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Recently one of our readers asked our thoughts on the new domain extensions. As you already know that apart from the popular dot-com extension, there are many new domain name extensions that you can choose from. In this article, we will answer the question: should you choose new domain extensions for your website with pros and cons?
What are Domain Extensions?
Domain extensions or TLDs are the last part of a domain name. These are the letters that appear after the dot and to the right side of the domain name. For example, WHOOPS.ONLINE has a .com domain extension (i.e. wpbeginner.com) and Wikipedia has a .org domain extension (wikipedia.org).
To learn more about domain name system, see our beginner’s guide on what is a domain name and how do domains work.
The first domain extensions were .com, .net, and .org. They are still the most popular domain extensions.
As time passed, new domain extensions were introduced. These included country specific domain extensions like .co.uk or .com.de, and generic extensions like .travel, .app, .mobi, .photography, and more.
Today, there are hundreds of domain extensions available that can be used for starting a website.
You can register a domain name from one of these top domain registrars. Some registrars offer more variety of domain extensions than others. The cost for each domain extension will vary, and some of the new ones are quite expensive when compared to the popular .com, .net, and .org extensions.
Once you have purchased a domain name, you’ll still need web hosting to build a website. For more details see our beginner’s guide on the difference between domain name and web hosting.
Should You Choose a New Domain Extension for Your Website?
Choosing a domain name with the right domain extension is crucial for the success of your website. The extension part of your domain affects your branding.
The new domain extensions are not as popular because most people are not familiar with them. In fact, some users may not even recognize them as a proper domain name.
The .com domain extension has become synonymous with the internet. Nearly 46% of all registered domain names are .com domains. Even most smartphones have a default .com key for quick typing.
This is why we recommend using only the .com domain extension.
The .com domains are easy to remember. Most internet users instinctively use .com when entering a website address in their browser. Due to the popularity of .com domain names, they are easier to brand, promote, and help you grow your business.
A .com domain name can be used to create almost any kind of website and business. This flexibility also gives you the freedom to change your website’s scope or your business while keeping the old brand and domain name.
Due to its familiarity, flexibility, and potential, we recommend that you only choose a .com domain extension for your new website.
What to Do If My Preferred .com Extension is Not Available?
Majority of websites on the internet are using a .com extension. This means there are nearly 136 Million .com domain names already registered.
This would make you feel that all the good domain names are already registered. However, there are still plenty of clever ways to find a good .com domain name.
- Your domain name should represent your business and what you do. For example, starplumbingservices.com is better than starservices.com
- You can try adding small words before or after your preferred domain name to make it unique. For example, starplumbingboston.com
- Make sure your domain name can be easily pronounced. Don’t use hyphens or numbers in your domain name.
- Take advantage of online domain name generators. These free tools will help you find domain name ideas that are still available.
If you need more help, then see our beginner’s guide on how to choose the best domain name for some more practical tips.
That being said, let’s review some other popular domain extensions, their intended purpose, and what kind of websites they are suitable for.
Other Domain Extensions That Are Available
There are hundreds of domain name extensions available. We have tried to pick up some generic and popular extensions to give you an idea of how these domain extensions are intended to be used.
When should you use .Net domain extension?
The .net extension is the second most popular domain extension. It was intended to be used by networking businesses, internet service providers, or networks of online communities.
Using it for an unrelated business website is a bad idea for your brand. For example, you can use .net if you sell networking devices on your website but not for a clothing store.
For more details see our comparison of .com vs .net domain extensions.
When should you .Org domain extension?
The .org was initially launched to accompany .com and .net domain extensions. It is suitable for non-profit organizations, charities, religious, or social awareness websites.
Using it for a business or personal website can give your customers a wrong impression. There are organizations that use .org for their non-profit activities and the .com version of the same domain for commercial activities.
When should you .Biz domain extension
The .biz domain extensions are an acronym for business. Similar to .com extension, .biz is intended to be used by any kind of business website.
However, .biz is a lot less familiar to customers which makes it difficult to remember. It may also affect customer’s perception of your business when you are not using a .com extension.
When should you .Info domain extension
The .info extension is an acronym for information and can be used by information portals or similar websites.
Using this extension for a blog or a business website can give users the wrong impression. This would also affect your brand’s reputation, and your website’s goals in the long run.
When should you .Name domain extension
The .name extension is intended to be used by individuals. This new less popular domain extension was created to provide people with another option to register a domain name for personal websites with their own name.
Due to the unfamiliarity of the extension and its scope, you can only use it for a personal website or blog. You should never use it for a small business website.
When should you .TV domain extension
Technically .tv domain extension is a country based TLD for websites based in Tuvalu (a tiny island nation in the Pacific ocean). However, the domain is used by tv-related websites around the world.
You should only use this domain if your website or business is about the tv industry. Using it for other businesses or blogs would look odd.
In fact, even if you have a tv related website, we would still recommend you to go with a .com domain name instead. Many popular tv companies don’t use a .tv domain extension. For example, HBO, CNN, CBS, and dozens more.
There are dozens of more domain extensions like .photography, .club, .xyz, .blog and more. All of them are too specific, less memorable, and limit your website’s potential in one way or another.
What About Country Specific Domain Extensions?
You should only use country specific domain extensions if you only want to target users in that particular country.
The intended purpose of country-specific domain extensions is to be used by individuals and businesses in that region. Many such domains can only be registered if you are located in that country or have a representative there.
Country-specific domain extensions are great for creating multilingual websites or creating region-specific websites.
Some websites use country domain extensions to come up with clever ideas for their domain names. For example, bit.ly uses the domain extension for Libya, or goo.gl, the URL shortener service by Google using the country domain extension for Greenland.
This kind of domain names are called domain hacks. While they look cool, you will need some serious marketing skills to turn them into a recognizable brand and memorable for your users.