Domain: .com vs. .net vs. .org

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Difference between .com, .net and .org

Many people simply browse the web without being the least bit aware of the domain names of the sites that they go to. The top-level domains or TDLs  “.com”, “.net” or “.org” at the end of the URL are often simply ignored as arcane bits of Internet nomenclature that has no significance on real world usage. While you could definitely browse the Internet quite happily without knowing what those cryptic suffixes stand for, we thought you would enjoy a glimpse into what each one is all about, and here we provide it to you.


What They Are

There aren't actually any major differences between “.com’s”, “.net’s” and “.org’s”, in terms of structure and function. All three are part of the initial four TDL’s first introduced along with “.gov”. Given the increasing usage of the Internet, more TDL’s were added over the years. Website owners are generally allowed to register as all three, although most people prefer “.com”.


“.com” was originally intended for business or commercial use, while ".net" was intended for organizations that were involved with network related concerns. ".org" on the other hand was intended primarily for nonprofit organizations. 

In the early days, most everyone stayed within these guidelines closely and there was an extensive manual process involved in handling TDL requests. This was all fairly manageable at first given the low user volume, but then registrars began to be deluged with requests for ".com" registrations. An outpouring of requests for ".net" and ".org" soon followed.

Usage Issues

The manual process involved in handling TDL requests resulted in slowing down of service obviously, but a number of other issues cropped up as well. There were numerous incidents of discrepancies, with many company’s that misrepresented their business being granted their chosen TDL, while qualified registrants were often denied theirs. Adding considerably to the confusion was the fact that the “nonprofit organization” was becoming increasingly difficult to identify. It also didn't help matters any that the time consuming validation process required for each and every organization wasn't accurate enough to justify the cost. For better or for worse, this has resulted in virtually any registrant being given the TDL of his choosing, whether .com, .net or .org, with some registrants even registering for all three TDL’s.


  • All three are unrestricted open domains.
  • .com is used for commercial and personal purposes
  • .net is intended primarily for companies that are involved in Internet infrastructure
  • .org is mostly used by non-profit organizations
  • Domain names can only be comprised of only letters, numbers, or hyphens, and it cannot begin or end with a hyphen
  • Maximum of 63 characters in the URL, not counting the suffix
  • Some browsers and email applications may have issues with domain names longer than 26 characters


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