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 http://www.jhu.edu/~jsmith/sports, .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.