TOP-LEVEL DOMAINS: WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Everyone knows the .COM domain extension. But now there are over 1000 different options! For example .CO, .ME, and .CLUB. Each of these domain extensions are known as top level domains (TLDs). And they were each created to address a particular market. So which one should you choose?

What Are Top Level Domains (TLDs)?

To put it simply, a top level domain is the last part of a domain name. It is also referred to as the domain extension. For example, with foxnews.com the .com part would be the top level domain, or domain extension. With wordpress.org the .org would be the top level domain.

When you register a domain name, you must choose which top level domain you want to have.

Which Top Level Domain Should I Choose?

Many today buy their domain name with multiple top level domains to protect their brand. For example, cnn.net and cnn.org all go to cnn.com. Even if you choose to purchase multiple top level domains, you still have to decide which one will be your primary domain that you will promote and run your website on. Here are some of the most common top level domains:

.COM
When first introduced, a .com was supposed to represent a website with commercial intent. However, these days a .com is standard for the majority of websites, despite their nature. If you are not a commercial website, though, you may want to consider choosing a different TLD.

.NET
This stands for network and was one of the original top level domains released back in 1985. These days, .net is often used for personal websites or small companies that cannot acquire the .com version. So if you want to create a blog on 100 ways to cook asparagus or a forum on the many incarnations of Pacman then this may be your TLD.

.ORG
Short for organization, this was also one of the original top level domains. Although anyone can purchase a .org, it should really be used only by non-profit organizations or communities. Examples of this would be redcross.org, wikipedia.org, and wordpress.org.

.CO
Originally introduced in 1991 as a top level domain for the country Columbia, as of 2010 it is now available to anyone. For most users, the only reason you will want to buy a .co is if you are using a .com as your TLD. This is because if someone types yourwebsite.co instead of yourwebsite.com by accident, you don’t want them to end up at another website. Because of this, we strongly recommend that the .co domain extension be purchased and then redirected to your primary domain.

.INFO
The name is derived from the word information. Because of this, this top level domain is best suited for websites that focus on providing information that is not connected to a company or organization. A good example is mta.info for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and provides transit updates. For similar websites, sticking with .net or .org is usually a better idea, though, as more are familiar with those domains than .info.

.ME
This was first introduced as a country specific top level domain for Montenegro but is now open to everyone. In recent years .me as been marketed as a great option for personal websites and blogs, that are about… well me, or you, I mean. However, they typically cost more to register than other TLDs.

As was mentioned, there are now over 1000 top level domains! But most of these are either country specific (such as .CO.UK only for UK residents) or are RARELY used (such as .FIT or .TODAY). The ones listed above, though, should help you in choosing a top level domain that is recognizable and fits your website’s focus. What TLD did you choose for your website? Let us know in the comments.

About Steven Higgins

Steven Higgins is the owner and lead designer of Inception Web Designs. Steven and his wife have spent considerable time doing volunteer and mission work both in USA and recently Uganda. Inception Web Designs has supported them in their efforts.