Cyber Geography - Internet Country Codes Explained

There is a Code for Each Nation

One of the tabs on your My Account page on HubPages is the My Traffic page which shows how many of the people who visited your Hubs found them.

Google.com is obviously a major source of traffic for all of us and Google.com is used by people all over the world.

However, you may find that not all of the users of Google who visited you came from Google.com. Oh, they may have come from Google, but the domain shows as Google.ca or Google.in or Google.de, etc. The same for AOL, Yahoo and other websites – they end in something other than the usual .com, .org or .net.

What is the difference between Google.com and Google.de? In addition to the fact that the .de stands for Deutschland (Germany) and the site is in German, the main difference is the Top Level Domain name or TLD.

The top level domain refers to the letters following the dot or period at the end of the name. Every page on the web has a unique name. The top level domain is the first large grouping or division of names. By using top level domains we can re-use other parts of the name so long as the top level domain is different.

This is similar to a telephone number in which we start with an area code and then an exchange and finally, the individual subscriber's number as follows (area code) exchange-number in the format (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

If we only used a four digit number, then the number of telephones would be limited to 9,999 since we only have the numbers 0001 – 9999 available. By adding a three digit exchange, we can now theoretically have 999 times 9999 individual telephone numbers since the 9,999 individual telephone numbers can be repeated 999 times with all of them unique, since each individual number appears only once in each individual exchange. Adding a three digit area code expands our numbers by another factor of 999.

Dr. Jonathan B. Postel                        August 6, 1943 - October 16, 1998
Dr. Jonathan B. Postel August 6, 1943 - October 16, 1998

Top Level Domains Expand Domain Name Possibilities

The same is true for Internet addresses. There can only be one page named Chuck If there were more than one then when a person typed in the Chuck address, the computer would not know which Chuck. site the user wanted. By adding a top level domain we were able to have more than one site named Chuck.

The original top level domains were:

.com for commercial

.gov which is reserved for the U.S. government (which created the Internet during the Cold War)

.mil which is reserved for the U.S. military (one of the original creators of the Internet)

.edu for educational institutions

.org or non-profit organizations

The Origin of the Country Codes

In 1984 Jon Postel and J. Reynolds proposed that the top level domain name system be expanded to include country names.

Seeking simplicity, Postel and Reynolds suggested using the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 list of country code abbreviations. This is an internationally agreed upon list of 2 character country codes identifying all of the countries and outlying territories in the world.

The beauty of this list was, first, its use of a simple two-character abbreviation (in the Latin Alphabet) for each country, and, second, the fact that it was already used by governments and businesses around the world for routing and identifying things by country.

Back in 1984 the Internet was still mainly a government operation and the creation of the world wide web (which made the Internet easily accessible to anyone with a computer and a telephone as well as opening it to commercial use) was still ten years away. Thus, the addition of country code top level domain names was no big deal and remained no big deal even after the Internet went public and commercial.

The .com top level domain name initially served the needs of all of the early users of the Internet. But now all of the logical name configurations for .com and its smaller cousin .net have been taken and there is new interest in the country codes.

In addition to recognized sovereign nations, the abbreviations on the ISO 3166-1 list of country code abbreviations also include abbreviations for outlying territories such as Guam (.gu) and Puerto Rico (.pr), which are outlying territories of the U.S as well as outlying territories of other nations. Further, the abbreviations of some relatively unknown countries or territories can easily be mistaken for something else. For instance, here are three top level domains with their corresponding country name as well as what web users are more likely to associate them with:

.pw Palu Personal Website

.tv Tuvalu Television and entertainment

.ws Western Samoa Web Site

Unlike many country codes, these codes can be used by anyone, not just those with a presence in these countries. In fact, most of the locals in these countries, which are very small, don't use these codes for their websites, but their governments are looking to them for the revenue generated from people who register domain names using these TLDs.

For the United States there is the .us which is used mostly by schools and local governments but can be used for individual and commercial users. Like many, but not all country code top level domain names, users of the .us TLD must have a presence in the U.S. One very creative use of the .us is del.ico.us or Delicious, the social networking site for storing and sharing web URLs (and, as many of us HubPages writers use it for, promoting our hubs).

Going back to Google and other search engines that use country codes as well as .com, these companies operate world-wide and have set up domains using country codes both to prevent others from stealing their name for that TLD as well as to appeal to users in these counties, especially where the language of the country is not English, as the instructions and other wording on the site are in the name of the country (go to Google.fr and you will see that it looks the same as Google.com except that it is in French).

Of course anyone can use any Google they want but, more than likely, if you see visits to your hubs from Google.in or AOL.co.uk the visitor is accessing you from India or the United Kingdom. If you see large or increasing numbers of visitors from certain countries you might want to take that into consideration and start targeting some of your hubs toward that population.

Meanwhile, if you see a country code and don't know what country it represents or, if you just want to check out all the different places in the world with their own top level domain names see the text modules below for a complete listing of the current TLDs in use.

.CG to .GH

.cg – Congo, Republic of

.ch – Switzerland

.ci – Cote d'Ivoire

.ck – Cook Islands

.cl – Chile

.cm – Cameroon

.cn – China

.co – Colombia

.cr – Costa Rica

.cu – Cuba

.cv – Cape Verde

.cx – Christmas Island

.cy – Cyprus

.cz – Czech Republic

.de – Germany

.dj – Djibouti

.dk – Denmark

.dm – Dominica

.do – Dominican Republic

.dz – Algeria

.ec – Ecuador

.ee – Estonia

.eg – Egypt

.eh – Western Sahara

.er – Eritrea

.es – Spain

.et – Ethiopia

.eu – European Union

.fi – Finland

.fj – Fiji

.fk – Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

.fm – Micronesia, Federated States of

.fo – Faroe Islands

.fr – France

.ga – Gabon

.gb – United Kingdom

.gd – Grenada

.ge – Georgia

.gf – French Guiana

.gg – Guernsey

.gh – Ghana

.gi - Gibraltar

.AC to .CF

.ac – Ascension Island

.ad – Andorra

.ae – United Arab Emirates

.af – Afghanistan

.ag – Antigua and Barbuda

.ai – Anguilla

.al – Albania

.am – Armenia

.an – Netherlands Antilles

.ao – Angola

.aq – Antarctica

.ar – Argentina

.as – American Samoa

.at – Austria

.au – Australia

.aw – Aruba

.ax – Aland Islands

.az – Azerbaijan

.ba – Bosnia and Herzegovina

.bb – Barbados

.bd – Bangladesh

.be – Belgium

.bf – Burkina Faso

.bg – Bulgaria

.bh – Bahrain

.bi – Burundi

.bj – Benin

.bm – Bermuda

.bn – Brunei Darussalam

.bo – Bolivia

.br – Brazil

.bs – Bahamas

.bt – Bhutan

.bv – Bouvet Island

.bw – Botswana

.by – Belarus

.bz – Belize

.ca – Canada

.cc – Cocos (Keeling) Islands

.cd – Congo, The Democratic Republic of the

.cf – Central African Republic

.KZ to .NO

.kz – Kazakhstan

.la – Lao People's Democratic Republic

.lb – Lebanon

.lc – Saint Lucia

.li – Liechtenstein

.lk – Sri Lanka

.lr – Liberia

.ls – Lesotho

.lt – Lithuania

.lu – Luxembourg

.lv – Latvia

.ly – Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

.ma – Morocco

.mc – Monaco

.md – Moldova, Republic of

.me – Montenegro

.mg – Madagascar

.mh – Marshall Islands

.mk – Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of .

.ml – Mali

.mm – Myanmar

.mn – Mongolia

.mo – Macao

.mp – Northern Mariana Islands

.mq – Martinique

.mr – Mauritania

.ms – Montserrat

.mt – Malta

.mu – Mauritius

.mv – Maldives

.mw – Malawi

.mx – Mexico

.my – Malaysia

.mz – Mozambique

.na – Namibia

.nc – New Caledonia

.ne – Niger

.nf – Norfolk Island

.ng – Nigeria

.ni – Nicaragua

.nl – Netherlands

.no – Norway

.nz - New Zealand

.GL to .KY

.gl – Greenland

.gm – Gambia

.gn – Guinea

.gp – Guadeloupe

.gq – Equatorial Guinea

.gr – Greece

.gs – South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

.gt – Guatemala

.gu – Guam

.gw – Guinea-Bissau

.gy – Guyana

.hk – Hong Kong

.hm – Heard and McDonald Islands

.hn – Honduras

.hr – Croatia/Hrvatska

.ht – Haiti

.hu – Hungary

.id – Indonesia

.ie – Ireland

.il – Israel

.im – Isle of Man

.in – India

.io – British Indian Ocean Territory

.iq – Iraq

.ir – Iran, Islamic Republic of

.is – Iceland

.it – Italy

.je – Jersey

.jm – Jamaica

.jo – Jordan

.jp – Japan

.ke – Kenya

.kg – Kyrgyzstan

.kh – Cambodia

.ki – Kiribati

.km – Comoros

.kn – Saint Kitts and Nevis

.kp – Korea, Democratic People's Republic

.kr – Korea, Republic of

.kw – Kuwait

.ky – Cayman Islands

.TD to .ZW

.td – Chad

.tf – French Southern Territories

.tg – Togo

.th – Thailand

.tj – Tajikistan

.tk – Tokelau

.tl – Timor-Leste

.tm – Turkmenistan

.tn – Tunisia

.to – Tonga

.tp – East Timor

.tr – Turkey

.tt – Trinidad and Tobago

.tv – Tuvalu

.tw – Taiwan

.tz – Tanzania

.ua – Ukraine

.ug – Uganda

.uk – United Kingdom

 

.um – United States Minor Outlying Islands

.us – United States

.uy – Uruguay

.uz – Uzbekistan

.va – Holy See (Vatican City State)

.vc – Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

.ve – Venezuela

.vg – Virgin Islands, British

.vi – Virgin Islands, U.S.

.vn – Vietnam .vu – Vanuatu

.wf – Wallis and Futuna Islands

.ws – Samoa

.ye – Yemen

.yt – Mayotte

.yu – Yugoslavia

.za – South Africa

.zm – Zambia

.zw – Zimbabwe

.OM to .UK

.om – Oman

.pa – Panama

.pe – Peru

.pf – French Polynesia

.pg – Papua New Guinea

.ph – Philippines

.pk – Pakistan

.pl – Poland

.pm – Saint Pierre and Miquelon

.pn – Pitcairn Island

.pr – Puerto Rico

.ps – Palestinian Territory, Occupied

.pt – Portugal

.pw – Palau

.py – Paraguay

.qa – Qatar

.re – Reunion Island

.ro – Romania

.rs – Serbia

.ru – Russian Federation

.rw – Rwanda

.sa – Saudi Arabia

.sb – Solomon Islands

.sc – Seychelles

.sd – Sudan

.se – Sweden

.sg – Singapore

.sh – Saint Helena

.si – Slovenia

.sj – Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands

.sk – Slovak Republic

.sl – Sierra Leone

.sm – San Marino

.sn – Senegal

.so – Somalia

.sr – Suriname

.st – Sao Tome and Principe

.su – Soviet Union (being phased out)

.sv – El Salvador

.sy – Syrian Arab Republic

.sz – Swaziland

.tc – Turks and Caicos Islands

© 2007 Chuck Nugent

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8 comments

EdenBlue971 profile image

EdenBlue971 2 years ago from Sainte-Anne, Guadeloupe

Thanks for this listing, but non information about city TLD, like .paris for example


Myrtonos 5 years ago

Here is a difference I noticed between telephone area and country calling codes on one hand and internet counter codes on the other. With a domestic phone call, one only dials the subcriber number, if calling within the same numbering plan area or, if calling someone in another numbering plan area, one dials the area code and then the subscriber number. The country calling codes are only needed for international calls. But the internet equivelant must be entered even for domestic access.


thecoventgarden profile image

thecoventgarden 7 years ago from Berlin, Germany

Very nice and simple. Thanks for sharing.


maverickmonk profile image

maverickmonk 7 years ago from india

very useful info...


Raven King profile image

Raven King 8 years ago from Cabin Fever

Cool site. Vecernji List is my favorite Croatian website. It makes a very big difference when a search engine delivers a .com instead of a .hr website.


Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

RAOOF - the code for the UAE (United Arab Emirates is .ae In this article I have listed the codes alphabetically by code. For a listing in alphabetical order by country or territory please go to this companion article: http://nugent-economics.blogspot.com/2007/07/inter...


RAOOF 9 years ago

NEED UAE CODE


Dr. J 9 years ago

Useful list and well written info...thanks for this :-)

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