Zen and the Art of the Internet

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Getting where you want to go can often be one of the more difficult
aspects of using networks.  The variety of ways that places are named
will probably leave a blank stare on your face at first.  Don't fret;
there is a method to this apparent madness.
If someone were to ask for a home address, they would probably expect
a street, apartment, city, state, and zip code.  That's all the
information the post office needs to deliver mail in a reasonably
speedy fashion.  Likewise, computer addresses have a structure to
them.  The general form is:
a person's email address on a computer: user@somewhere.domain
a computer's name: somewhere.domain
The user portion is usually the person's account name on the
system, though it doesn't have to be.  somewhere.domain tells
you the name of a system or location, and what kind of organization it
is. The trailing domain is often one of the following:
Usually a company or other commercial institution or organization,
like Convex Computers (
An educational institution, e.g. New York University, named
A government site; for example, NASA is
A military site, like the Air Force (
Gateways and other administrative hosts for a network (it does not
mean all of the hosts in a network). {The Matrix, 111.  One such
gateway is}
This is a domain reserved for private organizations, who don't
comfortably fit in the other classes of domains.  One example is the
Electronic Frontier Foundation named
Each country also has its own top-level domain.  For example, the
us domain includes each of the fifty states.  Other countries
represented with domains include:
au Australia
ca Canada
fr France
uk The United Kingdom.  These also have sub-domains of things like for academic sites and for commercial ones.