One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when you’re building a website is what domain extension you’ll use for it. Today, we’ll take a close look at two popular domain extensions, .co vs .com, to help you make the right choice.
We’ll then help you choose the best domain extension for your website and share some links to websites where you can purchase your domain.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the .co vs .com debate!
So, what is a domain extension? Why does it matter?
Originally, a domain extension, also known as a top-level domain or TLD, was a way to signal to users what your site is about. For example, .com is generally understood to have originated as an abbreviation for “commercial.”
Some TLDs are actively restricted to specific types of websites, especially country code TLDs (ccTLDs) like .ca, which typically require you to live in the country they’re connected to.
That said, most TLDs are unrestricted, meaning that all you need to register one is a little bit of money. Both .co and .com are unrestricted TLDs, so you can buy them easily regardless of where you live or what kind of website you’re building.
.com is the most popular domain name and one of the oldest, launched at the very beginning of the world wide web. As mentioned above, this domain extension is generally understood to mean “commercial,” but some people think it may have been intended to mean “company.”
.com is the most popular domain extension in the world, with 160.5 million domains using .com, significantly more than the 24.7 million domains attached to the next most popular TLD, .cn .
While .com may have been intended to mean “company” at some point, the truth is that for most users it now represents “commercial.” Because of this, many people assume that .co was created to represent “company” and provide another option for websites intended to make money. This seems to make even more sense when you consider that .co is used to signify commercial intent in URLs like amazon.co.uk.
However, .co has nothing to do with commercial use or companies at all. It’s actually the ccTLD for Colombia. It used to be restricted to users in Colombia too, but in 2010 it became accessible to website owners from all over the world.
Since becoming accessible to global website owners, .co has become a popular choice for startups, with tech-focused companies like Ilumi using this TLD to demonstrate that they’re part of a new wave of innovative internet and technology companies.
Next in the debate of .co vs .com, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each domain extension.
So, what’s the best domain extension for your site? Well, it depends on the type of website you’re running and the goals you have for it:
Now that we’ve settled the debate of .co vs .com, let’s take a look at where you can buy these TLDs!
Namecheap is a popular domain registrar that offers free domain privacy with all domains. This is important because, without domain privacy, your address and other personal information will be readily available to anyone who looks for your domain registration. Most other registrars charge extra for this service, so you can save money by choosing Namecheap.
The domains themselves are also quite affordable on Namecheap. You can get a .com for $9.58 per year for the first term, renewing at $13.98 per year. There are also frequently coupon codes allowing you to save even more in the first year; at the time of writing this article, you can get your first year of registration for just $5.98.
.co domain names are also affordably priced for the first year at $9.48:
The .co price rises more significantly in later years, though, with the retail price listed as $26.98 per year. This is worth paying attention to as it will change your budgetary needs in year two.
Google Domains is the domain registrar owned by the internet giant Google. The search function here is particularly interesting because it lists SEO advantages and disadvantages for the domain you’re searching for. For example, I searched for businessforfictionauthors.com, and the benefits included “This name is easy to pronounce and type when heard,” while the main disadvantage is “Long names like this one are harder to remember.” These tips can help you decide whether you want to stick with your original domain name idea.
Another great thing about Google Domains is the easy-to-understand pricing. You will pay a bit more for your first year than you would if you registered with Namecheap, but you’ll pay the same amount every year, with no increases or hidden fees. For the average .com domain, this amount will be $12.
.co domains are notably more expensive here, costing $30 per year. This is higher than both the first year and the renewal price for .co domains on Namecheap.
All Google Domains come with privacy protection.
Next in our comparison of .co vs .com, we’ll take a look at how these domains are priced on Domain.com. Domain.com is another well-known provider of domains, with .com domains on sale for just $10.99 per year.
As for .co domains, buying one from Domain.com will cost you $27.99 per year.
The good news is that you’ll pay the same price upon renewal, so you won’t have to worry about budgetary changes from one year to the next. However, if you want domain privacy, you’ll have to pay extra ($8.99 per year) for it. This makes Domain.com most suitable when privacy isn’t a major concern, such as when you’re buying a website for a corporation and the address is a corporate office.
If you’re ready to start building your website right away, you’ll want to choose a domain registrar that doubles as a web host. Bluehost is one of the best, especially if you’re planning to build your website with WordPress. It offers a variety of WordPress-optimized hosting plans and specialty tools including a WordPress-based website builder, plus it’s actively recommended by WordPress.
So, what does a domain cost with Bluehost? Well, if you’re buying a web hosting package, you can get your domain bundled into it for free for the first year.
If you’re buying just the domain, a .com will cost you $12.99:
The .co domain will cost you $27.99:
You’ll also have to purchase domain privacy separately for $11.88 per year. If you buy a web hosting package with a domain included, domain privacy will be covered for the first month, but you will have to pay separately for continued privacy.
DreamHost is another great choice if you’re ready to start building your site right away. You can access a variety of web hosting packages through DreamHost, including WordPress-optimized hosting packages. These packages also come with a free domain and custom email address at your domain.
If you don’t want to buy hosting right away, you can get a .com domain from DreamHost for $7.99 for the first year, but you’ll be locked into a renewal price of $17.99.
For a .co, you’ll actually pay even less in the first year, just $6.99. However, this price will renew at $26.95 per year, so you’ll need to factor that change into your long-term budget.
The good news is that DreamHost offers free domain privacy on all domains, so if privacy matters to you, you can save some money by choosing DreamHost over Bluehost.
The .co vs .com debate is one of the most important things to consider when selecting a domain.
Both of these domain extensions come with high levels of recognizability and trust, making them great choices for any website. The key difference is that the .co TLD is associated with innovation and freshness, making it ideal for startups and tech companies, whereas .com is a legacy TLD tied to the development of the internet, making it a top pick for more traditional websites and companies.
Not sure where you land on the .co vs .com debate? Want to learn about other TLDs? Check out our guide on .org vs .net!
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