When starting an online business or establishing a brand presence in the Philippines, one of the first decisions you need to make is choosing the right domain name.
The .ph domain is the country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) designated for the Philippines.
Any company or organization based in the Philippines looking for a domain will likely consider .ph.
However, .com domains also remain popular in the Philippines, and may work better than .ph for some businesses depending on their goals and target audience.
This article compares the key differences between
.com domains to help businesses in the Philippines make the best choice.
Some key factors to consider when choosing between .ph and .com include:
- Local vs international audience – .ph works well for targeting Filipinos, while .com has broader appeal.
- Brand identity – .ph conveys a Philippine presence, while .com is more generic.
- Availability – .com domains have much wider availability.
- Cost – .ph may be cheaper, but renewal costs are comparable.
Here’s a quick comparison of the two domains:
|Identifies with Philippine audience, good for local SEO
|Limited availability, not as recognizable internationally
|High availability, recognizable globally
|Doesn’t indicate Philippine location
By understanding the factors above, you can determine whether
.com better suits your business goals and brand identity.
This article explores the differences in more depth to help you make the optimal choice.
The .ph Domain
The .ph domain is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) designated for the Philippines.
Any company, organization, or individual based in the Philippines can register a .ph domain.
Some key things to know about .ph domains:
- The DotPH organization oversees .ph domain registration and administration.
- .ph domains can only be registered by entities with a presence in the Philippines.
- Registration is available directly at DotPH or through accredited registrars.
- .ph domain names are available on a first-come, first-served basis if not already taken.
Pros of .ph Domains
There are some advantageous reasons to consider a .ph domain for your business website:
- Identifies you as a Philippine business – The .ph extension immediately conveys to visitors that you are a Philippine-based company or organization. This can help establish trust and legitimacy.
- Enhances local SEO – Search engines may give preference to .ph sites when users search for locally targeted keywords.
- Short and memorable – Good .ph domain names tend to be short and catchy, which makes them easy to remember.
- Associates your brand with the Philippines – This can be beneficial if you want to highlight your Philippine roots or presence.
- Widely recognized in the Philippines – Most Filipino internet users understand that .ph indicates a Philippine site.
Some examples of well-known .ph websites:
Here is a summary of the main advantages of using a .ph domain:
|Pros of .ph Domain
|Identifies Philippine business
|Conveys Philippine brand identity
|Improves local SEO
|Helps target Filipino searches
|Short and memorable
|Easy to recall .ph names
|Associates with the Philippines
|Highlights Philippine presence
|Known as the Philippine domain
Cons of .ph Domains
However, there are also some downsides to keep in mind with .ph domains:
- Limited availability – Many short, concise .ph domain names are already taken. You may need to settle for a longer or less memorable name.
- Not indicative globally – Outside the Philippines, .ph does not have the same recognition. An international audience may not recognize it as readily as a .com site.
- Search bias internationally – Search engines like Google may favor .com over .ph for international or global searches.
- Character restrictions – .ph domains can only use Filipino letters and numbers. No special characters are allowed.
So while .ph works well for Philippine-focused businesses, it does have some limitations to consider.
The .com Domain
The .com domain is the most popular generic top-level domain (gTLD) on the web. .com domains are commonly used by businesses internationally, including in the Philippines.
Some key facts about .com domains:
- .com is administered by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
- Anyone worldwide can register a .com domain.
- Registration can be done through domain registrars like GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc.
- .com domain availability is very broad, but prime names sell quickly.
Pros of .com Domains
There are some solid reasons a business in the Philippines may want to consider a .com domain:
- High availability – Short, brandable .com domain names are far easier to find compared to .ph choices. You have a much better chance of finding your ideal name.
- Global recognition – .com is the most globally recognized domain extension. It does not associate you with any particular country.
- International appeal – A .com site attracts an international audience more easily than country-specific domains.
- Search engine appeal – Search engines tend to favor .com sites for general and international searches.
- Flexibility – .com domains are very versatile – they can work well for companies targeting any market.
- Memorable – A short, catchy .com name can be very memorable and easy to promote.
Some major global brands using .com domains:
Here are the key advantages of using a .com domain:
|Pros of .com Domain
|Easier to find preferred names
|Known worldwide as generic domain
|Attracts global audience
|Search engine appeal
|Favored by search engines
|Works for any business or market
|Catchy names are easy to remember
Cons of .com Domains
Some potential downsides to keep in mind with .com domains:
- Doesn’t indicate location – A .com doesn’t highlight your Philippine location or presence.
- Less SEO value locally – For targeting Filipinos specifically, .ph may have an edge.
- Most expensive option – .com registration and renewal costs tend to be higher than ccTLDs.
- Popular targets for cybersquatting – Squatters target sought-after .com names.
- High demand – There is immense competition to secure good .com domains.
In summary, .com domains have broader appeal and availability, but less local SEO value in the Philippines compared to .ph.
Other ccTLDs – .asia, .biz, .net
In addition to .ph and .com, there are some other top-level domain (TLD) options like .asia, .biz, and .net that businesses in the Philippines could consider using.
The .asia domain is a sponsored generic top-level domain (sTLD) intended for pan-Asian use. Some key points about .asia domains:
- Launched in 2007 and operated by DotAsia.
- Open for registration by any individual or organization with a substantial connection to the Asia continent.
- Adoption has been limited – .asia sites are not nearly as common as .com or ccTLDs.
Pros of .asia Domains
- Conveys an Asian identity, although not country-specific.
- Indicates you target or operate in the broader Asian market.
- Reasonable availability for domain names.
Cons of .asia Domains
- Not widely recognized or understood by internet users.
- No real SEO advantage over .com.
- Renewal costs are similar to .com.
Unless you specifically want to project a pan-Asian image, .asia does not have significant advantages over .ph or .com for Philippines-based businesses.
.biz is a domain targeted at businesses and commercial sites but has failed to gain strong adoption.
Pros of .biz Domains
- Clearly indicates a commercial business website.
- Decent availability for domain names.
Cons of .biz Domains
- Does not identify location or target market.
- Not commonly used or recognized by consumers.
- No SEO or branding advantage over .com.
Overall, .biz has not offered enough benefits versus .com to make it a preferred domain extension.
.net was originally intended for network infrastructure and technology sites, though this distinction has faded over time.
Pros of .net Domains
- Broad second-level domain name availability.
- No strict eligibility requirements.
Cons of .net Domains
- Perceived as outdated compared to .com.
- No real brand identity advantage.
- Not associated with the Philippines.
Here’s a summary comparison of the alternative TLD options:
|Conveys Asian presence
|Limited recognition and adoption
|Indicates a business
|Not commonly used
|High domain availability
|No brand identity benefit
Unless you have a specific goal aligned with one of these other TLDs, .ph and .com tend to be better choices for Philippine businesses.
The alternative options do provide more domain name availability, but lack strong branding benefits.
Advice on Choosing Between .ph and .com
When registering a domain for your business website or online presence, choosing between .ph and .com basically comes down to your target audience and goals.
Here is some guidance on when to choose .ph vs .com:
When to Choose .ph
Some cases where .ph works best:
- Your business primarily targets Filipino customers – .ph helps appeal to local audiences.
- You want to highlight your Philippine location or roots – .ph conveys your Philippine brand identity.
- Your business operates only within the Philippines – .ph aligns with your domestic focus.
- You want to rank well in Philippine search results – .ph can provide an edge for local SEO.
- Your brand name is commonly known in the Philippines – .ph matches user expectations.
- You want a short, catchy Philippine domain name – .ph names tend to be concise.
Here are some examples of brands that benefit from .ph domains:
- Philippine news sites (philstar.ph, inquirer.ph)
- Philippine travel sites (cebupacificair.ph)
- Philippine ecommerce sites (beautympro.ph)
- Local Philippine businesses (goldilocks.ph)
When to Choose .com
Cases where a .com domain makes more sense:
- Your business is targeting an international audience – .com has broader appeal.
- You want to project a global brand image – .com is recognized worldwide.
- You plan to expand globally in the future – .com leaves room for growth.
- Your brand name is already widely known – match expectations with .com.
- You want to rank well in international search results – .com gets a slight edge.
- You want a short, memorable brandable domain – .com has more options.
Some examples of global brands appropriately using .com:
- Social media sites (facebook.com, twitter.com)
- International ecommerce sites (amazon.com, ebay.com)
- Global technology brands (google.com, microsoft.com)
Key Differences Summary
|Conveys Philippine identity
|Improves local SEO
|Better for global SEO
Should You Get Both?
For established brands targeting the Philippines, registering matching .ph and .com domains can maximize your digital presence.
Owning both domains prevents confusion, enhances your SEO, and projects both Philippine and global brand familiarity.
For example, major companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Lazada all own both facebook.com.ph, youtube.com.ph, lazada.com.ph as well as their regular .com domains.
If your budget allows, securing your brand name across .ph and .com provides maximum brand protection and flexibility for the future.
When choosing a domain for your business website in the Philippines, .ph and .com are the two best options to consider.
There is no universally superior domain – the right choice depends on your specific business situation and goals.
- If you only serve the Philippines, .ph is likely better to connect with local audiences.
- But if you want to reach an international market, .com is the way to go.
Some key factors to weigh:
- Target market – Local vs global audience
- Brand identity – Philippine vs international presence
- SEO goals – Optimizing for local vs global search
- Domain availability – .ph has more limitations
- Cost – .com is typically more expensive
Ideally, established brands should aim to acquire both their .ph and .com domains if feasible.
Owning your brand across .ph and .com provides maximum digital visibility and flexibility to adapt as your business evolves.
Overall, align your domain choice with your current business objectives and target market.
But also consider future aspirations for your brand as the Philippines becomes increasingly digital.