What is the significance of different domain endings (e.g. .com .co.uk .net)

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Top Level Domains (TLD)

There are three types of top-level domains:

TLD – Top Level Domains

The most common extensions that you’re probably familiar with. They include .com, .net and .org domains.

ccTLD - Country code domain name extensions

These are usually 2 characters. Some of the ccTLD extensions that you’re probably familiar with are .de for Germany, .fr for France, and .cn for China.  Since the beginning of the Internet it was not possilbe to register .uk by itself - it had to have a sub-level such as .co.uk or .org.uk  - However this has changed in June 2014 - (see the end of this article below)

gTLD - generic Top Level Domains

These are usually 3 or more letters such as .biz .info, .name .mobi

What do the Domain Endings Mean?

There are hundreds of domain endings  - however if you are a company trading in the UK we recommend you get at least the .co.uk, .com and the newer .uk versions.  Here is a brief explanation of the most common domain endings:

.com (Commercial) – The DotCom is generally intended for commercial use. This is the premium extension and by far the most recognised and most difficult to get.

.co.uk (United Kingdom) – If you run a business in the United Kingdom you really should get a .co.uk domain.  However you don't have to be a business, you may use a .co.uk domain for your personal use..

.net (Network) – This was originally intended for network oriented organisations such as internet service providers, Telecommunications and IT companies. This definitely isn’t the case any longer. Anyone can register a .net for example for a memorable domain such as fishing.net or tennis.net

.org (Organization) – This extension was originally intended for non-profit or Charitable organisations. Again, anybody can register this

.org.uk (Organization in the UK) – This is the UK version originally intended for non-profit or Charitable organisations. Anybody can register this.

.biz (Business) – This is a gTLD that is generally registered  to classify their website as a business.  It can be used to symbolise B2B (Business to Business) companies.

.info (Informational) – This gTLD is generally used as an extension for informational websites or knowledge-base.

.mobi (Mobile) – This domain extension tends to be used for mobile versions of websites. However many owners have registered their .mobi domain name merely to protect their brand.

.tv (Television) – used primarily for media, primarily video, related websites.  (interestingly the domain belongs to the island of Tuvalu who happen to have been assigned this domain)

.ws (Website) – Another domain that is actually a ccTLD for Western Samoa but was converted to a domain extension commonly used as an acronym for ‘website’. Not very commonly used (yet)

.name (NAME) – This is a gTLD that’s intended for personal use. You’ll find that this extension is used for personal / family websites or simply used for name related email addresses.

.eu (Euopean) – This is a ccTLD reserved for European wide businesses.

.co (Columbia - Now General) – Originally reserved for Columbia this domain ending has recently become available for anybody to register - Useful if you cannot get the ideal .com

.uk (United Kingdom) - Only since June 2014 has it been possible to register the direct .uk domain More about .uk domains