What is a Top-Level Domain ( gTLD & ccTLD)?

Top-Level Domain is the last part of your favorite website name (.COM, .NET, .ORG, .IN, .ME, .CLUB) there are more than 1500 of them and these are just the first level. There is also the second level as well (.CO.AT, .CO.CA, .AC.IN, .CO.IN) and third levels of them as well. These TLDs tell a story about your domain name association.

To understand the Top-Level Domain lets have a look at the structure of this site

  1. https:// – (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
  2. www – (Subdomain)
  3. nameessence – (Domain Name)
  4. .com – (Top Level Domain)

Every TLD has a meaning and intended use of it, some follow the path and some don’t.

.govGovernment agencies

With the increase in demand for domain names, new gTLDs are introduced in the market. These are like .shop, .online, .domains, and many more.

These Top-Level Domains are managed by a non-profit organization ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). There are seven key holders to the root for the DNS of all these TLDs, it is not like they control the internet but yes in a way they are powerful enough.

ICANN has classified the TLDs into 6 types and further, the Registry owners have placed certain restrictions on the TLDs. Let me explain you this as per ICANN there are only 6 types:

  1. Generic TLD
  2. Country-Code TLD
  3. Generic-restricted TLD
  4. Infrastructure TLD
  5. Sponsored TLD
  6. Test TLD

Now let’s explain to you each of them so that next time you look at a domain name you would know what and which kind of domain is it.

Generic TLDs are Generic top-level domains, they account for the majority of domain extensions. The most common and widely used are .com, .org, .online, .tech, and .net.

Country-Code TLDs are Country code top-level domains that are location-specific and are generally reserved for countries and some territories. Some examples include .in for India, .co for Colombia, .uk for Great Britain.

Generic-restricted TLD there are these three TLDs (.pro, .biz, .name) are restricted by ICANN but they are opened for the public. They are restricted in such a way that if someone wants a domain name and someone has already bought it where it is not being used for the purpose as the name suggests. It can be challenged.

Infrastructure TLD there is just one single TLD (.arpa) that falls under the infrastructure type. This TLD is closed for the public and it actually means ARPANET which was the Internets precursor.

Sponsored TLD these Top-Level Domains are sponsored by a narrow community and some are open and some are closed just because of their nature. .gov, .edu, .aero you have to prove with documentation and get approval so that you can use these TLDs.

Test TLD these TLDs are for testing purposes and are not open to the public. These are reserved for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

I hope with the above knowledge next time you see a domain name you would look at it differently.

Must Read: Who is ICANN, Registry, Registrar, and Registrant?

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