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Difference Between YouTube and URLs

an example of difference between and URLs
Samyak Lalit | August 10, 2017 (Last update: January 28, 2021)

Samyak Lalit is an Indian author and disability rights activist. He is the principal author and founder of projects like TechWelkin, WeCapable, Viklangta, Kavita Kosh among many others.

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. While watching, uploading and sharing videos we all come across the URLs — but we are sure that you must have seen URLs as well. Have you ever wondered what exactly is the difference between YouTube and URLs? A reader sent us a query on this matter after reading our recent article on creating links to specific time in a YT video. Pretty good and interesting question! Let’s explore the answer!

First of all the basic difference:

  • is the top-level domain name (TLD). This is the original domain name for the YouTube service.
  • is a country code TLD (aka ccTLD). The .be domain name have been assigned to the country of Belgium.

.com, .org, .net are the most common domain names. As .com signifies a domain name for a commercial entity, the YouTube founders originally chose for their video sharing service. This domain name was registered on 14 February 2005.

In 2006, Google acquired YouTube and in 2009, Google launched the domain name. Here .be stands for Belgium. Although .be is ccTLD of Belgium but there is no rule that bars non-Belgian entities to register a .be domain name. So, Google did register this .be domain name for global purpose. ccTLDs can be registered by anybody in the world and for any purpose. In a number of instances, ccTLDs are registered for a different purpose than to signify the country name. In case of, Google did a play of letters. Similarly, a number of television related websites have .tv domain name. But .tv domain name does not signify television! In fact, it has nothing to do with television. .tv is the ccTLD for the country of Tuvalu.

But why did Google Create

In 2009, Google registered as a way of shortening the YouTube URLs. At that time the micro-blogging websites (especially Twitter) were becoming popular. These websites allow people to post messages composed in small number of characters. For example, Twitter allows one post to contain a maximum of 140 characters. Therefore it was important to shorten the YouTube URLs as much as possible so that people can easily share them on popular websites like Twitter.

By launching domain name, Google cut short the URL of a video by 15 characters. Take a look at the following illustration. It demonstrates how a URL is 15 characters shorter than the equivalent URL.

an example of difference between and URLs

Google could further shorten the YouTube URLs if they could reduce the number of characters in video ID (the LIgRmdJMgl4 part in the above illustration). But, as you know, YouTube is a massive video sharing platform. To uniquely identify each video, Google needs an ID with a sufficiently large number of characters. So, Google can not compromise on this part. But by creating domain name, Google smartly saved 15 characters. Twitter loving people would easily understand the importance of this saving!

We hope you liked this article. Please share your views, comments and questions. We will try our best to further assist you. Thank you for using TechWelkin!


11 responses to “Difference Between YouTube and URLs”

  1. Sam says:

    Good article.

  2. puzzle ans says:

    YouTube and URLs are different because YouTube is a video hosting website while is a video sharing website.

  3. Farzana says:

    Good explanation.

  4. Daniel says:

    Ya How can I switch My Google account To Default Since My Phone Is Spoof..Is There any possible way or do I need to get another Phone ..

  5. William A Hagopian says:

    When there are weird URLs like that, it make me worry that I am being directed to Belarus to some hacker. Especially when it is made to look like youtube but really does not say that. Google, I do not like these links! Spam alert!

  6. Marie Groh says:

    I don’t know that much about this but I do know that when we posted a link using (on facebook group page), there was no thumbnail. When we posted the same link but with youtube we got a thumnbail with the video…

  7. phred snelch says:

    I wonder if someone could exploit a subtle difference in a URL to misdirect someone to a malicious site. I’ve gotten in the habit of not opening anything even remotely suspicious,

  8. Giwreh says:

    It appears to me that the “watch?v=” is needed in the TLD , because it’s the general domain name, with extensions not only to individual videos, but also to ‘channel pages’, and service pages of al kind. Omitting “watch?v=” would not refer to an individual video anymore but conflict into the URL systematic builtup for all different kinds of pages that exist. however, has a different ‘syntax’. It only leads to individual videos (redirecting into the URLs) , and no access to other website pages whatsoever.
    Makes logic, isn’t it ?

  9. Pierre Aribaut says:

    It’s only 2 characters they save with the domain name, they could not use the www and watch?v= for also, not a big difference in the domain name number of characters.

    • Anonymous says:

      No, they couldn’t. For example if a video has the ID “account” it would conflict with the page which is the settings page. Just registering a new URL that automatically redirects to the video is much easier.

  10. Ged says:

    Thanks for the explanation. However, what’s wrong with The “www” isn’t actually necessary, and if they were to drop the requirement for “watch?v=” a total of 12 characters (15 x 80%) would already be saved without any change of domain.

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