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ENGL 102 - English Composition II- Khanzhina: Website Evaluation

Types of Top Level Domains and their Uses

As a starting point for evaluating websites, one might use the part of the web address immediately after the "dot" (for example, .com) to try to determine the reliability of the information. This part of the address (or URL) is called a "top-level domain" that someone asks to have when creating their website. The websites you most frequently visit have top-level domains, or TLDs, that likely fall into one of the following categories:

  • Country Codes - two letter representation for a country, individual countries determine who may receive a wesbite within their country code
  • Unrestricted - three or more letter, no requirements necessary for a website ending with these TLDs
  • Sponsored - three or more letters, a Sponsoring organization determines what requirements must be met and regulates whether they are met before allowing that website to exist.
This table provides some common top-level domains, the category they fall into, and their typical usage
TLD Category A site with this TLD can be registered by...
.com Unrestricted Anyone
.edu Sponsored An accredited US-based college or university approved by EDUCAUSE
.gov Sponsored federal, state, or local governments within the US approved by an independent government agency
.net Unrestricted Anyone
.org Unrestricted Anyone
.va Country Code officials of the Vatican
.za Country Code mainly South African citizens and businesses, but no policy excludes others from registering

C.R.A.A.P. Test & Evaluating Resources

Use the CRAAP Test method to determine if a web resource is right for you. Evaluate sources based on the following points:
CRAAP MethodCRAAP Method

  • Currency: When was the information published? Is it up to date?
  • Relevance: Is the information what you're really looking for? Who is the material written for: academics, professionals, students, or the general public?
  • Authority: Who published, wrote, or edited the information? Is the author an expert on the topic?
  • Accuracy: Is the information reliable and accurate? Do other sources verify this information?
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of the information? Is it biased to one point of view?