How to Decide Which Domain Extension is Right For You

Your domain is the foundation of your website. It is one of the first and most important decisions you’ll make. It’s also something you’re going to carry with you for a long time. How do you give it the proper time and attention? What should you consider?

Even more confusing are the various top-level domains and extensions that you may or may not want for your site. Most people are familiar with the .com extension. Today, we’re going to look at how these extensions came to be, followed by a look at the most popular options (and when to use them). Finally, we’ll take a look at five golden rules for choosing your full domain name.

A Brief History of Domains & Extensions

Computers first started connecting to each other over Wide Area Networks (WANS). One such example was the ARPANET in the 1960s. During this time, people were looking for a way to identify the systems and easily access them.

In 1972, the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency created something called the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which would eventually become the Internet Protocol or IP addressing system.

The Internet continued to grow into the 70s with the rise of email. No longer could long and confusing number sequences work. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin developed the first “name server” in 1984. A year later, the Domain Name System was implemented, and the original top-level domains were introduced.

These included .com, .net, and .org. Jump forward to today, and there are over 19 million registered domain names. This number continues to grow by the day. This also means that the most popular option, .com, is becoming crowded.

How to Choose The Right Domain Extension

Now that the time has arrived, you need to choose which TLD is right for your domain. While there cannot be any identical domains, there can be two versions of the same domain with different extensions. For example, is taken, but could also be purchased.

This is why some companies will opt to purchase all the available extensions of their domain, in order to prevent someone else from using their name with a different extension. While purchasing other extensions doesn’t necessarily gain you more traffic, according to Moz, you can purchase some of the related extensions and redirect them to your site for brand protection purposes.