What .COM Means in a URL

.Com is one of hundreds of top-level domains

.com meaning
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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 world's most common generic top-level domain.

The .com TLD represents commercial, which conveys the type of content that's being 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. When someone sees a .com address, they immediately see it as a serious website because it's the most common TLD. However, it doesn't have any technical differences over a .org, .biz, .info, .gov or any other generic top-level domain.

Registering a .Com Website

Historically, six top-level domains were used to categorize the few hundred websites that were around at the inception of the World Wide Web. Addresses ending in .com were meant for publishers who were trying to profit through their services. The six are all still around:

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

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

Having a .com domain name does not mean your website is a licensed business. In fact, the internet registration authorities have expanded their criteria to allow anyone to have a .com address, whether or not they have a commercial intent.

Buying 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 let you choose any available TLD when you buy a domain name. In most cases, you can buy a domain name relatively inexpensively, but some highly desirable domain names are for sell only at top-dollar prices.

Some domain-name registrars that will sell a top-level .com name to you include:

Other Top-Level Domains

Hundreds of top-level domain names are available to the general public, including .org and .net, which are 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 of the TLDs mentioned on this page have 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.

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