|Introduced||14 July 1995|
|TLD type||Country code top-level domain|
|Registry||SamoaNIC (Computer Services Ltd. Samoa)|
|Sponsor||Government of Samoa|
|Intended use||Entities connected with Samoa|
|Actual use||Not used much inside Samoa, popular for domain hacks, URL shortening and emoji domains|
|Structure||Registrations are directly at second level|
Computer Services Ltd.
The .ws domain is an abbreviation for "Western Samoa", which was the nation's official name in the 1970s when two-letter country codes were standardized. Although there are no geographic restrictions on registration of most second-level .ws domains, .org.ws, .gov.ws, and .edu.ws registration is restricted.
Prior to March 14, 2008, .ws domains were not allowed to be transferred from one domain registrar to another.
The .ws country code has been marketed as a domain hack, with the ws purportedly standing for "world site", website or web service, providing a "global" Internet presence to registrants, as it supports all internationalized domain names. A popular use for the domain is for news organizations for URL shortening purposes, mainly suffixed as "(organization name)ne.ws".
Due to its potential popularity, a sliding scale of prices is operated by the registrar, depending on the brevity of the desired domain. Domains with four characters or more are competitively priced while three-, two-, and single-character domains have their own pricing tiers, quickly scaling into thousands of United States dollars. A company named "Global Domains International" operates a multi-level marketing scheme for .ws domain reselling.
- Mihalcik, Carrie (28 October 2016). "Emoji could soon take over domain names". CNET. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
- Coren, Michael (11 November 2016). "The land rush for emoji domains is coming". Quartz. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
- Johnson, Paddy (2 February 2018). "Emoji Domains Are the Future (Maybe)". Gizmodo. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
- International targeting, Google Search Central, Google Inc., retrieved 4 July 2021