What Do You Mean by Top-Level Domain?

Top-Level Domain (TLD) is the last section of a domain name. It is that part of a domain name which immediately follows the period or the “dot” symbol (i.e. “.”). TLD is generally classified into two categories i.e. A Generic Top-Level Domain and A Country-specific Top-Level Domain. Few commonly used examples of TLDs are .com, .org, .net, .gov, .biz, and .edu. The domains and IP addresses for the internet are organized and arranged by an entity named The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Top-Level Domains are also known as “Domain Suffixes”.

Earlier, TLD displayed the types and purposes of a domain. ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) off late has been quite stringent in developing new TLD’s, but back in 2010, they chose to allow new creation of general type TLD’s, as well as for TLD’s that works for companies specific hallmark.

A TLD contains all the data about the associated website, like the background of its industry, whether it is educational, business or government. Moreover, each of the TLD has its own registry which is again monitored by some other organization. Furthermore, all of these fall under the roof of ICANN and managed by them.

ICANN recognizes the following types of TLDs:

  • Generic (International/World-wide) Top-Level Domain i.e. gTLD like .com, .edu, .org, .net, etc.,
  • Country-Code Top Level Domain i.e. ccTLD like .co.uk, .co.ca, .co.au, etc.,
  • Sponsored Top-Level Domain i.e. sTLD like .museum, .aero, etc.,
  • Infrastructure Top-Level Domain i.e. iTLD like .arpa, and
  • Test Top-Level Domain i.e. tTLD like .test, etc.

Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD):

gTLD is one of the common TLD and the very usual form is the .com. For several years, .com was the only choice for domain name developers. But, in 2014, the entire world of domain went through a change when there was the introduction of a hundred other TLD’s in the market. At present, there are many TLD’s available for your website and more generic TLD’s are getting released every day. These can easily alter according to the business requirements. A general TLD helps to perceive a relatable domain name. Moreover, it increases the possibility of discovering a second level domain which might have been claimed by another user.

Country-Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD):

Country-specific websites are for the users of that particular country. Therefore, they require a country code TLD. Unlike the others, a country code TLD comprises two different letters that relate to the abbreviation of the location. However, there are some country codes that are accessible to all the regions and are not restricted to a single country. These changes lead to the development of the ccTLD; these are more like the gTLD. For instance, last.fm has the ccTLD for the Federation of Micronesia to denote an FM radio.

Sponsored Top-Level Domain (sTLD):

This kind of TLD is a custom TLD that’s often provided by sponsors. They are the ones who are representing the community for the STLD is working for. Especially designed for niche audiences, it has strict rules regarding those who are eligible to register and the business purposes. There are some examples, which will help you to understand better, like for the US government the sTLD will be .gov, for postal services it will be .post, etc.

Infrastructure Top-Level Domains (iTLD):

An Infrastructure Top-Level Domain has only one type of TLD i.e. “.arpa”. iTLD is controlled by The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Test Top-Level Domain (tTLD):

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has already taken the rights over the below-mentioned DNS labels.

  • .example,
  • .invalid.
  • .localhost, and
  • .test

These TLDs, however, cannot enter the original zone of the domain name system. Therefore, to make sure there is no conflict; IETF has reserved the TLD’s. With the reservation, no one can use these TLD’s and they will only work for documentation or any sort of local testing circumstances.

Why is TLD so Important?

Any TLD works as a subtle reminder that notifies the users about the content of the domain. For instance, when a user is looking at a domain like .edu, it will immediately give him/her the impression that the site is about any educational institute.