The humble domain name has come a long way since its inception and has evolved as quickly as the internet itself. Companies and individuals have adopted the domain name as a part of their identity and creative use of domain extensions has become part of internet culture.
In short, the domain is responsible for making long strings of numbers easily memorable by performing a lookup and converting the human readable domain to an IP address, which computers understand. This is a fundamental building block of the modern internet. Without it, we’d have to remember the numbers of our favourite websites, and not their internet address.
A new set of domain extensions has recently been released for registration, but how did this come about and what does it mean for us?
What Is a Domain Extension?
Without getting too technical, let’s quickly look at what a domain is and how it’s structured. A domain has two central elements, which are the domain name and the domain extension. The domain name is unique to you or the company. It’s the name that you choose to be your domain name, usually the company or organisation name. It can be anything that hasn’t already been used by someone else.
More from Tech
- London Tech Week: Cementing The UK’s Future As A Digital Leader
- Precision Projection Mapping Made The Platinum Party at the Palace Truly Pop
- When Do You Call It A Day On A Start-up?
- BotsAndUs Secures $13M Seed Financing – Robots and AI
- The Evolution Of Travel Apps And Solo Travel
- Scottish-based AI business Aveni announces further £2.75 million investment
- Digital Signage for Enterprise: How to Manage 100+ Screens
- Could Mobile Robotics Benefit Employees?
The domain extension is the very last part of the internet address and denotes what country or subject you can expect the website to contain. Commercial businesses traditionally use the .com domain extension to denote a relation to a company, and this domain today makes up just over 50% of all registered internet domains. The more specific a domain extension, the more identifiable it becomes; for example, government websites traditionally use .gov and educational institutions use .edu.
Country Top Level Domains
Traditionally, domain extensions were largely made up of country-specific extensions. For example, if your website was primarily intended for use by those in the United Kingdom, you’d use the UK specific top level domain .uk (most commonly the company-specific version of this is .co.uk). The same applies to almost every other country on Earth; .it for Italy, .ca for Canada, .nz for New Zealand, .za for South Africa, etc.
This country based top level domain system has been a hallmark of the internet for decades, but suddenly a new wave of creative domain names using this system started to emerge by using different country level domains to signify an industry. Suddenly, tiny countries without much internet presence started to get a wave of domain registration requests. Two notable examples of this are the Federated States of Micronesia (.fm) and Tuvalu (.tv). Radio stations and TV channels respectively started buying these domains to give their website addresses a bit of extra flair. To give you an idea how popular this became, Tuvalu selling .tv domains is how they raised the millions of dollars in required funds to join the United Nations.
This clever use of country-based top-level domains gave rise to the idea of personalised, industry specific domain extensions.
A New Wave of Domain Extensions
You might have started to see some new rather specific domains popping up online, which are growing quickly in popularity, and for good reason.
Here are some examples:
There are the more generic domains, like .online, which is commonly being used to denote the online or primarily online nature of a business; a prime example of which is the Casino.online domain.
There are also industry specific domain extensions, like .accountant and .construction which give visitors a really quick and specific idea of the industry of the business registering these domains. Some non-business focused domain extensions, like .ninja and .website offer anyone who wants something more creative for their company or personal internet presence.
Very specific domain extensions like .apple or .volvo for companies with a large online presence to use exclusively for their brands and associated websites and services.
As you can quickly tell, the business of internet domains is one that changes and evolves constantly as the internet becomes more and more intertwined in our daily lives and has come a long way from the original handful of domain extensions available to register. These days there is a list of hundreds of options for companies or individuals to register their own personal internet address, and the only limit is creativity.