For example UK has co.uk while still use 3 letters in other top-level domains like org.uk .

Germany use only .de.

Look at that list for example:


  • 3
    It's because every country can make up their own rules. So they do. – yoonix Oct 25 '16 at 1:58
  • 1
    You even have two level tld, like .qc.ca (Quebec province in Canada ..) – yagmoth555 Oct 25 '16 at 2:07

There are various types of TLDs which are assigned by IANA, time-to-time to organizations (or to countries).

Some of the TLDs are -

- gTLDs -- Generic Top Level Domain; like .com, .edu, .org, .net and various others
- ccTLDs -- Country-code Top Level Domain; reserved by IANA for the countries and are managed by the country NIC (or NIXI or others).

.tv is one of very famous ccTLD assigned to Tuvalu, a small island in Pacific Ocean. Through name, it look like that this domain is related to Television but its not the case. It is a ccTLD.
.ly is also one of very famous ccTLD.

Similarly, .uk is the ccTLD assigned to UK by ICANN.

Its generally depends on government to government policies, as which top level domain they will use for their country specific purposes. And also it also depends which TLD is famous in their region and this generally influence the selection criteria of the residents of that while going for procuring a domain for their own usage.

It may be case that, .co.uk is more famous (or more preferred) in UK; In my region .com is the most preferred one and majority of sites of my region are hosted on .com TLD.

Look at that list for example:


This list contains domains used by Google in various regions. It doesn't mean that UK has .co.uk cc TLD. It's just a google choice that they are using google.co.uk in UK region instead of google.uk.

If you query for google.uk; it will show that google also own this domain also.

Kansals-MacBook:~ Kansal$ dig google.uk
; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>> google.uk
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 51848
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 0, AUTHORITY: 1, ADDITIONAL: 0

;google.uk.         IN  A

google.uk.      122 IN  SOA ns1.googledomains.com. dns-admin.google.com. 1342179275 21600 3600 1209600 300

;; Query time: 46 msec
;; WHEN: Tue Oct 25 10:55:30 2016
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 101
Kansals-MacBook:~ Kansal$

Hope this helps!!!


Because not all TLD's are tied to a country. Like .org or .biz or .dating etc.

See here: List of Internet Top Level Domains

Back in the very early days of the internet the DNS name had far fewer TLD's. For a little bit of history read this. Top level domain names evolved over time.

Additionally, an organisation controls each TLD. e.g. in my country NZ the Domain Name Commission controls the .nz domain. The DNC has decided that there should be a .org.nz a .net.nz a .co.nz (not .com.nz) etc.

Think of it this way, if you held a domain like .example.com. You decide what subdomains there could be and could delegate control of those subdomains to someone else. You could create .com.example.com and hand control of everything about .com.example to another party. But that party cannot alter .org.example.com. They only have the ability to alter .com.example.com. It's like you are the registrar for the .example.com domain.

Does that make sense?

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