What Is a Domain Extension?

A domain extension is the final part of a top-level domain name. Common domain extensions include .com, .co.uk and .org.

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A History of Domain Extensions

Domain extensions have existed since 1984. The first domain extensions to be introduced were .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org and .net. These were soon followed by the first country-specific domain extensions – .uk and .us. The .int domain extension appeared a few years later. No further non-geographic domain extensions were to appear until 1998.

Do Domain Names Have to Be Written in English?

Domain extensions do not have to be written in the Latin script. Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are domain names that contain at least one character that is not present in the English alphabet. IDNs are stored in the Domain Name System as ASCII code using the Punycode representation of Unicode. IDNs include words that are written in the Latin alphabet but contain non-English diacritics or words from languages that are written in scripts other than Latin (e.g. Devanagari, Thai or Cyrillic).

Choosing the Right Domain Extension

It’s important to choose the right domain extension for your website. Websites such as https://www.names.co.uk/domain-names can make this process less confusing.

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Geographic Domain Extensions

Country-specific domain extensions are well known, having expanded well beyond the original .uk and .us extensions. It’s now possible to register a domain extension relating to a country (e.g. .ad for Andorra, or .zw for Zimbabwe), for a region (e.g. .saarland) or a city (e.g. .moscow).

Some geographic locations can choose between multiple domain extensions. A Welsh website, for example, could choose between a .wales extension and a .cymru one. You may wish to buy domain extensions in both languages in order to promote your business and protect your intellectual property rights.

Finally, more generic, non-country specific locations can be incorporated into domain extensions. Examples of this include .town or .here.

Business Domain Extensions

Domain extensions do not have to be linked to geographic locations. They can also be linked to organisations or businesses, such as .ac.uk for UK universities or .navy for defence contractors.

You could use a domain extension to promote the items your business sells by incorporating it into your website’s domain name. A large range of business domain extensions are available, ranging from .pizza (used by pizza parlours) to .ink (for printing and tattoo parlours) and .plumbing (for plumbers).

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