A Guide To Domain Extensions

The internet began back in 1983, and since then we’ve come a long way. Nowadays, almost everyone in the developed world is familiar with how to use it, including navigating their way through specific website addresses.

A crucial part of the website address is that little extra bit that comes after the bulk of the name and dot, called the domain extension. You’ve probably never given this aspect of a website a second thought until, suddenly, you’re starting your own website and you begin to wonder: what are they all about and how come they aren’t all the same?

Here at Leblek, we’ve been around the digital block a few times, so we thought we’d put together a comprehensive guide to what domain extensions are, the common ones you’ll see, how to choose yours and, crucially, whether they can impact your business.


What are domain extensions?

Boiled down to their most essential description, domain extensions are a chain of a few letters that follow the bulk of your address, helping to get around inputting any bulky IP chains. 

If you were hot on the internet trend back in the 80s, you’ll know that the Domain Name System, where you register a domain, wasn’t available until 1986. These were known as TLDs or top-level domains, making it easier to navigate the net by translating the string of numbers that actually points to a website into a smaller, more memorable URL (uniform resource locator).

Since then, multiple different domain extensions have popped up for a whole variety of reasons. You’re probably most familiar with .com and, but it’s good to understand the range of domain extensions available and what they can mean.

Common domain extension list

There are five pretty common domain name extensions, so we’re going to look at each one of those to give you a better picture of how they’re used.


As you might have guessed, .com is the most popular domain extension and we’ve kind of become so familiar with it that everyone looks out for a .com domain for their business when first thinking about the process.

Initially, .com was essentially just a shorthand for the word “commerce” or “commercial” as a TLD, representing for-profit businesses in the online space. Of course, every man and his dog wanted this type of address once the internet really started to take off, which means a lot of these are now taken, with some people buying .com names so that when someone wants it, they have to pay some pretty big sums to own it.


This is another domain extension that is available for pretty much anyone to use, but it’s better to have it if you’re positioning your business in the tech industry. Many big brands using this extension have .net, and it lets users know that they’re technology-based, so it’s important to choose wisely – something we’ll touch on more later.


Originally, you could only get a .org extension if you were not-for-profit, kind of like the counterbalance to the .com. But these days they’re available to everyone, though it still comes with subtle connotations. It will mainly be used by non-profit organisations, political parties and community-based organisations. That means you can get the .org extension, but it’s not always right stylistically.


Not surprisingly, the .us extension is a popular one in the US, but it’s not available to everyone. You can only get a .us website domain if you’re a citizen or entity in the United States, so while you can be an individual person or a corporation, you must be based in the US. 

You’ll notice that our most common domain extension in the UK is something of an outlier, using a second dot. The first “co” was originally Columbia’s country-specific extension before people began using it en masse as a way of saying “corporation”. We’ve simply added “UK” to that since then, with the .uk extension signifying a corporation in the United Kingdom.

Other extensions that have come into popularity over the years include:

  • .info, which often denotes a site that is more informational and helpful
  • .xyz, another general-use domain extension available to all
  • .gov, strictly for government agencies, not for businesses
  • .me, these are often more personal sites about individuals, such as freelancers
  •, only to be used by academic institutions in the UK
  • .ru, this is actually a highly popular extension but for Russian organisations, so has little interest for anyone else, especially in this political climate

That last one on the list isn’t an outlier, by the way, since all countries have their own unique domain extension. That means the higher the population, the more popular a specific extension will be. India is a good example of this, with a population explosion resulting in higher numbers of domains pointing to .in.

How to choose your domain extension

Knowing some of the backgrounds behind the popular domain extensions means you can probably start to get a feel for which one is going to suit you. But to help you make this decision in even more detail, we’re going to outline some of the key considerations to bear in mind for all domain extensions:

  • What type of organisation are you? If you’re a government or educational body, then you probably have access to some more specific domain extensions. For nonprofits and charities, a .org might help to signify what you’re about, while any business should probably be looking for a .com or a to show your intention and to capitalise on the familiarity.
  • Are you trying to build a brand? Trust is a huge part of getting your brand out there, and if you have a more recognisable and standard URL, it’ll be easier for people to not only reach you, but feel that you’re genuine. That said, if you’re looking to make your brand stand out from the crowd, a more unconventional extension like .xyz could give you a different edge.
  • Where are you located? Yep, you’ve guessed it – sometimes it’s as simple as just applying the most appropriate country code for your domain extension. It helps to let your customers know that you’re a company in their country, avoiding a lot of confusion, and it might just help give you that extra boost if it triggers any benefits in terms of location specifics.
  • Can you get more specific? Just because everyone jumps for a .com or, that doesn’t mean you can’t get even more specific with your domain extension. New domain extensions allow you to highlight more about what your website is for, with .movie, .earth and .health just a few examples of how you can highlight what you’re promoting.
  • Is it available? A very simple, but sometimes frustrating part of this decision-making process is checking whether the domain you want is available. Whether it’s because someone is already using it (opening up larger questions about your brand) or because someone has purchased and is sitting on it to make money from it, you can be scuppered at the final hurdle in some instances. The good news is that there are always alternatives to help you get around this, but if the name means that much to you, you might want to simply pay the price someone is asking.

Does a domain extension impact your SEO?

Yes, your choice of domain extension does impact your SEO, but not in the direct way you might think. Search engines aren’t necessarily in the habit of filtering their results to you based on something as trivial as a domain extension (at least that’s what they tell us). 

Instead, what you really have to consider here is that trust factor we were talking about in the last section. The users’ behaviour can impact how search engines view your site. This is because people are less familiar with clicking on, or even typing in, something like .xyz, so you’re getting less traffic that way. And if Google doesn’t have enough data on whether your site is used as a trusted source on a particular topic, it’s unlikely to rank you as favourably as some other sites using a .com or

At Leblek, we’re a digital marketing agency dedicated to getting you results for your business online. So when it comes to your website, we can help you choose the best domain extension to suit what you’re looking to do. Whether you’re a plumber in Nottingham who just needs a website to help generate leads or you’re an organisation elsewhere in the UK looking to start a competition prize for films, there is something to help put your best foot forward. Picking a .com might still be the best and most popular option, and that’s ok, but if you’re branching out or looking to stand out, there’s always another way.

Contact us today and let us know what aspect of your website build you need, from domain endings to a design that meets page speed goals, and we’ll sit down to chat with you.