Domain names and country codes

Domain names and country codes

URLs and what they mean

The web address (URL) of a site can give you a lot of clues about the quality of the information it contains. Check out the domain name - this will tell you what type of organisation is hosting the website. Also check out the country code - this will tell you in which country the server is based; which will affect the applicability of the information.

Web sites are more likely to contain good quality information if they are hosted by an academic institution or by the Government . Charities and some professional organisations can also contain good quality information but you cannot rely on their domain name (.org) alone as this is not exclusive to charities and professional organisations. Check the rest of the site for more information.

Beware of commerical and business websites - if a site is trying to persuade you to buy something any information it contains may be biased and cannot be relied upon. Beware too of .net sites - they could originate from anyone. Some common domain names are listed below.

Domain name Type of organisation
.ac UK based academic institution
.edu US based academic institution
.gov Government website
.org Non-governmental; not for profit organisation
.co, .com Commercial website
.biz Small business website
.net Internet infrastructure

Country codes and what they mean

The list of country codes is endless! Below are listed some of the most common. If a URL contains no country code it is likely to be a US based site.

Country code Country
.uk United Kingdom
.ie Ireland
.us USA, but often there will be no country code
.au Australia
.nz New Zealand
.ca Canada
.de Germany
.fr France
.it Italy

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