What is the Difference Between .com, .net and .org?

What is the Difference Between .com, .net and .org?

Estimated reading time: less than 7 minutes


If you decided to launch your website, we salute your decision. You are going to join many who have recognized just how important it is to control your image and strategically establish a worthy online presence in the 21st century. Whether your goal is to present your company to the world and use your website to generate leads, or you plan on boosting your freelance career by building credibility through blogging – you’ll have to choose a proper domain name.

Needless to say, choosing a good domain name is important, particularly because it represents you (or your business) 24/7, and serves as your online home. However, coming up with the perfect name is not easy. It requires a fair dose of brainstorming and at least the basic level of knowledge on top-level domains.

A top-level domain (TLD, also called domain extension) represents the last segment of the wholesome domain name. It is everything located after the dot within the internet address. Some of the first and therefore the best known TLDs are .COM, .NET, and .ORG.

But what is the difference between these three? Where does that put .ME? What choices do you have when it comes to choosing a TLD?

Understanding .COM     

Way back when Domain Name System was established in 1985, .COM was among the first TLDs used, along with .EDU, .MIL, .NET, .ORG, and .ARPA. In fact, .COM was the domain extension of the first ever registered domain name. Before this registration, the Internet was mostly used by professors and researchers who used the network to exchange ideas and conclusions.

When the network started to grow outside of these academic circles, it became challenging to find a way to make electronic communication accessible to the new users and avoid the chaos that at the time seemed inevitable – overloading the whole system of connections.

Way back when Domain Name System was established in 1985, .COM was among the first TLDs used, along with .EDU, .MIL, .NET, .ORG, and .ARPA.

This important task was taken by the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, more specifically – by Jon Postel and his colleagues. The first top-level domains were born in an attempt to create order out of chaos. Interestingly enough, the team who laid the foundations of the modern Internet never meant for it to grow on a global scale. It just sort of happened.

As Jack Haverty, one of the Internet pioneers said:

I don’t recall anybody ever thinking we were creating an organizational structure to encompass hundreds of millions of entities covering the entire planet in support of all human activities. And it certainly wasn’t supposed to last for 30+ years, even as an experiment. It just happened to turn out that way.

.COM was originally created to indicate the commercial intent of the website; Haverty recalls .COM originally derived from “company” rather than “commercial”, but it’s a similar purpose either way.

But a lot has changed since. The World Wide Web has become a new business medium and the original intention of .COM has been lost in the era of hyperconnectivity. Today, .COM has become widely used by businesses and individuals alike, regardless of whether or not there is an intention of generating profit via website.



Understanding .NET

As you probably guessed, .NET has derived from the word network and it was originally intended for organization and businesses who deal with the networking technology (e.g. Internet service providers and infrastructure companies). The first ever registered .NET domain is nordu.net, and it’s still alive and kicking.

This TLD does not come with any restrictions and is now a general purpose namespace. Because it stood the test of time, it is considered to be a trustworthy domain choice and somewhat an alternative to .COM.  

Understanding .ORG

As we already mentioned, .ORG was one of the first TLDs in history. Originally, .ORG has been introduced for non-profit organizations, as an alternative for non-governmental and non-commercial entities. The first registered .ORG was a non-profit organization called MITRE, and the domain is still operative, mitre.org.

According to the Verisign’s domain industry report, as of June 2018, .ORG is being used by 10.3 million websites, making it the 7th most popular TLD choice.

Today, this TLD operates without any purpose restrictions and it is open to anyone. Nonetheless, .ORG has built a reputation as a domain of trust, so internet users still expect to encounter a website that is benevolent, dedicated to serving the public interest in some way.

According to the Verisign’s domain industry report, as of June 2018, .ORG is being used by 10.3 million websites, making it the 7th most popular TLD choice.

Understanding .ME

When thinking about what domain name to register, many people fall into the logical fallacy as they believe .COM is the only worthy choice. They get frustrated if their desired domain name is already taken and instead of taking a different approach and thinking about the alternatives – they sacrifice the name for the sake of securing the oldest domain extension.

We won’t argue with the benefits .COM provides: it has a great reputation, it is most commonly used, and many users will assume a website ends in .COM and they have subconsciously built a habit of typing it in the URL bar.

While you may conclude that being a part of the .COM crowd provides security and adds more credibility and trustworthiness to your website, there is a huge downside that’s so obvious, but so miraculously overseen:

When you blend in with others, you cannot stand out.

Domain .ME is just entering its teenage years, so yes – it is a bit younger than .COM. It started as a country code top-level domain (for Montenegro), but due to its global popularity and recognition – it became a generic top-level domain, available to users from every corner of the world.

But, why did .ME become so well liked and fashionable? There are numerous reasons:

  • .ME has been recognized as the most personal TLD out there and the perfect ally on the journey of building one’s personal brand
  • .ME is great for creating call-to-actions or clever domain hacks that will make your name memorable (just take a look at join.me, call.me, see.me)
  • .ME is used by many companies that understand the necessity of a more personal approach in the customer-oriented era
  • .ME supports your brand as it can be an integral part of you business name; it helps you fully unleash your creative potential
  • .ME is an SEO-friendly top-level domain, with strict spam-free policies and high security standards

Over to You

As you can see, there are no purpose restrictions for .COM, .ORG, and .NET.

The Internet is a place that’s constantly growing and it’s beautifully versatile. Throughout the past, responsible authorities like IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) and ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) have invited applications for new TLDs in order to extend the pool of existing domain choices. Currently, there are over 1500 TLDs out there.

Now, the spotlight is on you. When are you going to show the world who you are? When will you share your great idea with others of explain what your business is about?

When you do decide it’s finally time to stop procrastinating, make it worthwhile and don’t get lost in the sea of sameness. Choose .ME as your personal domain name! Check availability here.


Goran Bogunovic

Now, you're probably wondering how I got here! Running a marketing agency, educating people about branding, and helping you to develop your own presence online. To understand, you’ll need to follow me @Domain.Me

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