What Are Domain Extensions and How to Choose One?

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Domain names often get more attention than extensions, but they are both as important as one another. With only a handful of characters, domain endings can tell you a great deal about a website. This includes everything from the location of the company to its purpose. 

You come across them every day, from .com and .org to .io domain and biz domains. But you may wonder exactly what purpose they serve and why there are so many options out there. If you’ve asked yourself these questions, then read on to discover the answers. 

A Brief Definition

So, what is a domain extension? Simply put, it is a suffix that follows a website name in a URL address — for example, .com, .co, or .us. Some options are more popular than others, but there are loads of domain endings out there. In fact, at the time of writing, more than 1,500 are listed on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority web page.

Different URL endings tell you various pieces of information about a website. For that reason, it’s important that you carefully weigh your options when choosing unique domain extensions of your own.

Why Are Domain Extensions Necessary?

You might wonder why it’s necessary to have so many different URL endings. The truth is, they serve a number of functions and are an essential part of building a webpage.


One of the functions web address endings serve is branding. In today’s increasingly fast-paced online world, branding has become an absolutely essential part of marketing. A unique URL suffix can help convey what your site is about.

For example, if you own a website for a graphic design service, your website address might end in .design. Meanwhile, a real estate agent’s URL address might end in .realtor or something similar.


Web address endings can also reveal the location where your business is based. This is especially useful if your target demographic is based in the same area. If people are looking for a particular service in their area, they’re more likely to look for regional endings.

A few examples of this include .us for sites based in the United States, .de for those based in Germany, or .co.uk for those in the United Kingdom. Some cities even have their own URL extensions, like “.nyc” and .london.


Some endings are limited to particular registrants. These will have a list of specific requirements that must be met before a website can use that particular suffix for its web address.

Two well-known examples of this are the .edu and .gov endings, used for educational purposes and government agencies, respectively.

Do domain extensions affect SEO?

Generally speaking an .io or .ai domain extension can rank just as well as a .com. It’s all about what’s actually on the site to rise or fall in the rankings.

What Do the Different URL Endings Stand For?

As you can see, while only a handful of extensions are widely known, there are many to choose from. But you might have questions about what some of them mean. 

This section will take a look at some different domain endings. It will explain what they stand for and what sorts of web pages they’re used for, as well.

  • .com: Short for commercial, this suffix was traditionally used for eCommerce. As time has gone on, however, it has become more widespread and is now the most common domain extension out there.
  • .org: Short for organization, this particular ending is strongly associated with non-profit organizations. For that reason, it’s best to avoid it if you’re building a blog or online shop.
  • .us: This is used for web pages that are based in the United States.
  • .biz: This is meant for commercial sites or businesses and is most popular with web addresses for eCommerce pages.
  • .info: This suffix is short for information, but there are no legal requirements for websites registered with it to be informational in nature. That being said, they are usually to avoid confusion.
  • .net: Short for network, this ending is used by network-based services — for example, companies that provide email or internet access.
  • .ai: Short for artificial intelligence, this domain extension is usually used by artificial intelligence companies.
  • .io:  Short for input/output and popular in tech but other newer companies also use this.

Obviously, this is not to be understood as an exhaustive list. But hopefully, the above examples have given you an idea of the wide variety of businesses and professions that use particular URL endings. If you are building a web page of your own, then perhaps the above list has helped you generate some ideas for your branding.


When people think of domain extensions, it’s usually only a handful of examples that come to mind: .com, .org, or .net. But the truth is, there are hundreds and hundreds of other options out there, all serving a particular purpose.

This article has provided examples of some alternative extensions. It has also explained why they might be attractive to web developers.

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