For the system I’m building, I’m putting in a check for valid domain names (technically URI/URLs) and one of the checks is for the length of the domain name. So what is the shortest domain name around?
Well, I suspect in the uk it’s the British library at bl.uk [5 characters] and in the .com range I suspect it’s Paypal’s x.com [6 characters], but an article on Valleywag has just altered me to the fact that Google has one of the shortest Chinese domain names g.cn [4 characters] and Ulster Television has u.tv, but even those are beaten by both the Western Samoa top level domain name has a website making ws [2 characters] and the Vatican’s va [2 characters] – making them the shortest domain name I’m aware of.
Why have some of them got full stops at the end of the links ( such as http://ws. and http://va. ): it’s to stop your browser trying to “fix the links” and change them to http://ws.com and http://va.com which are different sites.
The answer to the question of “how short can a domain name be” is currently 2 characters (unless a top level domain is started with less than 2). A full web based URI/URL has a minimum length of 9 (4 for the protocol ‘http’, 3 for the protocol separation ‘://’ and then 2 for the domain/host name). Of course, you could also use the FTP protocol which brings it down to 8 or be pedantic and insist the shortest web orientated URL is http://va.:80/ at 14 characters.
See also top level domains with websites.