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A comprehensive overview of the .com top-level domain

Veronika Vilgis
  • about 2 months ago
  • 2 min read

The domain extension .com, operated by Verisign (Nasdaq: VRSN) which also runs .net, is without doubt the largest and most well-known top-level domain (TLD), comprising more than 160 million websites.

While .com was initially derived from the word “commercial” to register only commercial organizations, it has now expanded to include all kinds of websites beyond the commercial focus. To better understand how the .com domain is currently being used, we first record the response that any given hostname returns. Out of the more than 160 million recorded websites, around 40% are available websites with the remaining 60% either redirecting (15%), denying access (29%) or not detectable (16%), which means that there isn’t any record found in the domain name system.

If the website is available, we classify it into different types based on its content and purpose, such as e-commerce (a website on which you can purchase products) or a placeholder (a website without content provided by a registrar), among others.

Below you can see that about a quarter of .com websites are classified as placeholders and almost the same number of domains as businesses. The largest part is made up of content websites (33%).

24% of .com domains are business websites.
About a quarter of .com websites are classified as placeholders and almost the same number of domains as businesses.

If we compare that with the .net domain, we see a similar distribution although with a slightly higher number of placeholders (28%) and a lower number of businesses (19%). Also, more e-commerce sites are registered with .com compared with .net (2.4% vs 1.0%) suggesting that the .com TLD maintains its initial spirit of targeting commercial organizations.