.co vs .com – Does the Difference Really Matter?

by David | Last Updated: January 2, 2022

When it comes to registering a domain name at a domain name registrar, you’ll notice you have a lot of choices for the domain name extension. Everything from less popular extensions like .io and .co, to the more traditional options of .com and .net.

Your domain name and domain extension are important, they define the brand your building. With literally thousands of choices for your domain extension which one is best? Is registering a .co going to hurt your SEO compared to a .com? Is .com the best and the only extension you should even consider?

In this comprehensive guide we’re going to answer all these questions as well as compare and contrast .com vs .co as well as their individual pros and cons.

Side note, if you’ve not yet registered a domain name we suggest Namecheap. You can checkout our best domain registrars guide too.

.co vs .com overview

The .co extension used to be the country code for the nation of Columbia. It was changed from a country code into a generic top level domain extension by GoDaddy as a way to create a viable alternative to the .com domain extension.

As the .com is the legacy extension of the internet, it is still the go-to domain extension people want. As such, it’s very difficult to get the domain name you want with a.com. Which is why the .co was started as it has a similar sound and spelling.

In general, the .co extension is meant to be “company” but is fine for any blog or website. It won’t hurt your SEO, but of course if you can get the .com then get the .com. Most who register the .co could not get the .com they wanted due to it being taken by a domainer.

What are domain extensions, TLD’s and why are they important?

TLD is short for “top level domain” and they are made up of many parts, one part being the domain extension. The role of the extension is to help identify the purpose of the website. A website with a .edu extension is an accredited educational institute, .gov is for the American government, .com is for commercial.

As websites can have the same domain name, they can not have the same extensions. As such, the domain extension helps form a hierarchy for the end user. With regards to this, domain extensions can be original, generic or a country codes.

Original top level domains

These are the extensions most average internet users are familiar with and were created during the early development of ICANN back in 1998. The .com, .net, .org, .gov, .mil are all original top level domain extensions.

Generic top level domain names

Next we have our generic top level domain name names. These generic domain extensions exist for a specific purpose and use and typically have some sort of restriction associated with them. For example, the .gay domain extension is only for organizations that promote and support LGBTQ rights.

Something like .art is only for artistic related websites and organizations like a museum and .amazon is reserved for Amazon.com.

Country code top level comains (ccTLDs)

Countries can have their own domain name, .co was for Columbia. Country codes are a great choice for any website that is country specific or is in the countries native language.

.com vs .co comparison

So let’s take a look to see how these two domain extensions compare with one another across a few different aspects you should consider:

The price for .com and .co

One thing you will notice is that a .co domain extension is significantly more expensive than a .com. While you can get a .com at a domain registrar like Namecheap or Dynadot for under 9$, a .co will cost over $20 per year.

This high price point is intentional and the thought process behind it was to keep domainers away from .co as they are too costly to hold onto for long periods of time. While in practice the .co has been leverage by domainers for the most desirable of domains (think one or two word domains), the .co is still a viable alternative.

In short, if you can’t get the .com you want because it’s already registered by a domainer and want a more modern alternative than .net or .org then get the .co. It has cool factor compared to other alternatives. The only issue is the high price point.

Availability of the .com extension vs the .co extension

The .com extension is incredibly competitive in todays market. While still having a great price point compared to other extension, it’s availability is quite low. In general, almost all one or two word combinations are registered already and they are either in use or are being held by a domainer.

Also, domainers are actively looking for new one or two word domain names to buy and hold as new technologies develop. Bitcoin and crypto currencies are a great example of this as they grow in importance and popularity.

Want to register BitcoinPrice.com or BitcoinBook.com? It’s too late. They are already taken by a domainer and you’ll need to pay top dollar for them.

The .co domain simply does not have this issue as it’s not the legacy extension.

SEO for .co and .com

One of the most persistent misconceptions by new bloggers and content creators is that a .co is bad for SEO. It’s not, it is a top level domain extension and is treated on par with a .com, .net or a .org by Google.

This means that if you build out a quality blog with great content but you’re using a .net, .org or a .co extension it will rank like any .com would.

The only difference is that a .com has that branding that no other extension can beat. When people think of visiting your website, they assume it’s a .com. When a domainer wants to buy domains, it’s always going to be the .com version.

With regards to SEO, you’re fine with a .co if you’re building out a blog. Yes, it would be better to have the .com but if you don’t have a choice then using a .co is fine. Just look at BoingBoing.net, they are massive entertainment website and they use the .net extension.

Reputation for each extension

In combination with SEO is trust and reputation. The .com is the legacy extension and it’s the one everyone wants and that will not change anytime soon. It has a good reputation and people trust websites that use a.com extension. No one who is using a .com is wishing they has some alternative extension. When you’re website is .com, you’re set and happy.

The .co extension is also trustworthy as well. Due in part to it’s high price point, the only organizations, bloggers, content creators and so forth who build a website using the .co only do so because they want to build a website. As such, .co websites are professionally designed and taken care of. Unlike .info by contrast which is cheap and often used for spam purposes.

The only downside is that having an alternative extension, you’ll always be wishing you had the .com. But with regard to trust, reputation and SEO a .co works just fine.

.co vs com conclusion

So which one is best? The .com is obviously the best. It’s the legacy extension, it’s the one everyone associates with the internet and it has a lower price point. But you already know that. You’re here because the .com you want is taken and you want to know if getting a .co is any good.

A .co is a great alternative to a .com. It’s a more fun and modern extension when compared to getting a .net or a .org. While it does not have the familiarity of a .com, a .co is more expensive so websites that use a .co tend to be well developed which helps build trust for this extension.

Remember, your end visitor is simply not going to care that much if your personal finance blog is using a .co or .com, neither does Google. What matters is building out a helpful, authoritative website.

Last, before registering a .co make sure the .com you want is taken by a domainer. You can’t simply copy the domain name of another website but use a different extension. That’s copyright infringement.