A URL is a web address, the string of letters and/or numbers (usually starting with http or https) that lead you to a website. The letters after the final period refer to the website's Top-Level Domain (TLD) and is called a domain suffix (examples are .com or .org).
What is it? One of the most common domain suffixes, .com signals a Commercial website. This is usually a website for a business or service, and its main objective is sales; many news websites are also .com sites.
Should I use it? Many news and company websites are .com sites. If your goal is to find news information or information on a company, these are your go-to domains. As with any website, be sure to analyze it carefully for bias and inaccuracies.
What is it? Websites ending in .org are Organization websites, usually for member organizations or nonprofits.
Should I use it? Analyze .org sites carefully. Many people assume .org means "reliable for research" - but they aren't necessarily! Many are biased toward a specific agenda they're pushing. Basic contact information or mission/vision statements should be okay to use, but like any website, and especially if you have a socially or politically charged topic, be sure to analyze it carefully for bias and inaccuracies.
What is it? .edu signals a page from a College or University website.
Should I use it? Most edu websites are informational, containing information about the college or university - but don't forget, universities also want you to attend! They may have missing or misleading information. Also, privately-owned pages from faculty or students might contain inaccurate information; usually these private edu websites have a ~ symbol somewhere in the web address. As with any website, be sure to analyze it carefully for bias and inaccuracies.
What is it? Websites ending in .gov are pages from U.S. Federal, State, or Local Governments, including agencies; .mil websites contain information from the U.S. Military.
Should I use it? .gov and .mil websites are generally acceptable for academic research papers, but be sure to check what if any vetting process has been imposed on given reports. As with any website, be sure to analyze them carefully for bias and inaccuracies.
You can make Google bring back results from specific domain suffixes by using the command site:.
After typing the word "site" followed by a colon (:), use the suffix with the period (for example, .edu).
EXAMPLE: PTSD site:.gov will return only those results about PTSD that are from .gov websites
You can also use the command to search Google for results from a specific website. In this case, the command would be site: followed by a full or partial web address.
EXAMPLE: PTSD site:www.ptsd.va.gov will return only those results about PTSD that are from the VA's PTSD website