How to Restrict Your Google Search to Specific Domains

Use this easy Google trick to improve search results

What to Know

  • Many sites don't end in .com, and other top-level domains are often used for specific purposes.
  • Restrict searches to a top-level domain with site:[domain] before your search, like the site:edu textbook search.
  • Search a specific site with site:[the site address] before your search, like the routers search.

An unrestricted Google search checks across all available domains for your search terms, which can yield results that aren't specific enough for your needs. One way to make your search more relevant is to restrict it to a specific domain.

TLD-Specific Searches

Many website addresses end in .com, which is the most familiar of the top-level domains (TDLs). However, it isn't alone. Other top-level domains that use other suffixes exist. Some of the most common of these include:

  • .net (an alternative to .com)
  • .org (typically for but not restricted to nonprofit organizations)
  • .gov (for government sites)
  • .edu (for educational institutions)
  • .mil (for military use)
  • .uk, .us, .au and others (country-specific domains)

To search a specific top-level domain, simply precede it with site: followed immediately by the TLD suffix without a space between them. Then, add a space and type the term for your search.

For example, say you're looking for information about textbooks, but you don't want to buy a textbook. An internet-wide search would show you mostly websites that sell textbooks. To get noncommercial search results about educational textbooks instead, confine your search to the .edu top-level domain, by typing this into the search field:

site:edu textbook

You can use this method to restrict searches to any TLD.

Domain-Specific Searches

Taking this trick a step further, you can also search within any second or third-level domain. For example, if you'd like to see what has on the topic of routers, you type the following into the search bar: routers

The search results focus on articles about routers on Lifewire, not on other sites.

Domain-specific searches can use other Google methods to tailor your searches, such as boolean searches and wildcard searches.) One of the most basic is to add quotation marks around a group of words to indicate you are searching for a phrase. For example: "artificial intelligence"

In this case, the quotation marks tell Google to use its contents as a search phrase, rather than as separate words. You won't get results that have artificial but not intelligence. You'll receive search results from on the phrase artificial intelligence

Was this page helpful?