A top-level domain (TLD) is the suffix or extension tied to a website. Around half of all websites use the top-level domain com, commonly called “dot” com. Other common TLDs include net, org, and edu.
There are over 1,000 TLDs, but most people are only familiar with the most common ones. This is because the mass majority of TLDs are used by less than 0.1% of all websites.
There are different classifications of TLDs. For instance, some are tied to countries such as ru (for Russia). Region-related extensions are classified as country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Some TLDs are indicators of a website’s content such as .casino or .apartments. The nonprofit, ICANN, regulates which new TLDs are added to the market.
The main text of a website plus its top-level domain is the root domain. Google.com is an example of a root domain. Root domains are a website’s top-level of hierarchy. So, subdomains (like images.google.com) and sections of a website (like google.com/about) are all entities within the root domain.
For example, in the internet address: https://www.google.com, the “.com” portion is the TLD.
TLDs are mainly classified into two categories: generic TLDs and country-specific TLDs.
What is Top-Level Domain Name
Examples of some of the popular TLDs include:
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is the entity that coordinates domains and IP addresses for the internet.
Historically, TLDs represented the purpose and type of domain or the geographical area from which it originated. ICANN has generally been very strict about opening up new TLDs, but in 2010, it decided to allow the creation of numerous new generic TLDs as well as TLDs for company-specific trademarks.
Top-level domains are also known as domain suffixes.
There Are Three Different “Types” of TLDs
Up until this point, we’ve been referring to TLDs as a single unified category. However, there are actually three types of TLDs, as assigned by the IANA/ICANN.
The IANA officially recognizes these three types of TLDs:
gTLD – Generic Top-Level Domains
sTLD – Sponsored Top-Level Domains
ccTLD – Country Code Top-Level Domains
In the past, the selection of TLDs was much more limited. But thanks to some recent changes in policy, there are now well over a thousand TLDs to choose from across these three core groups, with the vast majority fitting into the gTLD category.
- gTLD – Generic Top-Level Domains
The gTLD category contains all the most recognizable TLDs. That is, this is the category with common options like:
Beyond these well-known names, you’ll also find other fairly popular generic options like:
While these generic domains are supposed to be loosely tied to the purpose of a website – for example, .org is for organizations – anyone can register most of these domain names.
Around ~2011, ICANN opened the door for companies and organizations to register their own gTLDs, which greatly expanded the list of gTLDs and explains why we now also have gTLDs like:
In addition to registering gTLDs for business names, organizations also registered more “generic” niche gTLDs like:
And you’ll also find gTLDs for specific geographic areas. These are sometimes called GeoTLDs, though they’re really just a subset of gTLDs. Examples here are:
.nyc – only available to residents of New York City
2. sTLD – Sponsored Top-Level Domains
The sTLD group contains TLDs that are sponsored by a specific entity, which could be a business, government, or other groups.
Some of the most common examples here are:
.gov – for use by the US government.
.edu – for post-secondary institutions that are accredited by the US Department of Education.
.mil – for use by the US military.
However, you’ll also find smaller sTLDs like:
museum – reserved for museums.
.jobs – reserved for human resource managers and sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management.
.post – sponsored by the Universal Postal Union.
.travel – reserved for travel agencies and similar businesses.
3. ccTLD – Country Code Top-Level Domains
ccTLDs are top-level domains that represent specific countries. A partial list of common examples is:
.us – USA
.uk – United Kingdom
.eu – European Union
.de – Germany
.fr – France
.cn – China
.es – Spain
.ru – Russia
.ca – Canada
.nl – Netherlands
.in – India
.ch – Switzerland
.jp – Japan
.cn – China
.br – Brazil
.id – Indonesia
.vn – Vietnam
In total, there are ~312 different ccTLDs. Some enforce residency restrictions in order to purchase a domain in that area, while others are public and can be purchased by people from anywhere in the world.
This latter fact has led to the “off-label” use for some attractive ccTLDs. For example, the .io TLD is especially popular with tech companies and startups. However, despite the tech-sounding name, .io is actually a ccTLD assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory.
Country Domain Extensions
|Country / state / territory||Country code top-level domain (ccTLD)|
|Abu Dhabi (not a country, but a state (an emirate) within the United Arab Emirates)||.abudhabi / .ae|
|Algeria||.dz (stands for الجزائر or, in the Latin alphabet, al-Jazā’ir, pronounced as Al Dzayer)|
|Antarctica||.aq (stands for Antarctique)|
|Antigua and Barbuda||.ag|
|Aruba||.aw (stands for Aruba West Indies)|
|Basque Country||.eus (stands for Euskadi)|
|Belarus||.by (stands for Byelorussia)|
|Bonaire||.bq (not in use yet) / .an (stands for Netherlands Antilles) / .nl (stands for Netherlands)|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||.ba|
|British Indian Ocean Territory||.io|
|British Virgin Islands||.vg|
|Burma (officially: Myanmar)||.mm|
|Cambodia||.kh (stands for Khmer)|
|Cape Verde (in Portuguese: Cabo Verde)||.cv|
|Central African Republic||.cf|
|Chad||.td (stands for Tchad)|
|China, People’s Republic of||.cn|
|Cocos (Keeling) Islands||.cc|
|Comoros||.km (stands for Komori)|
|Congo, Democratic Republic of the (Congo-Kinshasa)||.cd|
|Congo, Republic of the (Congo-Brazzaville)||.cg|
|Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||.ci|
|Croatia||.hr (stands for Hrvatska)|
|Cyprus, North (unrecognised, self-declared state)||.nc.tr (stands for North Cyprus Turkey)|
|Czechia (Czech Republic)||.cz|
|Dubai (not a country, but a state (an emirate) within the United Arab Emirates)||.ae|
|East Timor (Timor-Leste)||.tl (stands for Timor-Leste) / .tp (the old country code that is still in use and which stands for Timor Português)|
|Equatorial Guinea||.gq (stands for Guinée équatoriale)|
|Eritrea||.er (inactive code)|
|Estonia||.ee (stands for Eesti)|
|Faeroe Islands||.fo (stands for Føroyar)|
|French Guiana (French overseas department)||.gf (stands for Guyane française)|
|French Polynesia (French overseas collectivity)||.pf (stands for Polynésie française)|
|French Southern and Antarctic Lands||.tf (stands for Terres australes et antarctiques françaises)|
|Gabon (officially: Gabonese Republic)||.ga|
|Gaza Strip (Gaza)||.ps (stands for Palestine)|
|Germany||.de (stands for Deutschland)|
|Great Britain (GB)||.uk (.gb has fallen into disuse)|
|Guadeloupe (French overseas department)||.gp|
|Heard Island and McDonald Islands||.hm|
|Holland (officially: the Netherlands)||.nl|
|Iceland||.is (stands for Ísland)|
|Isle of Man||.im|
|Korea, North||.kp (stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)|
|Kosovo||not assigned yet (in the meantime the Albanian TLD .al is used)|
|Macau||.mo (stands for Macao)|
|Macedonia, North||.mk (stands for Македонија or, in the Latin alphabet, Makedonija)|
|Martinique (French overseas department)||.mq|
|Mayotte (French overseas department)||.yt|
|Micronesia (officially: Federated States of Micronesia)||.fm|
|Morocco||.ma (stands for Maroc)|
|New Caledonia (French overseas collectivity)||.nc|
|North Cyprus (unrecognised, self-declared state)||.nc.tr (stands for North Cyprus Turkey)|
|North Korea||.kp (stands for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)|
|North Macedonia||.mk (stands for Македонија or, in the Latin alphabet, Makedonija)|
|Northern Mariana Islands||.mp|
|Palau||.pw (stands for Pelew)|
|Papua New Guinea||.pg|
|Réunion (French overseas department)||.re|
|Saba||.bq (not in use yet) / .an (stands for Netherlands Antilles)|
|Saint Barthélemy (French overseas collectivity, informally also referred to as Saint Barth’s or Saint Barts)||.bl (not in use yet) / .gp (stands for Guadeloupe) / .fr (stands for France)|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||.kn|
|Saint Martin (French overseas collectivity)||.mf (not in use yet) / .gp (stands for Guadeloupe) / .fr (stands for France)|
|Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||.vc|
|Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (French overseas collectivity)||.pm|
|Samoa||.ws (stands for Western Samoa, the former name of Samoa)|
|São Tomé and Príncipe||.st|
|Serbia||.rs (stands for Република Србија or, in the Latin alphabet, Republika Srbija)|
|Sint Eustatius||.bq (not in use yet) / .an (stands for Netherlands Antilles) / .nl (stands for Netherlands)|
|Sint Maarten||.sx / .an (stands for Netherlands Antilles)|
|Solomon Islands||.sb (stands for British Solomon Islands)|
|Somaliland (unrecognised, self-declared state)||.so|
|South Africa||.za (stands for Zuid-Afrika)|
|South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands||.gs|
|Spain||.es (stands for España)|
|Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands||.sj|
|Tahiti (the largest island in French Polynesia, an overseas collectivity of France)||.pf (stands for Polynésie française)|
|Trinidad and Tobago||.tt|
|Turks and Caicos Islands||.tc|
|Ukraine||.ua (stands for Україна, or, in the Latin alphabet, Ukraina)|
|United Arab Emirates (UAE)||.ae|
|United Kingdom (UK)||.uk|
|United States of America (USA)||.us|
|United States Virgin Islands||.vi|
|Wallis and Futuna (French overseas collectivity)||.wf|
|West Bank||.ps (stands for Palestine)|
|Western Sahara||.eh (not in use; instead .ma is used)|
Who’s Responsible for Managing TLDs?
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an internationally organized, non-profit corporation that has responsibility for Internet Protocol (IP) address space allocation, protocol identifier assignment, generic (gTLD) and country code (ccTLD) Top-Level Domain name system management, and root …
Which organisation is responsible for assigning different top-level domain names?
ICANN – short for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers – is a non-profit organization that’s responsible for managing the TLDs via the IANA – short for Internet Assigned Numbers Authority.
That is, the IANA is a division of ICANN.
Additionally, ICANN/IANA delegate responsibility for some TLDs to other organizations.
Conclusion to Top Level Domain Names
In the listed all country domain extensions and top level domain names, .com is the most popular and choosed one with ultimate high ranking and obsession towards selecting it.
Hope you have definitely like the way we represent everything to you regarding top level domain names and country domain extensions plus which organisation is responsible for assigning the top level domain names.
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