Website Domains

Examining the URL (address) can give clues to the authority of a source. One part of the URL’s domain is the host, a three-letter suffix indicating the type of domain:

higher education college or university
government agency or organization
commercial organization
network provider
non-profit organization
international organization

Knowing the origin of a webpage can help evaluate the legitimacy of a page, e.g., if it claims to be a government site, does it have a .gov domain?

The top domains for accurate information are .gov, .edu, .org, but...

In the example, .edu indicates the host is an educational institution, in this case Johns Hopkins University. While this sounds very reputable, the tilde (~) after the type of domain usually indicates a personal web page rather than part of the organization's official website.

The example indicates the site is a file about sports in the folder of someone named jsmith. J. Smith could be an instructor or coach with valuable information to share, or J. Smith might be a student with only unfounded opinions. Extra scrutiny should be applied to such sites.

You can usually erase everything after the three-letter suffix to get to the main page of a site. This can be a valuable location to find out information about the website and its producer(s).

To find out where a domain is registered, you can use the WHOIS? search from Network solutions.