Domain Name 101: What Do the Various Domain Extensions Mean?

Anyone who has spent time online will be familiar with .COM, the domain extension for the United States. You’re also probably familiar with the domain extension for Canada, .CA, which is assigned to websites that operate in our country.

What you probably don’t know is that there are nearly 1,600 domain extensions listed in the Internet Assigned Numbers (IANA) Database. These extensions vary from the mundane like .ORG or .NET, to the eyebrow-raising, such as .CAT and .BEER. Canadian businesses don’t just have to settle for a .CA domain extension. Plenty of options exist to help you develop and market your brand. The question is, which one is right for you?

Let’s look at the data for answers.

The World’s Most Popular Domain Name Extensions

According to the latest Domain Name Industry Brief (published by VeriSign), 2023 closed with 359.3 million domain name registrations across all top-level domains (TLDs). This is an increase of 2.7 million domain name registrations compared to the previous quarter.

The Top 10 largest TLDs by number of reported domain names in 2023 were:

  1. .COM (“commerce”) – 168 million
  2. .CN (China) – 20.3 million
  3. .DE (Germany) – 17.6 million
  4. .NET (originally “network” but most businesses secure this along with their .COM) – 13.2 million
  5. .UK (United Kingdom) – 10.9 million
  6. .ORG (originally “organization” and used for non-profits) – 10.8 million
  7. .NL (Netherlands) – 6.3 million
  8. .RU (Russia) – 5.8 million
  9. .BR (Brazil) – 5.2 million
  10. .AU (Australia) – 4.3 million

You’ll notice that .CA, the Canadian domain extension doesn’t appear on this list, but it’s still by far the best option for Canadian businesses to use.

Why Using The .CA Domain Extension is Best for Canadian Businesses

If you’re a Canadian small business, a .CA domain signifies your presence in the country, boosting trust among local customers. According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority, 65% of Canadian internet users believe Canadian businesses and organizations should use a .CA domain.

Not only will a .CA domain lead to more sales for your business, it will also boost your positioning in Google searches in Canada, as it shows Google you operate in the country. One important point to note before pursuing a .CA domain, you must meet Canadian Presence Requirements to qualify.

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