There was a point in time when getting a .com domain meant you were building up a commercial business site and a .org domain meant the site is associated with an actual organization. Today, however, anybody can grab any of these domain names. What changed, and are the differences still relevant?
Introduced on March 15, 1985, .com is now one of the most popular top-level domains (TLDs) and currently ranked first in most registered with an approximate of 126 million as of 2016. The name is derived from the word commercial and by that alone, you can guess that it was intended for domains registered by commercial organizations. While it was supposed to cater to commercial entities, there has been no restriction whatsoever in registering .com domains since the mid-1990s, and now anybody who is willing is eligible to register their own domain name with a .com extension as long as it’s available for the taking.
Operated by: Verisign
Introduced on January 1, 1985, .org is a top-level domain that is currently one of the top most used domain names worldwide, just below .com and .net. It currently has 10 million registrants as of 2016. Its name comes from the word organization and was intended for use by non-profit organizations. While it is still popular with organization entities, restrictions were not enforced and the domains are now open to the public. Today, the .org domain is commonly used by schools, open-source projects, communities and even for-profit organizations.
As with .com and .net TLDs, the idea of restricting hundreds of thousands or millions of applications and registrations for .org domains was too much, so they were opened to the public.
Operated by: Public Interest Registry
While there might not be much difference left between the two, there are still a few things that need mentioning, especially to those that plan on registering a website.
Starting with their main and obvious differences, .com and .org have their own original intended purposes. .Com domains were intended for commercial entities, while .org domains were intended for non-profit entities. While they are still popularly used for their intended purpose, they are now both open for general purpose as well; this means you might see .org and .com used not according to their purposes, which leads us to the question “Why?”
Popularity is a huge factor in choosing between the two domains. Reflecting on their number of registered domain names, it is quite obvious that .com is more popular and .org is less popular. With this in mind, .com will most likely be the first domain extension that is entered by a user subconsciously. Think about it: if a friend of yours asked you to visit their website called animals, you immediately think animals.com. When thinking of building up your business with a website, .com is the better choice.
There is just a slight difference in pricing, with .org costing a little bit more. Some might even price both these domain names the same.
Finally, contrary to the rumor circulating around the Internet that SEO or Search Engine Optimization of both domain extensions differ and outrank other domain extensions like .info or .biz, studies show this is not true. That being said, it doesn’t matter which one you choose in terms of SEO purposes. It does matter, however, for the company or organization you are representing.
|Intended and recommended for commercial entities||Intended and recommended for non-profit organizations|
|Currently 120 million registered domain names||Currently 10 million registered domain names|
|More popular||Less popular|
|Costs less||Costs more (but not much)|
Watch this quick video explaining the basics of .com, .org. and .net domain names.