What Is the Difference Between .com, .co, .net, .org, and .us Domain Names?

The .com domain type is the most popular one, which is used by nearly half of all registered domain names. However, .com is not the only option out there, with several other domain types having huge popularity and following within specific locations and industries. Learn more about the .co, .net, .org, and .us domain extensions.

Every domain name has its type, which is determined by its extension. It helps us (and servers) get an idea of what the website is all about. 

Today, the lines between domain types and their purposes have become blurry and can be misleading. In this article, we’ll explain the difference between .com and other popular domains.

Most Popular Domain Types

As of 2023, there are just under 1,600 domain extensions to choose from. Some of them are generic (like .com), and some are so-called country-code TLDs (ccTLDs), which represent a specific country. In recent times, many ccTLDs have found a global use, such as Anguilla’s .ai domain becoming synonymous with the AI industry.

MORE: What does .io mean?

Among those thousands of domain types, it’s obvious that a few of them will stand out. The most popular domain types are:

  • .com,
  • .co,
  • .net,
  • .org,
  • .us.

MORE: What does .io mean?

Generate Domain Name Ideas Below

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What Does .com Mean in a Web Address?

The .com domain stands for commercial. Initially, it used to represent only companies and eCommerce websites.

While it still does that, a .com domain name now has a universal purpose, with most website owners preferring .com over other domain types. It’s the most popular top-level domain (TLD) in use today. In December 2023, about 46% of all domain names had a .com extension.

What Does .co Mean?

Introduced in 1991, a .co domain is a ccTLD for the country of Colombia. But, it has become a generic TLD due to companies throughout the world registering a .co domain, taking “co” as an abbreviation for company.

Since 2010, there have been no restrictions as to who can register a .co domain.

What Does .net Mean?

The .net domain type is one of the original TLDs, having been introduced in 1985. It stands for network and indicates organizations and companies that work with networking technologies, such as internet providers.

What Does .org Mean?

Short for organization, .org domains are reserved for non-profit organizations. It’s also one of the earliest TLDs, established in 1985. There are no restrictions as to who can register a .org domain, and the composition of domains (and their contents) is diverse.

What Does .us Mean? 

Also established in 1985, the .us domain is the oldest ccTLD in the world and is reserved for the United States. While there are no restrictions in terms of the type of content (i.e., whether you’re an individual or a certain type of business), .us registrants need to be U.S. citizens or residents.

.com vs .co

What Is the Difference Between .com and .co?

While originally .co represented Colombia-based domains, nowadays, there’s little difference between .co and .com. One of them is that, aside from businesses, individuals and other types of organizations use .com, while .co (taken for company) is often taken by businesses alone.

If you have a recognizable brand, but the .com domain with that name is occupied, you can go for .co.

Pros of Using .co Instead of .comCons of Using .co Instead of .com
Domain name availabilityLacks familiarity
Branding strategy opportunitiesLimited credibility
Cleaner and more conciseTyping errors (many will assume it’s .com)

.com vs .net

What Is the Difference Between .com and .net?

Although .net also has a commercial purpose, it represents a specific type of business. If you want your customers to know you offer networking, online, or telecommunication services, choosing a .net domain might be your best play.

While the .net domain is less common than .com, it’s still prevalent and trustworthy.

Pros of Using .net Instead of .comCons of Using .net Instead of .com
Industry associationLimited association beyond the industry
Domain name availabilityPerceived as a secondary choice (.com option might belong to a better company)
Credibility for products/services offeredPotential outdated perception

MORE: Can you change a domain name?

.com vs .org

What Is the Difference Between .com and .org?

While .org generally represents non-profit organizations, it’s an open TLD, meaning that you don’t have to be a non-profit to obtain a domain with this extension. However, .org domains come with a certain expectation. If you’re a for-profit organization or a company, users might see your use of .org as dishonest.

Pros of Using .org Instead of .comCons of Using .org Instead of .com
TrustworthinessCommercial limitations
Domain name availabilityAssumed non-profit nature may damage your reputation
Industry alignment

MORE: How to secure a domain name

.com vs .us

What Is the Difference Between .com and .us?

Using a .us domain is great for local businesses, but if you want to achieve a global reach, you’ll do better with a .com domain.

The reason for the popularity of a restricted TLD is the sheer number of people from the U.S. registering a domain name.

Pros of Using .us Instead of .comCons of Using .us Instead of .com
Geographical associationLimited international usage
Great for local businessesUnable to register outside the U.S.
Domain name availabilityLower recognition

MORE: Domain name trends

Key Takeaway

The .com has been the king of domain types for quite some time, and it will remain at the helm for the foreseeable future. Still, it’s not the only popular domain extension in the world; many other domains are prominent, especially within specific locations and industries.

As a company, you might be better off choosing .net, .org, .co, or .us for your domain name instead of .com, should that fit your goals and target audience.

If you’re having trouble choosing a domain name, our domain name generator provides thousands of AI-powered suggestions based on the keywords you type in, as well as industry filters and our users’ feedback. When you find a name idea you like, our generator will automatically check domain availability across all major TLDs.

MORE: Is my domain name available?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

While .com domains are more popular than .com, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re better for your business. Users associate .net domains with networking and technology companies. If you operate in that industry, you may benefit from that association.

Since both domain types are open to anyone, it doesn’t matter for SEO or any other technical aspect of running a website. They do matter in user perception. .com (commercial) domains have a more global use, while .net (network) ones are best for network services.

Both domain types are trustworthy and reliable. Still, the biggest and most reputable organizations use .com for brandability purposes. This puts the .com domain slightly ahead of .org, but a non-profit should still opt for a .org domain.

The .org domain is an open TLD, meaning that anyone can register it, regardless of their industry or website purpose. However, .org is usually used by non-profit organizations, and if you’re not one of them, users may see your use of .org as fraudulent.

It’s not owned by the United States, and you can register a .com domain from anywhere in the world. However, the domain is regulated by Verisign, which is subject to U.S. law.

If your business is in the United States, you have the ability to register a .us domain. If it’s important for you to show you’re U.S.-based and want to offer products and services to local customers, using a .us domain may be the right choice for you.

Nowadays, the .co domain is considered a generic TLD, and you’ll have no geographical penalties (such as showing up in Colombia more than in other countries). Many companies from all over the globe use .co to use their brand in the domain name. It’s a great way to increase your brand exposure globally if a .com domain is not available.