A "public suffix" is one under which Internet users can (or historically could) directly register names. Some examples of public suffixes are .com, .co.uk and pvt.k12.ma.us. The Public Suffix List is a list of all known public suffixes.
The Public Suffix List is an initiative of Mozilla, but is maintained as a community resource. It is available for use in any software, but was originally created to meet the needs of browser manufacturers. It allows browsers to, for example:
We maintain a fuller (although not exhaustive) list of what people are using it for. If you are using it for something else, you are encouraged to tell us, because it helps us to assess the potential impact of changes.
It is in the interest of Internet registries to see that their section of the list is up to date. If it is not, their customers may have trouble setting cookies, or data about their sites may display sub-optimally. So we encourage them to maintain their section of the list by submitting amendments.