A national domain zone is a collection of domains that have a common letter designation assigned to a specific country in their name and are managed by a local private or government administrator. For example, the zone for Belgium is .be, Brazil is .br, Argentina is .ar.
They often have second level zones. For Ukraine, these are consonant with the general zones com.ua, in.ua, org.ua and regional domains that have received the names of regional centers.
Domain zones have their own rules and history, and we decided to collect little-known interesting facts about national domains of countries around the world.
The small Pacific country of Tuvalu has managed to use its national domain as an asset for development, turning the national zone into a source of stable income. The domain .tv is consonant with the English abbreviation of television, so it is actively registered by large and small TV channels all over the world.
In 1998, the Tuvalu government received an offer to sell the rights to use the domain to Idealab for $50 million, which would be paid in installments over 12 years. For a country with a population of 10,000 people and an area of 26 square kilometers, it was crazy money. They made it possible to build roads and schools, modernize the airport, improve the standard of living of local residents and... join the UN. Before that, the state did not have enough money for the contribution.
Tuvalu is the narrowest country in the world, whose domains are used by television companies
Tuvalu is not the only country that rents out its domain for money. Moldova, the Philippines, Tonga and Turkmenistan did the same.
In 1991, a domain appeared in Antarctica intended for government organizations operating on the territory of the continent. You can get it for free, but only if you have visited Antarctica. One person or legal entity can register only one domain. For legal entities, the condition is activity related to the ice country. But there is an opportunity to register such a domain freely for any inhabitant of the planet — for a certain fee. Now its purchase costs about 2,000 hryvnias.
Niue is a small island in Polynesia where only 1,500 people live. Its .nu national domain is very popular in Europe, especially in Sweden. The name sounds like "nu", which has many meanings and translations - nu means "now" in Dutch, Swedish and Danish languages, it is consonant with the word "new" (new) and French "naked". Therefore, such domains are used for a wide range of topics, in particular for erotic sites.
The paradox of the situation is that in 1997, the American William Semich registered the domain zone for himself and received administrative rights with the permission of the local authorities. He explained to the naive natives that the domain is something like a telephone code and carries no value. Currently, his company NU Domain has an annual turnover of five million.
For the right to use the zone, the company provides the entire country with free Internet, without paying any interest from the sale of domains. The authorities of Niue quickly realized that they lost a serious source of income, so they have been trying to sue the owner of the domain for 20 years. But so far to no avail.
It ranks second after everyone's favorite .com, but if we talk about national domain zones, it is the first among them. Tokelau is a small island archipelago near New Zealand with a population of 1,500 people.
In 2020, more than 27.5 million addresses were registered in the zone. That is, there were 2,700,000 domains for each inhabitant of the island.
Not far from Tokelau, the Chinese domain zone .cn and German .de are lagging behind. It is interesting that German domains are so popular because of cryptocurrencies, because they are associated with the phrase "decentralized finance" - this is a system of finance based on blockchain technology and independent of any states.
The Colombian national domain is popular due to its similarity to the old popular .com domain.
The zone has existed since 1991 and was initially closed to registration by non-residents of Colombia, but since 2010 it has been classified as open.
Some companies use this domain to shorten links — for example, t.co is owned by Twitter and g.co is owned by Google.
The Montenegrin national domain zone .me has existed since 2007 — since the country's full independence, which before that existed in a conglomerate with Serbia. The name of the zone arose from the English name of the country — Montenegro. The country sold the rights to the domain and it now operates as a generic international.
Since the domain is consonant with the English me — "me", it is often used for personal sites. But not only that, many IT giants use this zone to shorten links:
Google Plus (g.me)
WordPress (wp.me) etc
One of the tourist cities of Montenegro is called Bar and has a corresponding domain name - .bar. In 2014, the domains became freely available and also began to work as general ones. This zone is often used to indicate the sites of bars, pubs, night clubs. Of course, addresses are also bought for local web resources.
One-character domains are rare, because the number of options is limited to only 26 letters of the English alphabet and 10 numbers. Therefore, they have long been registered in old domain zones.
It means the number of characters before the period before the name of the domain zone itself. An address containing only one character is technically impossible.
A one-character domain can be registered in the national zone. UA and most Ukrainian second-level zones — com.ua , net.ua , kyiv.ua , etc. In this case, you will receive an inexpensive address worth approximately 300 hryvnias. The same applies to zones of other countries - look for second-level geographical domains, and you will find free one-character addresses in them.
Read also: " TOP-5 Ukrainian domains for the site ".
Domain names appeared in 1985. Since then, many different events have happened, and some of the zones have not been used due to geopolitical processes or for other reasons.
.bv is the domain name of the uninhabited Norwegian island of Bouvet. It is a volcanic island with an area of less than 50 square kilometers. In addition, it is lost in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, in a completely different hemisphere, and the closest land to it is Antarctica (which is 1,600 kilometers away). Norway has never opened a zone for selling domains, so there is no site in it.
.sj is the domain for the arctic archipelago of Svalbard and the volcanic island of Jan Mayen, which belong to Norway. This area has the same story as Bouvet Island. It exists, but has never been opened for registration.
.dd is the domain for the German Democratic Republic, created in 1949 after the division of defeated Germany in two. The .dd domain zone was created in 1988, and the country ceased to exist in 1990 after the unification of the territories. Currently, the domain zone has already been deleted.
.gb is a domain zone for Great Britain, established in 1985. In parallel with it, the domain .uk (United Kingdom) was used, which turned into the main one. Domains in the .gb zone are no longer registered.
But there are also domain zones of non-existent countries that are used. For example, the USSR .su zone still works in Russia.
There are 300 national domain zones in the world, and if you look into the history of each one, you will definitely find something extraordinary.