Welcome to the Treehouse Community

Want to collaborate on code errors? Have bugs you need feedback on? Looking for an extra set of eyes on your latest project? Get support with fellow developers, designers, and programmers of all backgrounds and skill levels here with the Treehouse Community! While you're at it, check out some resources Treehouse students have shared here.

Looking to learn something new?

Treehouse offers a seven day free trial for new students. Get access to thousands of hours of content and join thousands of Treehouse students and alumni in the community today.

Start your free trial

Digital Literacy How the Web Works The World Wide Web Domain Names and IP Addresses

yaseen kabeer
yaseen kabeer
700 Points

Just like .com is a top level domain and represents the country you live in what does .net , .edu and .org signify ?

also how are above mentioned top level domains different from one other

and what does top level domains like .uk or .jp or .us really mean ? is it just to show that the website is of that particular country or does it have a purpose ?

1 Answer

Hi there,

They serve a couple of purposes. Some are obvious - allowing there to be more domain names is a big one! There's also the inescapable fact that selling domains and being a registrar is business and releasing new top level domains every now and then makes money, as people want to make sure their business owns all common top level domains for redirects, people want vanity domains - .ninja and .io come to mind lol, etc. BUT there are advantages to users as well.

One of these is sponsored/country top level domains. Anyone can usually get a general top level domain, but a sponsored or country TLD, might have restrictions on it that go some way to verifying the owner of the domain.

For example, many top & second level domains have restrictions on who may have one, that provide a level of credibility to your web address. For example, I'm in Australia and I can't register a .com.au domain without an Australian business number. Similarly most educational top level domains require evidence of your education provider credentials, and again with government domains. These domains with additional requirements typically take much longer to register than say a .com or .net domain because of the restrictions from the sponsor, and can cost about 10X the price too!

Of course it's there's always exceptions- did you know that .io doesn't not actually mean "is a tech company"? It's actually the country code for the British Indian Ocean Territory, but unlike .co.uk, .com.au or .jp, .fr, etc it doesn't actually require you to have any presence in the that country/territory to get the domain, so it's really popular with Californian startups because it looks like I/O. It's still priced at the cost of a country domain though lol.

The specific domains you mention, .com and .org are really old. They were intended to mean basically a for profit and a not for profit, but they aren't enforced so really have no meaning - it's just vanity which you choose. Still, as org's non-truncated form is obvious, it's still popular with non-profits.

As for .net, it's really a hang over from the internet bubble days lol. Again it was meant to mean a net company, but wasn't enforced and just became another generic top level domain, typically used if you can't get .com to be honest.

Edu is the only one you mention with an actual enforced meaning. It's the united states top level domain for educational institutions. Those with an .edu domain have verified they're an authorised education provider. Other countries typicaly use a second level domain for this - like .edu.au for australia or .ac.uk for the UK.

yaseen kabeer
yaseen kabeer
700 Points

Thanks Jon , that was really useful