|Introduced||1 January 1985|
|TLD type||Generic top-level domain|
|Intended use||Network infrastructure|
|Actual use||ISPs; miscellaneous sites; used sometimes when desired name is not available in .com|
|Structure||Registrations at second level permitted|
|Documents||RFC 1591; ICANN registry agreement|
|Registry website||Verisign .net Registry|
The domain name net is a generic top-level domain (gTLD) used in the Domain Name System of the Internet. The name is derived from the word network, indicating it was originally intended for organizations involved in networking technologies, such as Internet service providers and other infrastructure companies. However, there are no official restrictions and the domain is now a general-purpose namespace. It is still popular with network operators and the advertising sector, and it is often treated as an alternative to .com.
net is one of the original top-level domains (the other six being com, org, edu, gov, mil, and arpa) despite not being mentioned in RFC 920, having been created in January 1985.
Verisign, the operator of net after acquiring Network Solutions, held an operations contract that expired on 30 June 2005. ICANN, the organization responsible for domain management, sought proposals from organizations to operate the domain upon expiration of the contract. Verisign regained the contract bid and secured its control over the net registry for another six years. On 30 June 2011, the contract with Verisign was automatically renewed for another six years. This is because of a resolution approved by the ICANN board, which states that renewal will be automatic as long as Verisign meets certain ICANN requirements. As of May 2022, Verisign continues to manage .net.
Registrations are processed via accredited registrars and internationalized domain names are also accepted.
The first created .net domain name is nordu.net. It was created on 1 January 1985 according to the public records, and NORDUnet has used this domain name since 1985.
Net extension is the most preferred gTLD just after com. Total registered domain names with net extension are 13.4 million according to the Domain Name Industry Report published in March 2020, which publishes every quarter.
As of 2015, it is the fifth most popular top-level domain, after .com, .tk, .cn and .de.