Somewhat unbelievably, the internet as we know it has now been around for over 25 years. Since the world wide web was founded and spread its ethereal arms back in the late 80s and early 90s, things have never quite been the same.
The internet has come a long way, of course, growing from a simple network to the service enabling super-mobile global business. One thing that remains as a remnant of those halcyon days are the domains. Many were established prior to the world wide web, and remain to this day, the foundation for innovative websites.
The Original – .gov
Alongside some of the more common addresses, like .net and .org, is the .gov address, one of the oldest domains on the internet. Typically used for federal and state government, these domains have always been workmanlike and functional. However, many states – particularly those with burgeoning tourist industries – have started to implement cutting edge designs.
Take Hawaii’s federal web service, for example, that has not only implemented clean and clear web design but made it backwards compatible for those not able to use modern browsers.
Most websites these days use .com, the most popular domain. Whilst initially designed purely for commercial entities, with Symbolics.com occupying that first, initial space, .com domains are now the hallmark of anything that isn’t entitled to a specific domain – like the .edu and .gov domains.
It is also the de facto top-level domain name for the USA (although Boston, Miami, New York City, and Las Vegas now have their own domain).
There are countless cutting edge designs for .com websites, but perhaps one of the best is the mobile first trend. With more and more internet users going smartphone-first, implementing voice recognition and touch compatibility at every level of site design is the key for 2018.
Networks and Orgs
The .net and .org domains were designed for two purposes. One, for communicative networks and forums; and the latter, for non-governmental organizations and corporations. Like the company top level domain, their actual usage has been very different, though nobody really seems to mind.
One of the oldest .net websites out there, and a cautionary tale of poor web design, is the decidedly unfortunate arngren.net. The design is so cluttered and out-there, it’s almost good. In terms of modern design, .net domains are spoiled as the historic vanguard of innovative and forward-thinking web design.
Domains have been around forever, and with no end in sight of the ones that can be registered, the innovation will never stop as long as human beings are using the internet for creative pursuits.