Why does the US have top-level domains like .gov, .mil and others, while other nations can only use second level domains for their government agencies? It might seem an easy question, but I think it is interesting to know details that possibly are not written on Wikipedia.

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    Because ARPANET was a US government sponsored project, but I'm not sure I'd call the second level domains "bad". – Semaphore Dec 29 '20 at 22:15
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    Same reason that postal stamps for all nations except Britain must have country codes. First mover's privilege. see quora - although someone could probably find a better citation – MCW Dec 29 '20 at 22:30
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    RFC 920 set out the specifications of generic top-level domains in 1984, administered by DARPA, which as @Semaphore points out, is a US Government agency. – Spencer Dec 29 '20 at 23:12
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    @JDoe More likely, there was no "decision". It was just assumed, since they were administered by the US military. – Spencer Dec 29 '20 at 23:43
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    @gktscrk that's an useless motivation for closing a question. Even a simple question can be answered with lots of useful material and details. – J. Doe Dec 30 '20 at 14:18

The Internet started as a project of the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency, under the name "ARPANET". The original five top-level domains (.com, .org, .edu, .gov, and .mil) date from 1984, when the network was still almost exclusively a US-only project.

  • I went and did a wee bit of research on that "almost". It looks like University College, London was on the ARPANET for a while. Couldn't find anyone else on a quick search, but I'd be shocked if there wasn't a Canadian university or two on there. But otherwise, yes it would have been almost entirely US-resident nodes. – T.E.D. Dec 30 '20 at 1:19
  • @T.E.D., NORSAR (Norway) was also an off-and-on part of ARPANET at the time. – Mark Dec 30 '20 at 1:27
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    Yup, you called it. Those were the first two – T.E.D. Dec 30 '20 at 1:27

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