When the time comes to buy a domain name for your new website or online project, you’re going to have a lot of different things to take into account.
Not only do you have to find the perfect domain name for your website or business, but you have to find the right domain name extension, too. This can be difficult, especially when you’re not sure what a domain name extension actually is? Luckily for you, domain name extensions are an easy concept to understand. The most challenging part about domain name extensions is choosing the right one that’ll represent your website in the best light possible.
What Is a Domain Extension?
Domain name extensions are the last part of a domain name. For example, in ‘virtusa.com,’ the domain name extension is .com. You’ll also see domain name extensions referred to as top-level domains (TLDs). These terms will be used interchangeably throughout the post.
Your domain name and domain name extension give you a working domain name that your target audience can type into their browsers to access your website.
There are a few different types of domain name extensions available:
1. Generic Domain Extensions
These are the most common form of domain extension. For a while, you could only choose between .com, .org, and .net. But, in recent years the number of generic top-level domains has exploded. Now you’ll find a lot of unique top-level domain names to choose from like .beer, .blog, and more.
2. Sponsored Domain Extensions
This style of domain extension is restricted to certain types of organizations and groups. To register this style of TLD you’ll need to satisfy certain requirements and there are restrictions on who can register these domains. Common examples of this are the .aero, .gov, and .edu domain extensions.
3. Generic-Restricted Domain Extensions
This type of domain extension is similar to a generic top-level domain, but they are intended for more specific types of websites. When you register this domain extension you’ll typically need to provide a bit more information about your website and it’s intended purpose. Some examples of this TLD include .name and .pro.
4. Country Code Domain Extensions
Lastly we have country-code domain extensions. Each country has its own TLD that helps to identify that site as being from a specific country. Common extensions include .co, .uk, and .us. However, these extensions are more flexible and can be used for more than just identifying locations. For example, the domain extension .co is the TLD for Colombia, but it’s also used by businesses and startups the world over.
Different Types of Domain Name Extensions Available
Today there are thousands of different domain name extensions for you to choose from. Luckily, not all of these will apply to your website, so there’s no need to get overwhelmed in your search for the perfect TLD.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common domain name extensions available today that you can use for your new website:
- .com – This is by far the most popular and commonly used TLD. It was initially created for commercial organizations, but there are no restrictions on who can utilize this extension.
- .net – This extension is shorthand for the word network and was initially created for companies dealing with networking technologies and internet infrastructure. Today there are no restrictions on who can utilize this domain extension and it’s typically the number one choice after .com.
- .org – This extension was first created to be used by non-profits. However, this is no longer enforced and is a common TLD for education-based websites, schools, and more.
- .co – This is a relatively new extension, but you’ll come across this one a ton in the start-up space. It’s become known as the domain name extension that represents a company.