.com, .com.au, .net ... which do I choose?

Eva Pettifor


March 2013


There are so many domain options available: .com, .net. .org.au and many more. We often get asked how to choose a domain name so have provided some tips on how to secure the best domain name for your business.

.au is the best if you (and your customers) are based in Australia

If you operate a business in Australia, I recommend to at least secure the Australian .au domain name as your primary domain and ideally, also the international domain equivalent. The international domain system (eg .com) has no eligibility requirements so anybody could secure "your" domain name so make sure you grab it before somebody else does!

  • com.au : For commercial entities, such as companies (with ACN as registered through ASIC), and businesses (registered with state governments)
  • asn.au : For incorporated associations, political parties, trade unions, sporting and special interest clubs
  • org.au : For charities and non-profit organisations

Other domain types

There are less popular domain options such as .net.au, .biz, .info and more.  I recommend that businesses stick with the more commonly used domains as above. They are easier for your clients to remember, show up better in the search engines and have more credibility for your organisation!  For example if you operate an Australian business and your domain name ends in .com, people will wonder if you are registered or if you operate in Australia or America! Most businesses will use .com.au

What name to choose

Once you have decided on the domain extension (eg .com.au, .com etc), you will of course need to choose the actual name. The following tips may help you decide:

  • a short, easy name to remember (imagine telling customers over the phone to visit the website, pick something you don't have to spell out to them)
  • if your business name is quite long, consider an abbreviation or acronym
  • if you don't want to register a name based on your business name itself, consider a short name that describes the goods or services you provide
  • Symbols (except for a - dash), punctuation, spaces and uppercase are not valid for a domain name
Registering you domain name is just as important as registering your business name (even if you aren't planning a website for awhile). You can use your domain name for professional email accounts which is so much better than using a free email service (eg hotmail, yahoo) or using ISP provided email addresses (eg bigpond, iinet etc) !
Eva Pettifor

Founder and project manager at Darwin Web


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