We all use YouTube to watch our favorite videos. Many of us also upload videos on YouTube, the world's best and most popular video sharing platform. When watching, uploading and sharing videos, we've all come across YouTube.com URLs - but we're sure you've seen Youtube.be URLs as well. Have you ever wondered what exactly is the difference between YouTube and Youtube.be URLs? A reader sent us an inquiry on the matter after reading one of our most recent articles on YT Video that created a link to a specific time. Very good and interesting question! Let's explore the answer! First all the basic differences:
YouTube.com is a top-level domain (TLD). This is the original domain YouTube service.
YouTube.be is a country code top-level domain (aka ccTLD). The .BE domain name has been assigned to the country of Belgium.
.COM, .ORG, .NET are the most common domain names. As .com is a commercial entity denoting a domain name, YouTube's founders initially chose YouTube .com for their video-sharing service. The domain name was registered on February 14, 2005. In 2006, Google acquired YouTube and in 2009, Google launched the YouTube.be domain. Here .BE stands for Belgium. Although .BE is the ccTLD for Belgium, there are no rules prohibiting non-Belgian entities from registering a .BE domain name. So, Google did the purpose of registering this .BE domain name worldwide. ccTLDs can be Latest Mailing Database registered by anyone in the world for any purpose. In many cases, the ccTLD is registered for a different purpose than to mean the name of the country. In the case of YouTube.be, Google made a play of letters. Likewise, some TV-related websites have .TV domains. But a .TV domain doesn't mean TV! In fact, it has nothing to do with TV. .TV is the ccTLD for the country of Tuvalu. But why did Google create YouTube.be? In 2009, Google registered YouTube.be as a way to shorten YouTube URLs. At the time, microblogging sites (especially Weibo) were becoming popular. These sites allow people to post messages consisting of a small number of characters. For example, Weibo allows a post to contain up to 140 characters. Therefore, it is important to shorten YouTube URLs as much as possible so that people can easily share them on popular sites such as Twitter.
By launching the YouTube.be domain, Google shortened the video's URL by 15 characters. Check out the illustration below. It shows how a YouTube.be URL is 15 characters shorter than the equivalent YouTube.com URL. Google could shorten YouTube URLs even further if they could reduce the number of video ID characters (in the LIgRmdJMgl4 section in the illustration above). But, you also know that YouTube is a huge video sharing platform. To uniquely identify each video, Google needs an ID with a sufficiently large number of characters. So Google can't compromise on this part. However, by creating the YouTube.be domain, Google cleverly saved 15 characters. Twitter-lovers easily understand the importance of this savings!