Top-level Domain: Essentials For You to Know

Every website has a unique Address which is called Domain Name. This Domain Name is the identity of that site. You can reach a site from any device connected to the Internet by entering Domain Name in the Web Browser. If you’re curious and are not quite sure of what Domain Name is, check out our guide- Your First Knowledge of Domain Name.

For a complete understanding, also explore URL. An URL is much more than a Domain Name. The main component of URL is Domain Name. URL is the specific address of a web resource in the World Wide Web (WWW). Learn anatomy of URL here.

Top-level Domain or TLD is the Domain Suffix. It is the ending part of the Domain Name. TLD is the last level of a Fully Qualified Domain Name and so it lies at the top of Domain Name System Hierarchy or Domain Name Tree.

Top-level Domain focus

Take a closer look at Top-level Domains

Let’s take an example of a Fully Qualified Domain Name—

In this Domain Name

  • Domain Name of the website
  • www: subdomain
  • https: Web transmission Protocol
  • .com: Top-level Domain

Here ending portion .COM is the Top-level domain. Similarly other most popular and frequently used TLD’s are- .net, .org, .biz, .info, .uk, .edu, .mil, .int, .gov, .us etc.

Now question—

QUESTION: What do these TLD’s mean and indicate?

ANSWER: Each of these TLD’s has specific meaning and significance. A TLD in a Domain Name indicates which type of Website the Domain refer to. such as—

  • .COM: Used for for-profit commercial website.
  • .ORG: For non-profit or voluntary organization.
  • .NET: Related to network-based website.
  • .INFO: Indicates that it is an information-based website.
  • .BIZ: For business organization/company.
  • .GOV: Indicates government websites.
  • .UK: Means country code of United Kingdom.
  • .US: Country code of United States of America.
  • .mil: restricted to be used by US Military.
  • .int: Means international organization.

These TLD’s were intended to use aiming to perform the related functions stated above. But in reality, These rules are not practiced but usually violated. There are fair reasons for this. It appears that there is neither necessity nor restriction by any authority to implement the rules.

QUESTION: How many TLD’s are there?

ANSWER: Difficult to estimate for sure. Recent stat shows the number is 1500. It is expanding over time.

QUESTION: Who is the authority to assign TLD?

ANSWER: In a word ICANN [Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers].

This is a US-based Non-government, Non-profit organization that manages the overall Domain Name System. Some notable functions ICANN performs are-

  • Accrediting Domain Name Registrars
  • Coordinates Root Servers (The servers that run and manage TLD)
  • Allocate IP space
  • Assign Protocol parameter etc.

QUESTION: What is the Domain Name hierarchy or Domain Name tree that is stated above?

ANSWER: Domain Name Tree is the level-wise arrangement of Domain groups that constitute total Domain Name System. On top of this Domain Name hierarchy, there lies only a dot (.) which is followed by its lower level Top-level Domains. Next lower level is unique domain example. Look below—

Top-level domain- Domain Name Tree focus

Types of TLD

QUESTION: Is there variation of TLD’s?

ANSWER: Yes. All the examples of TLD’s stated above, obviously are not of same kind. Some domains consists of multiple Top-level Domains, such as,
Below chart clarifies types of TLD issue—

  • gTLD: Generic Top-level Domain. These are TLD’s with three or more characters that we usually use such as .com, .net, .org, .edu etc.
  • ccTLD: Country-code Top-level Domain. It is two-letter TLD specific and reserved for each and every country. This country code is similar to the two-letter ISO 3166 code of a country. For example- .in (India), .uk (United Kingdom(, .us (United States), .eu (European Union) etc.
  • sTLD: Sponsored Top-level Domain. These TLD’s are proposed and sponsored by private agencies and organizations and managed under official ICANN accredited registrars. Example- .gov. This TLD (.gov) is administered by the General Services Administration (GSA) which is an independent agency of US-Federal government.
  • IDN ccTLD: Internationalized country-code Top-level Domain. These are ccTLDs in non-Latin character sets (e.g., Arabic, Cyrillic, Hebrew, or Chinese) which simply means TLD’s with language other than English. Such type of TLD instances are .বাংলা (.bangla), .भारत (.bharat) etc.

These are all our arrangements on Top-level Domain (TLD). Hope this will mitigate your primary curiosity on TLD and throw light of hope to the scary path of the beginners. In all cases, we hope your comment.

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