Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Jul 13, 2017     Views: 75

The domain is the end-part of the web site address. Most U.S.-based web sites use the following domains: .com, .org, .edu, and .gov. When evaluating websites, it's important to pay attention to the domain--this can provide valuable information about what the website may be used for, what information is available on the website, and how reliable it may be.

For example: compare Weather.com with Weather.gov. Both happen to be trusted web sites with good information. Weather.com is from the popular and well-known Weather Channel, while Weather.gov is from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a government agency.

The following is a description of the most popular Internet domains:

DOMAIN EXTENSION EXAMPLE MOST COMMONLY USED FOR TYPE OF INFORMATION AVAILABLE RELIABILITY
.com CNN: http://www.cnn.com/ commercial entity, business, or anything else Could be anything (this is a non-restrictive domain); many media outlets end in .com Low - Needs thorough evaluation
.org American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/ organization, non-profit, or anything else Could be anything (this is a non-restrictive domain); professional and medical organizations often use this domain Low - Needs thorough evaluation
.edu Southern New Hampshire University: http://www.snhu.edu/ educational institutions Information about the institution, content created by professionals working at the institution (be careful - some institutions allow non-experts to develop content for their websites) Medium - Needs evaluation
.gov U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov/ Government agency or department Local, City, State, & Federal information (information on these domains are regulated and require certification to be used) High - Needs some evaluation

For more information about domain extensions check out IANA: Root Zone Database and the video below.

Click here for more information about evaluation websites and other sources.

You may also want to consider:

Media

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