are the most classic example of a network service, which we mentioned earlier.

landing page of an email service providing company

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website.

However, there are other examples, like database hosting, software building, or even any kind of website based in the technology sector. Sometimes, businesses cleverly use the .net extension where it is not a traditional move, and it confuses and surprises everyone and gets their website traffic. An example of such a case is Behance.net. This online design community provides networking services, but it is not the website's main point. Hence, it is a tricky line to cross to use .net at the end of their website name as the domain, but they walk it well, and it works for them as well.

Some other websites that use the .net domain are listed below:

  • Printnw.net
  • Blackfeltpoker.net
  • Slideshare.net
  • Battle.net
  • Php.net
  • Speedtest.net
  • Americanapparel.net

When Should You Use .com?

Now, coming to talk about the .com domain, it may seem less fancy than the .net domain when it comes to looking at it from a .net vs .com perspective. And, it is true that when you look at .net vs .com, .com does come off as much more generic than .net. But .net vs .com continues to compete because .com has a far broader and more diverse range of websites under its umbrella.

.com has been popular since the early 1990s before the internet was even popular. It is a domain extension with a synonymous reputation with the internet. Yes, as we mentioned before, it is used for commercial websites - where one is trying to sell something. However, it can practically be used for any website without even thinking about the purpose. It’s the one size fits all domain of all domains.

A personal website using a personal domain

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

Even though it is so generic, it still wins the .net vs .com debate by a lot and very easily. Nowadays, websites with this domain are considered ‘less professional’, but at the same time, no one can call out any website for having this domain because it is legit nevertheless. It is considered less professional because it is actually less creative than using some other top-level domain like .net.

Some diverse examples of websites that use the .com domain and are also widely popular today are listed below:

  • Facebook.com
  • Youtube.com
  • Netflix.com
  • Google.com
  • Apple.com
  • Microssoft.com
  • Linkedin.com

Some More Interesting Facts

An important fact to note here in the argument of .net vs .com is that Google loves this domain extension: .com. This is the oldest and the most widely used domain extension. .com by far makes the most valuable domain suffix. In other words, you might say that Google is a bit biased toward this TLD (top-level domain).

Businesses and entrepreneurs may wonder why .com is still given so much importance by Google and other search engines, even though many other options are well-known. The answer to this is within the interaction of internet users with search engines. The cognitive fluency factor of user behavior on the internet favors a top-level domain that users are the most familiar with.

A website with the URL ‘mybusiness.com’ will be likely remembered by users easier than a website with ‘mybusiness.net’, or ‘mybusiness.me’.

Similarly, when we compare .net vs .com, we observe that even Google would assign more authority to the .com domain extension website.

venture capital firm's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

By default, when someone hears a brand name, they search for it in search engines by adding .com. If they cannot find the website on that domain extension, they only search further to find out the exact website URL for the brand.

In further exploring .net vs .com, despite sharing its birthday with extensions like .net and .org, .com is the most memorable. Thus, it is the “go-to” extension often used by many individuals and businesses. That’s why we can say that .com is the best top-level domain extension for search engine optimization.

However, before choosing your complete website address, you need to remember that the higher the demand for something, the more limited its supply becomes. That’s why often, businesses find out that their brand name is not available to create a domain name with the .com domain extension. They start looking into debates about .net vs .com, trying to find an equally good alternative to the initial one they had in mind. The best .com domains have very high competition these days. Many are either available at a premium price or are already taken. Thus finding your perfect .com domain can potentially be too hard.

catering company's website

Image taken from Strikingly user’s website

This leaves no choice for many businesses but to look into and consider the less popular domain extensions for their website. Although this makes sense for their branding purposes, it might hurt their website’s visibility and discoverability.

Choosing a Domain Name for Your Strikingly Website

Strikingly sign up page

Image taken from Strikingly

If you create a website here on Strikingly, you can use our branding as part of our free plan. You will automatically get the .com domain extension in your site’s web address. The only thing is you will have to bear with the second part of your domain name, which will include our branding.

So, for instance, your brand name is ‘My Brand’, your website’s URL will be ‘mybrand.mystrikingly.com’. Although this might not sound too impressive for your brand image, having this URL will help keep your search rankings high.