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Introduced 1995
TLD type Country code top-level domain
Status Active
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
Registration restrictions None
Structure Registrations are directly at second level
Documents Policies
Dispute policies UDRP
Registry Website www.SamoaNIC.ws

.ws is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Samoa. It is administered by SamoaNIC, for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Samoa.

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. While 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", Web Site or Web Service, providing a "global" Internet presence to registrants, as it supports all internationalized domain names. 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.

In 2016, .ws gained popularity as one of the first domain name registries to offer emoji domains.[1][2]

Some news agencies also use this for a URL shortener, such as eurone.ws and abcn.ws. Some organisations in the U.S. state of Wisconsin also use the domain (e.g. lakeland.ws), despite the state abbreviation being WI.

Google treats the .ws ccTLD as gTLD.[3]


  1. ^ Mihalcik, Carrie (28 October 2016). "Emoji could soon take over domain names". CNET. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  2. ^ Coren, Michael (11 November 2016). "The land rush for emoji domains is coming". Quartz. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  3. ^ International targeting, Search Console Help, Google, retrieved 30 July 2017 

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