The original top-level domains (TLDs) that birthed with the internet

These seven TLDs were released in 1984 by the University of Wisconsin and were the first generic TLDs created.

In 1984, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) defined a set of generic top-level domains (TLDs) in RFC 920. These TLDs were intended for general purposes and included the following seven domains:

  • .com: originally dedicated to commercial entities
  • .org: designed for non-profit organizations
  • .net: reserved for network technologies and distributed computer networks
  • .edu: entities that carry out educational activities in the USA, such as universities and colleges
  • .gov: government agencies, but only US agencies
  • .mil: military organizations of the United States Department of Defence
  • .arpa: The .arpa TLD was temporary and intended for the transition from ARPANET to the Internet. It is no longer widely use
  • .int: limited to internationally active organizations, companies, and projects

.com

The first “.com” domain was registered on March 15, 1985. It was a significant milestone in the development of the internet and paved the way for the widespread use of commercial websites. Since then, the .com domain has become the most popular and widely recognized top-level domain for commercial websites. The first .com domain registered was symbolics.com on 15th March, 1985.

.org

The .org domain was released in 1985. The first .org registered domain name was mitre.org, registered in July 1985 by the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that runs Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFDCs) in the United States.

.edu

The .edu top-level domain (TLD) was introduced on 1st of January, 1985. It was one of the original generic top-level domains (gTLDs) created in 1984-1985, along with .com, .org, .net, .gov, .mil, and .int. Initially, .edu was open for registration by educational entities from any region, with the goal of creating a domain name hierarchy for organizations focused on education. The first .edu domains were registered in April 1985 by six universities; namely UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, Purdue, Rice, UC Berkeley, and University of Southern California respectively. Until 2001, .edu registrations were available worldwide. Since then, new registrations have been restricted to accredited U.S. postsecondary institutions. The .edu domain is currently managed by Educause under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

.gov

The .gov top-level domain (TLD) was introduced on January 1, 1985. The first .gov domain registered was css.gov in June 1985. .gov is a sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) administered by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The General Services Administration (GSA) managed .gov from 1997 until 2021, when responsibility was transferred to CISA under the DOTGOV Online Trust in Government Act. The .gov domain was initially restricted to only U.S. federal government agencies. However, in May 2002, the General Services Administration (GSA) proposed a change that would open registration to state, local, and tribal governments in the United States. This change went into effect in March 2003, allowing these entities to register .gov domains.

.mil

The .mil domain was released on the 1st of January, 1985. The first .mil domain registered was darpa.mil on January 1, 1985.

.net

The .net top-level domain (TLD) was released on the 1st of January, 1985. The first .net domain registered was nordu.net on 1st of January, 1985. It was created by NORDU.net, a Nordic Infrastructure for Research and Education. .net was quickly adopted by businesses in various industries and saw strong growth in the early 2000s during the .com boom.

.int

The .int top-level domain was released in 1986. The .INT domain is primarily used for international treaty-based organizations and entities with observer status at the United Nations. The .INT domain is not open for general registration and is exclusively reserved for international treaty-based organizations and UN agencies, which sets it apart from other top-level domains with a unique and exclusive space for these entities on the internet.

Additional info

On the 1st of January, 1984, ARPANET was divided into MILNET and ARPANET, the former being a new branch designed for military use. CSNET was upgraded from the 56 kbps lines to T1 1.5 Mbps lines. This upgrade came with a name change to NSFNET, while old lines of the network maintained the CSNET name. Dr. Jon Postel came up with the idea for the naming of websites as .com, .org, .edu, etc. As of the 1st of November, 1991 CSNET was dismantled to give space to NSFNET. 1st November, 1992, the World Wide Web was released and NSFNET’s backbone is upgraded to T3, to a speed of 45 Mbps.

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