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I've found a strange thing: some Stack Exchange sites have their own domain names instead of http://[site name].stackexchange.com. The websites which have their own domain names are:

  1. Stack Overflow
  2. Super User
  3. Ask Ubuntu
  4. Server Fault
  5. MathOverflow
  6. Stack Apps
  7. Seasoned Advice

Are there any parameters for allocating specific URLs to Stack Exchange sites?

  • 24
    Bravo for getting all the site names correct with their spacing! Not many people can do that. – TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Feb 12 '15 at 15:38
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    Also mentioned by Kevin Brown, Arqade can be accessed from arqade.com – Ave Mar 2 '15 at 23:07
  • Because they're so big. YouTube is owned by Google, but it's so big it has to have another domain name. Bing is owned by Microsoft, but it's just bing.com. – clickbait Jun 13 '15 at 17:09
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+500

It all started with three websites (created at different times), that are known as the "trilogy websites". These were created before Stack Exchange was official.

Some proposals were given new names once they launched.

Some were seeded from Stack Exchange 1.0 websites.

Some were created (not seeded) from Stack Exchange 1.0 websites.

And a few proposals were seeded from non-Stack Exchange 1.0 websites.

There are also some domains used by Stack Exchange that are not for Q&A websites

  • Stack Apps - This just holds applications that were created for use on Stack Exchange websites. While you can ask questions, the primary focus is on setting up applications.
  • Stack Auth - This domain handles the centralized authentication between all Stack Exchange websites.

The API for getting the aliases was pointed out in chat.

  • I'm sure there was also a discussion at some point about why they wouldn't be (obviously with potential exception) be 're-domaining' any of the existing sites any time soon. – Pureferret Mar 12 '15 at 15:33
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    @Pureferret Domain Names: The Wrong Question – user259867 Mar 12 '15 at 16:09
  • I'm pretty sure PPCG.SE can be accessed through alias by ppcg.lol – OldBunny2800 Sep 13 '16 at 0:11
  • @OldBunny I'm pretty confident that's not owned by SE – Kevin Brown Sep 13 '16 at 0:12
  • What do you mean? It redirects to the real PPCG.SE – OldBunny2800 Sep 13 '16 at 1:14
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    @OldBunny2800 the ppcg.lol domain is owned by someone else who has chosen to redirect it to PPCG SE. This answer only includes domains owned and operated by Stack Exchange. – Kevin Brown Sep 13 '16 at 19:43
  • hashcode meta post link is 404 – andrybak May 9 '17 at 11:09
  • What exactly does "seeded from Stack Exchange 1.0" mean? Does it mean it was just a continuation of the old community? – Steven M. Vascellaro May 10 '17 at 5:26
  • For communities which were "seeded", the existing questions and answers were brought over from the old communities into the newer Stack Exchange 2.0 communities. This distinction is important because not all communities could bring their content over (for various reasons). – Kevin Brown May 10 '17 at 7:39
  • Enlightening and a good read from the links above: stackoverflow.blog/2010/10/05/domain-names-the-wrong-question Don’t even think about the domain name! – Kai Noack Jul 29 '18 at 16:36
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  • Stack Overflow, Super User, and Server Fault all predate Stack Exchange, meaning that they were created before the concept of Stack Exchange as network of sites existed; hence all three get to keep their original domain.

  • The reason for Ask Ubuntu is covered in this blog post by Jeff. In short, it's due to a partnership with Canonical Ltd.

  • MathOverflow also predates Stack Exchange as a network and was "assimilated" by Stack Exchange at some point; hence it keeps the domain.

  • Stack Apps is not really a Q&A site, at least not in the same sense as all other Stack Exchange sites, hence it makes sense for it to have a different domain.

  • Just for competeness, what about the others like arqade.com, meta.nothingtoinstall.com (nothingtoinstall.com was retired) and seasonedadvice.com? Why are they special? – George Duckett Feb 12 '15 at 11:48
  • @GeorgeDuckett Kevin did it now. :) – Shadow Wizard Feb 12 '15 at 14:03
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Stack Overflow, along with Super User and Server Fault, belong to the Original Trilogy. They don't use stackexchange.com because the Stack Exchange network hadn't been named at that point.

See also What is the Stack Overflow "trilogy"?, and "Trilogy" in the SE Glossary.

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  • Mi Yodeya (Judaism.SE) started as a StackExchange 1.0 community, and its founder chose to use the URL mi.yodeya.com. Because the community already had and liked the name when it entered the StackExchange 2.0 network, StackExchange decided to make the name part of its brand when it launched out of beta.

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