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Terms of Use

Copyright 2006

Understanding Domains

Using the Internet can be a bit daunting at first. There are so many terms and short cuts people talk about, and it can be confusing.

In simpler terms, each web site on the Internet has a name that is used to find that site. That name is called the URL (Universal Resource Locator) of the site and usually takes the form of http://www.domainname.extension

Some web sites can be identified without specifying the “http:” so typing www.domainname.extension will be sufficient; other sites don’t include the “www” and will just be http://domainname.extension.

Each site selects its own domain name; ideally, the domain name will give you an indication of the site’s purpose and usefulness to you. It may include the company or organization name, or some other term. Examples of domain names are savetimeonline, wordconstructions, businessmums, IBM, ninemsn and abc.

The extension of a URL is a short abbreviation that can tell you about the site. Some of the most common extensions are listed below with a simple definition of the type.

Extension 

Abbreviation of

 What it refers to

.com 

commercial 

Used by businesses

.net 

network

Used by Service providers initially, now also used by many businesses

.org 

Organization

Used by non-profit organizations

.edu

Education   

Used by Universities, schools and related bodies

.gov

Government

Used by Government departments and affiliates

.info

Information

Site is designed to provide information rather than sell products or services

.biz 

Business 

Used by Businesses, although less common than alternatives above

Often, you will see more letters after the three letter extension. These are usually an indication of where the site is based; a lack of a country code may represent the USA, but many non USA sites don’t include a country code either as it is not compulsory to do so. Most countries, however, do have regulations in place about who can use their country code.

A three letter code and the country code are both classed as an extension.

Common country codes are as follows:

Code 

Country Code 

Country

Country Code 

.au

Australia

.nz

New Zealand

.uk

United Kingdom

.ca

Canada

.jp

Japam

.us

USA (not often used)

.sg

Singapore

.it

Italy

.my

Malaysia

.fr

France

.ch

China

.de

Germany

When computers are looking for the site you request, they read from right to left; it is comparable to a postal service reading an envelope from the bottom up. First step is knowing which country is relevant, second step is the area (of the country or of the internet), and so on.

The right hand extension is known as a first level domain and is the controlling feature. Once a URL includes a country code, other extensions are as specified by that country.

For instance, company xyz could have the url www.xyz.com. If it is a British business, it may become www.xyz.co.uk as this is the standard ending for British businesses.

Once you understand some basics of URL naming, you can interpret differences without too much trouble. A little more knowledge about URLs can save you from looking at irrelevant sites. 

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Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses in preparing all written documentation and web site content. Tash also writes articles for magazines, newsletter and websites.

 

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