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The fourth quarter of 2022 saw over 350 million domain registrations across all top-level domain extensions, according to Verisign. This number continues to grow as businesses and individuals seek to establish an online presence.

Choosing the right domain extension is key to reaching potential customers, as it allows them to find and access your website. But with thousands of options to choose from and new ones that keep cropping up, how will you identify the most suitable one for your business?

In this guide, we’ll answer questions such as:

  • What are the best domain extensions?
  • How to choose the best top-level domain?
  • What are the newer options in the market?

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a domain extension?

In simple terms, a domain extension is the part of the URL address that comes after the domain name — the section that follows the last dot. Examples include .com and .co. These URL endings are also referred to as top-level domains (TLDs).

Currently, over a thousand domain name extensions exist. That’s a lot! So when choosing a domain name, you’ll have to consider the best domain extensions as well.

When combined with a domain name (i.e., second-level domain or SLD), the website address is complete —, for example.

Besides the domain name and extension, there are subdomains. Subdomains are used to direct users to a specific page on a website. For example, Check out this handy resource to learn more about what a subdomain is and how they affect SEO.

Beyond that, domain extensions are divided into various categories that specify the type of website. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Types of domain extensions

The different domain extensions include generic extensions and country code extensions.

There are several types of domain extensions to consider in your search for the best TLD. Here are the most common types:

  • Generic domain extensions (gTLDs): Generic top-level domains are what most people associate online businesses with. Basically, this type of extension can be used by anyone regardless of their location or country. Older extensions like .com and .org are considered generic.
  • Sponsored domain extensions (sTLDs): An sTLD is sponsored by a specific organization or company. For example, the .gov extension is restricted to U.S. government entities and agencies, and the .mil extension is reserved for U.S. military websites.
  • Country code domain extensions (ccTLDs): Country code top-level domains apply to individual countries, like the .uk extension for the United Kingdom. They are always made up of two letters. ccTLDs have strict rules about who can use them, but some are open to the public (e.g., .co for Colombia).

The importance of choosing the right domain extension

According to a 2022 study by GrowthBadger, .com is the most trusted extension on the web. Going by this, people view older or traditional domain extensions like .com and .co as trustworthy.

So if a user is faced with a .com extension and a less popular extension like .icu, they might be more likely to click the .com website.

However, if you’re concerned about whether choosing a newer TLD over .com can impact your ability to rank on Google, you should know that isn’t the case. John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, backs that up, stating: “The newer top-level domains are equivalent to other generic top-level domains like .com when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).”

Besides, while .com remains a popular extension, it may not always be the best TLD to effectively communicate your business’s offerings and brand to your target audience.
Certain extensions are also seen as spam or scam sites, so it’s best to steer clear of those to build a solid reputation. In fact, according to Spamhaus, some of the top-level domains with bad spam reputations include .rest, .hair, .wiki and .live.

What are the most popular domain extensions?

A .net extension has been around for over 30 years and is considered one of the best domain extensions in the market.

The most popular domain extensions are traditional top-level domains like .org, .com and .net. Many of these extensions have been around for ages. For example, the .com extension has been in existence since 1985. That’s a whopping 37 years!

By the time ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) began operations in 1998, each popular extension on our list except .io was already available.

So it comes as no surprise that they’re highly sought after compared to the newer versions in the market (more on this later).

Let’s compare the most popular domain extensions starting with the .com. extension.


The .com TLD is by far the most popular domain extension to date. According to Statista, the .com extension has a market share of 46%, which makes it one of the best domain extensions for any business. These extensions were originally intended for eCommerce websites.

As mentioned, this type of extension is associated with trust. Besides the trust factor, .com extensions are easier to remember, meaning consumers can find their way back to your website if needed.

In light of all this, you’ll gain an advantage if you select a .com domain extension. However, in some instances, popularity breeds scarcity — which is usually the case with .com extensions.

Should you find that you’re unable to register your desired domain name or register it at an affordable rate, there are other options to consider.


Although people generally select .com, .net extensions are a viable alternative. They’re almost as popular as .com TLDs and are typically associated with network services. If your business operates in this space, it makes the most sense to choose a .net.

For example, using a .net extension for an online clothing store will likely confuse your target audience and simply isn’t the best TLD for this type of business.

Companies that represent network-based technology include internet service providers (ISPs) and email service providers. The registrar for .net is Verisign.

Due to its popularity, businesses that cannot secure a .com often default to a .net top-level domain.


.Org is short for “organization.” It was initially meant for not-for-profit entities, but that is no longer the case — it’s now available to anybody.

As much as the .org extension is open to anyone, it’s generally considered non-commercial. So should you use this extension, you risk sending the wrong impression or alienating users. Still, .org is a suitable alternative to .com since it’s easier to secure and is attention-grabbing. Not to mention, it’s the second most popular extension.

Some popular examples include Craigslist and Acumen.


If the first thing that crosses your mind when thinking of .co domain extensions is Colombia, you’re not alone. After all, it’s the country code extension for Colombia. But more importantly, it stands for “company.” Like a .net or .org, getting a .co ending is more straightforward than with a .com.

However, this extension is somewhat similar to a .com, which can be a slight downside when selecting it among the best TLDs or URL endings for your business.

Picture this: if someone is searching for your website, they might land on a competitor’s website (if the competitor is using a confusingly similar name) instead of yours since most people assume websites end in .com.

On the whole, a .co is a better alternative than a .net if the .com extension is unavailable.

Another downside to a .co is that it’s costlier than a .com TLD. A good example of a .co website is — it’s a niche site created specifically for artists.


Even though .io extensions are typically associated with technology businesses or tech startups, registration is open to all. It stands for input/output and this is one of the reasons it appeals to those in the tech space.

One advantage to using this extension is that it’s short and generally can’t be confused with another extension. Interestingly, .io means “I” in Italian, so using this extension can surely help you stand out from the crowd.

However, you might find that it costs more than other extensions because tech brands use it.

New domain extensions to consider

The above-mentioned domain extensions are certainly worth considering for your company. But did you know that newer domain extension options are constantly flooding the market?

To ensure you don’t miss out on what could potentially be a good find, we’ve compiled a list of the newer and somewhat popular domain extensions.

Many of these are creative and unique domain extensions that could easily add originality to your domain name:

  • .site: From artists to web developers, virtually anybody can use this extension. It has a nice ring, is memorable and effortlessly ties into the online landscape.
  • .xyz: Interestingly, .xyz extensions are the most popular among new generic TLDs, with a market share of 16.71%. Going by this, if your first choice of extension is unavailable, consider registering a .xyz extension.
  • .me: This generic TLD works well for a personal website or portfolio. It was originally meant to operate as a country code TLD for Montenegro, but this changed due to its worldwide appeal.
  • .online: Using an extension like .online to cap off your domain name can make it memorable since the word online represents companies with a web presence (i.e., it can be an excellent TLD to start a successful online business).
  • .shop: Using .shop is one of the best ways to kickstart an eCommerce business. It denotes online shopping and is easy to type, making it one of the most memorable and useful domain extensions.
  • .icu (“I see you”): This is quite a unique domain ending. It can work well for brands, individuals and entities. In addition, you can play around with it and wind up with an extension that resonates with potential customers.
  • .info: Short for information. If you’re looking to build a free or paid online community, why not consider a .info extension?

How to choose the best domain extension

Now that we’ve covered the most popular extensions and what they do, here are four tips to guide you in your search for the best TLD:

Check for availability

When selecting a domain extension, you need to check its availability, especially if your desired domain extension is a .com since it tends to be unavailable.

The good news is Bluehost allows you to check if your first-choice domain name is available and see its pricing. It has over a dozen domain extensions you can register for. On top of this, you’ll get added benefits, including domain privacy and automatic domain renewals.

If your first choice domain is unavailable, buying it from the owner is also possible — a domain registrar could negotiate with them on your behalf. However, you’ll likely pay more than when buying an available domain.

Generally, TLDs with the lowest price points are in demand — most come with $1 price tags, including the older top-level domains. That translates to $12/year when billed annually (which is the case with domain names).

One thing to note: renewals usually cost more than the starting price, so keep this in mind when budgeting for a domain.

When possible, consider choosing .com

As earlier stated .com top-level domains have numerous benefits and represent over half of all websites. So when asking yourself the question, “How do I choose the best domain extension,” choosing a .com extension is one of the top factors to consider.

In addition, it’s one of the best domain extensions to default to if you had your eye on another extension but couldn’t get it. On the flip side, if you have to make your business name a little longer (shorter domains are easier to recall) or change it altogether, it might not be worth it to register a URL ending in .com.

However, from a branding perspective, it’s hard to go wrong with a .com extension. This brings us to our next point.

Ensure it aligns with your branding

More than anything else, your website is a reflection of what your business represents. As such, your choice of an extension will directly impact your branding or reputation.

Branding is part and parcel of marketing. For example, 54% of respondents in a 2022 survey admit that brand building is as important as demand generation in achieving marketing objectives.

Which begs the question: how do you want consumers to perceive your business? It all starts with a domain name and the extension that accompanies it.

Therefore, you’ll need to ensure your domain and extension aligns with your branding from the word go.

In addition, users shouldn’t have to wonder what your website is about or be confused about it. Again, the extension you select contributes to the success of your business — it can help you distinguish yourself from the competition.

Be mindful of your location

Last but not least, be mindful of your location when selecting one of the best domain extensions.

For example, if your business is in the same area as your target market, you can use a country code extension. Or, if your marketing is targeted at local audiences, it would make sense to choose an extension that’s popular in your given location. This way, setting your business up for success will be easier.

Final thoughts: best domain extensions — which one is right for you?

To establish a thriving online presence, it’s better to choose widely recognized domain extensions such as .com and .net when available. However, choosing a newer TLD can be a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd, and country-code extensions like .us can be beneficial if you want to target a specific region.

After choosing your domain name, all that’s left is ensuring that your audience can always access your website, which requires reliable hosting.

Bluehost has several web hosting options from which you can take your pick. Moreover, you’ll get a free domain, SSL, and support you can rely on.

FAQs about the best domain extensions

Here’s a list of some of the internet’s most common questions regarding the best domain extensions:

Is .net or .org better?

A .net extension isn’t better than a .org top-level domain. What differs is their use cases. A .net is typically used by companies associated with network-based technology, while nonprofit organizations usually use a .org.

What are the five most common domain extensions?

As of December 2022, the five most popular top-level domains are .com, .cn, .de, .net and .uk.

What is the best domain extension for personal use?

One of the best domain extensions for personal use is a .me top-level domain. Other options include a .biz and a .com extension. These extensions instantly denote professionalism to potential clients.

Is .co a good domain?

A .co extension is a good domain extension since it’s short and snappy, making it a perfect domain for social media. Not to mention, the likelihood of securing this extension is higher than with a .com.

  • Tiffani Anderson

    Tiffani is a Content and SEO Manager for the Bluehost brand. With over 10 years experience across all facets of content and brand marketing, she strives to combine concepts from brand marketing with engaging content through the lens of SEO.

    University of North Texas
    Previous Experience
    Content Marketing, SEO, Social Media
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