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Understanding Domain Extensions: A Complete Guide

When you’re browsing the web, you probably don’t give much thought to domain extensions. But chances are, you subconsciously expect most websites to end with “.com”. That’s because many of the major websites do.

However, there are actually hundreds of domain extensions available for your website. Despite this, most people aim for “.com” due to its strong public perception.

Today, we’ll explore why that is and what domain extensions can do for your site.

What Are Domain Extensions?

A domain extension is the part of the domain name that comes after the period. For instance, in CubitHost.com, the extension is “.com”.

When the internet first started, there were only six domain extensions:

  • .COM (commercial)
  • .ORG (organization)
  • .NET (network)
  • .EDU (education)
  • .GOV (government)
  • .MIL (military)

But as the internet grew and more websites emerged, the need for unique domain names skyrocketed. Today, there are over 1,600 domain extensions to choose from.

How Does It Work?

A domain name is composed of three main parts: a Subdomain, a Second-Level Domain, and a Top-Level Domain (TLD). Let’s break these down:

  • Subdomain: This is a part of a larger domain and helps create memorable web addresses for specific content. For example, gallery.example.com uses “gallery” as a subdomain.
  • Second-Level Domain (SLD): This is the part of the domain name to the left of the extension (TLD). For example, in example.com, “example” is the SLD.
  • Top-Level Domain (TLD): Also known as the domain extension, this is the part to the right of the SLD, like .com or .org.

There are different types of TLDs:

  • Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD): These are standard extensions like .xyz and .online.
  • Country-Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD): These are region-specific, such as .ca (Canada) or .jp (Japan).
  • Sponsored Top-Level Domain (sTLD): These are restricted for specific groups, like .gov for the US government or .edu for educational institutions.

Top 5 Most Common Domain Extensions

Despite the variety available, most websites use a few common extensions:

  1. .com: The most popular and widely recognized, initially meant for commercial entities but now used by anyone.
  2. .net: Originally for internet service providers, but now open to any site and popular with tech companies.
  3. .org: Traditionally for non-profits, but also used by community-driven sites like Wikipedia.
  4. .co: Initially for Colombia, it’s now popular globally because it’s similar to .com.
  5. .us: A ccTLD for the United States, used by US citizens and entities.

How Much Do Domain Extensions Cost?

The cost of a domain name depends on the extension. The “.com” extension, being the most popular, is usually the most expensive. On average, a “.com” domain costs about 20% more than other extensions like “.net”.

You can sign up for a web hosting plan with CubitHost.

Choosing the Right Domain Extension

In most cases, you’ll want a “.com” extension. It’s the most recognized and trusted by users. While other extensions like .net or .org are fine, they don’t carry the same weight as .com.

Frequently Asked Questions About Domain Extensions

  • When should I buy a domain name? As soon as you have a name in mind, buy it immediately to secure it.
  • Is it worth choosing a less popular extension to save money? Generally, no. The cost difference is minor, and having a recognizable extension like .com is more valuable.
  • Should I buy multiple domain extensions? Only if you’re aiming to become a major corporation. For most sites, it’s unnecessary.
  • Can I create my own domain extension? Yes, but it’s expensive and time-consuming.
  • Will domain prices keep rising? Likely, as demand grows.
  • Will a generic extension hurt my brand? It might. Unusual extensions can seem untrustworthy.
  • Can I change my domain extension? No, you’d need to buy a new domain and redirect the old one, which can hurt your SEO.

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