What is Domain Extension?

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Every day we visit different websites. Have you ever wondered how they came into existence?

Let’s take a look. For e.g. www.google.com, the word “Google” is known as the domain name and the part  “.com” is known as the domain extension. As normal as it may seem today, but before these were invented, we had to use a series of numbers something along the lines of 8.8.8.8 to go to a website. Just imagine having to by-heart all the sequences for using all those websites we visit every day!

To ease this problem and make the internet more accessible to common people like you and me, domain name and domain extensions were invented. Let’s read more about it.

Beginning of Domain Extension

In the early days of the Internet, users had to use a long sequence of numbers to visit a website (somewhat like this – 8.8.8.8), but since it became so difficult to remember and use it on a daily basis that the need to invent a more user-friendly way to surf the internet arose and so, the Internet Engineering Task Force found a solution to this problem in Domain Name System (DNS) which is used instead of the numerical IP addresses even today.

Domain Extension History

In 1984, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) set 7 domain extensions namely: .COM, .NET, .ORG, .EDU, .GOV, .MIL, and .ARPA.
Out of these 7 extensions, .ARPA was the first domain extension that had a specific purpose of facilitation – Transition from ARPANET to DNS (Internet is the successor of ARPANET).

.EDU, .GOV, and .MIL, have fulfilled their purposes since they have been more confined.
.EDU – used for and by accredited educational institutions.
.GOV – used for and by government entities.
.MIL – used for and by military use.

.COM, .NET, and .ORG has evolved a lot over time from their original purposes.
.COM – used for and by commercial entities/companies.
.NET – used for and by organizations in network technologies.
.ORG – used for and by non-profits/charities.

We all know that .com are widely used by every type of business/blog/hobbyist website owner even today, whereas, .org and .net became the 2nd and 3rd most popular and widely used domain extensions.

Types of Extensions

All the domain extensions are mostly divided into 3 types namely:
Generic Top-Level Domains (GTLDs),
Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs),
New Generic Domain Extensions.

Generic Top Level Domains (GTLDs): Amongst all the generic TLDs, the most famous being .com, .net, .org, .biz, .edu, .gov etc. All of these have been explained above in detail.

Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs):
Every country has its own specific Country code TLD. For example, United States of America has .us, the United Kingdom has .uk, Japan has .jp, India has .in and so on.
Mostly used if you want to capture readers of a specific country or if you are present in a specific country. Google crawlers give these website preferences while showing results locally to a query from a specific country.
Also, many ccTDL like .us / .eu / .it have requirements to be fulfilled before ordering them.

Modern Domain Extensions

These were made available from 2012. It was possible to register these new TLD’s for respective businesses, organizations etc. These were created keeping one thing in mind – people would have a creative way to present their website/blog.
For e.g. .blog , .hospital, .radio, .shop, .motorcycles, . shopping, .stream and so on.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a creative twist to your website/blog such as your-yoga-studio-name.yoga?

Google’s parent company Alphabet is registered at abc.xyz and not at alphabet.com.
McDonald’s owns .mcdonalds and .mcd after failing to register the domain name which was then registered by a reporter named Joshua Quittner back in 1994. In the end, Quittner decided to hand over the domain name to McDonald’s if the company made a donation to a charitable cause of his choice.

Restricted domain extensions

Some domain extensions are restricted, like .edu, .gov etc. and can only be used by/for specific organizations fulfilling their criteria. You need to be an accredited educational institution to own a .edu website.
Similarly, .aero can only be registered by air transport companies.
.gov can only be registered by/for government authorities.
Even some ccTDL are restricted and can be only be registered by people who fulfil certain requirements.
For eg, .ca requires you to be residing in Canada.
.tv is restricted to registrants located in the European Union.

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