What .COM Means in a URL

.Com is one of hundreds of top-level domains

The .com at the end of many web addresses (such as Lifewire.com) is called a top-level domain (TLD). The .com ending is the most common generic top-level domain. The .com TLD represents a commercial domain, which conveys the type of content that's published. It differs from other top-level domains that are meant for content that is more specific, such as .mil for U.S. military websites and .edu for educational websites.

Using a .com URL doesn't offer any special significance other than perception. A .com address is seen as a serious website because it's the most common TLD. However, it doesn't have any technical differences over .org, .biz, .info, .gov, and other generic top-level domains.

Register a .Com Website

Different TLD's.
Tumisu/Pixabay 

Six top-level domains categorized the few hundred websites that were around at the inception of the World Wide Web. Addresses ending in .com were meant for publishers who made a profit through their services. The six TLDs that existed then and are used today:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org
  • .edu
  • .gov
  • .mil

Now there are hundreds of top-level domains and millions of websites.

A .com domain name does not mean a website is a licensed business. The internet registration authorities have expanded their criteria to allow anyone to have a .com address, regardless of whether the registrant has commercial intent.

Buy a .Com Website

Domain registrars reserve domain names. They serve as middlemen between buyers and the quasi-governmental agencies that attend to the internet's complex structure. General registrars allow buyers to choose any available TLD when they register a domain name. In most cases, domain names can be purchased relatively inexpensively, but some highly desirable domain names are for sale only at top-dollar prices.

Domain-name registrars that sell top-level .com names include:

Other Top-Level Domains

Hundreds of top-level domain names are available to the general public, including .org and .net, which were originally used to denote nonprofit organizations and network and computer topics, respectively. Those TLDs, just like .com, aren't limited to certain organizations or individuals; they're open for anyone to purchase.

Most TLDs use three letters, but there are also two-letter TLDs called country code top-level domains, or ccTLDs. Some examples include .fr for France, .ru for Russia, .us for the United States, and .br for Brazil.

Other TLDs that are similar to .com may be sponsored or have certain restrictions on registration or use. The Root Zone Database page on the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority website serves as a master index of all the TLDs.