General Question

TitsMcGhee's avatar

Why do certain countries have their own internet address endings?

Asked by TitsMcGhee (8255points) April 4th, 2009

I understand the .org and the .net extensions, but why do certain countries have their own? (For example, some web addresses in the Netherlands end in .nl instead of .com or something similar.) Why is this?

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14 Answers

sandystrachan's avatar

Because they are local to that area ? I would guess
Also so people have a clue as to where they are looking .
Again a guess others will help properly

seekingwolf's avatar

Well, it could be used to differentiate between languages. For example, if you’re searching something on English Google, you probably don’t want a bunch of .in (India) sites coming up with everything in Hindu right?

Also, different sites for different countries allows the content to vary. for example, an international cell phone company may offer some services in the UK but not offer them in the US so the content may differ from the .uk address to the .com one. This also explains why there are different Googles for different countries. What may to relevant to one person may not be useful to another.

Mamradpivo's avatar

Every country has Its own domain ending. .com, etc refer to American domains.

By specifying a national ending, it’s easier to route traffic on the Internet. For instance, most people accessing are in China.

ru2bz46's avatar

From the ICANN site: “TLDs with two letters (such as .de, .mx, and .jp) have been established for over 250 countries and external territories and are referred to as “country-code” TLDs or “ccTLDs”. They are delegated to designated managers, who operate the ccTLDs according to local policies that are adapted to best meet the economic, cultural, linguistic, and legal circumstances of the country or territory involved.”

You can find out more than you ever wanted to know about top-level domains here, or about country-code top-level domains here. Yes, they really do have a purpose.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@ru2bz46: So why did we in the US get “com”? Is there a significance to that?

ru2bz46's avatar

.com is for commercial stuff, retail businesses, etc. It’s not just for us; many companies outside the US use .com domains. We even have the .us domain.

funkdaddy's avatar

The number of useful and desirable .com addresses is limited so additional domains were created. One of the easier ways to divide those up is by country, some governments even use it as a resource to pay for public services. (.ws, which is Western Somoa, ended up selling exclusive rights to a company and they get a percentage of each sale)

Many of the more active country TLDs have established something similar to the .com domains but intended for companies doing business in that country ( or are both just extensions of the country domains)... it makes it easier for local companies to get a ‘legit’ sounding domain name…

Besides, this give you more witty possibilities for domain names… like or (which has since bough the .com domain and switched over)...

robmandu's avatar

The .com, .net, .edu, .mil, .gov, etc. domains don’t typically end with .us because, well, the internet was invented in the US (originally known as ARPANET). Like us Americans always do, we think short-sighted and figure if it’s good enough for us, it’s good enough for everyone else.~

BTW, ccTLD’s can be leased out for fun, custom, vanity domains, like:
– : .dm = Dominica
– : .fm = Federated States of Micronesia
– : .tv = Tuvalu

The countries that own those domains are typically small and lease them out of country for the revenue.

ru2bz46's avatar

@robmandu It wasn’t just invented in the US, but by Al Gore the US military. Why would they consider other countries would be using it one day?

robmandu's avatar

that was me being a little sarcastic.

I went back and added a tilde to that sentence to make it clearer.

Jack79's avatar

Well, the US got .com because you guys came up with the idea first. Let’s face it, internet was already widespread in the US when the rest of the world were still trying to connect the phone lines. What people don’t know is that ALL internet is basically a US affair, and it’s from there that all the other addresses (even the national ones) were originally registered. Of course today there are so many servers that, even if all of the US ones (in other words all the .com, .us, .net and .org) were shut down, there would still be some traffic going on. But overall, US servers handle more than half of the world’s communication.

A company in Russia that wants the .ru ending registers locally, but if they want to be a .com, they have to register in America.

wilhel1812's avatar

.com isn’t really american… it’s more of an international thing. i guess the right thing would be to have .us domains, but you made the .edu .mil and .gov ones instead.
yeah, i know .com is american, but it’s used much internationally

Vincentt's avatar

.com might be managed in America, but it’s not America’s – i.e. it’s for commercial organisations across the world to claim one.

When I want to use Google to find Dutch pages, I visit, when I want to visit it internationally (which I do most of the time), I visit If I wanted to find pages from the US, I’d visit, I guess, though I don’t think Google’d be good at that because US websites don’t usually use .us but just go for .com.

Anyway, when I registered my personal domain I explicitly chose .nl because I wanted to emphasize that that website is created from a Dutch point of view. However, the website for an open source project of mine is a .org because, well, it’s a non-profit organisation, sort of.

@wilhel1812 – so there are .us domains :)

(.gov is an odd case though, where the US claimed their own TLD. Though I guess if the ICANN ever decides to allow most any TLD, that won’t really be a problem anymore.)

cwilbur's avatar

The .com/.gov/.mil/.edu/.org/.net distinctions predate the two-letter TLDs.

Basically, there can be only one authoritative search for each top-level domain. So instead of requiring all the domain registrations all over the world to go through the US, there’s an authoritative national registrar for each top-level country domain.

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