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Arkansas State University

Searching the Internet: Domain Names

How to find information on the Internet.

Domain Names

While one of the great things about the Internet is that anyone can make a web page, the disadvantage is that the Web is filled with tons of wrong information. When using the Internet to find information, make sure to pay attention to the site you are visiting. You can learn a lot about a site just from how their domain (the main web address) ends. Here are some major domain extensions:

.gov = government     .org = organizational   .mil = military               .net = network
.edu = educational              .com = commercial              .biz = business    

Domain names give insight into the type of website you are visiting.  For example, only state and federal governmental sites get to end with .gov; only educational websites get to end with .edu (i.e.; and only military sites get to end with .mil (i.e.  The other domain names aren't so clear cut.  Anyone can make an .org, .com or .net website. 


Why is this important?

Because the Web is such an easy place for people to find information, it is also an ideal place for scammers.  Sometimes you may just come across misinformation, other times you may across computer viruses or scams which may cost you money or steal your identity. 

An example:

You need information about a government program but you find two websites with completely different information.  One website ends with .gov while the other ends with .com.  Because you know that only legit government websites can end in .gov and anyone can make a .com website, you know that the .gov website contains the correct information.