What are TLDs (Top Level Domains) and How to Choose the Right One for You

What are TLDs (Top Level Domains) and How to Choose the Right One for You

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The Domain Name System

A domain is the name of your website. It is the part of an URL that comes after “www.” and before “.com”. Top-level domains (TLDs) are the last part of an Internet address. They are the letters that come after the dot in a domain name. There are two categories of TLDs: generic and country-specific. Generic TLDs can be used by anyone, while country-specific TLDs should only be used by residents of a specific country.

TLDs have been around since 1985, but they were not introduced to the general public until 1994 because it was limited to certain computer networks and organizations. There are many types of domains, but the most common ones are:

  • .com: This is a commercial domain, and it stands for “commercial”
  • .org: This domain stands for an organization or nonprofit such as a company, charity, or school.
  • .edu: This domain stands for an educational institution such as a college or university.
  • .gov: This domain stands for a government agency such as the IRS or NASA

There are 1.8 billion websites on the internet, and it is estimated that there will be even more tomorrow. At the time of writing, the Internet Live stats estimates that there are 1.92 billion and 5.2 billion internet users. It can be tough to keep track of all of your web addresses, but thankfully, the Domain Name System that was developed in 1983 and is still used today has made this process a lot easier. The DNS is like the internet’s phone book. Each website is assigned a unique IP address, a long string of numbers that functions as a home address for a website (like your home address corresponds to your house or apartment).

The use of Domain Name Servers (DNS) helps to translate an IP address into a domain name. This is easier for humans than the long string of numbers behind it, particularly for beginners. They are quicker, easier to remember, and more practical than IPv4 addresses. Cached DNS information allows the DNS lookup process to skip some steps, which leads to faster page loads. The standard steps in a DNS lookup are as follows:

  1. A URL is typed into a web browser, and the query is sent to a DNS recursive resolver.
  2. The recursive resolver sends the query to a DNS root nameserver.
  3. The root server sends the resolver a Top Level Domain DNS server address, such as .com or .net, storing the data for registered domains.
  4. Next, the resolver then queries the TLD.
  5. This server responds with the IP address of the nameserver.
  6. Then, the resolver queries the domain’s nameserver.
  7. The nameserver returns the IP address for the domain of the URL typed in is returned to the recursive resolver.
  8. Finally, the DNS resolver sends the IP address to the web browser.


Components of a Domain Name

It’s comprised of multiple parts, but only two are essential components. They exist on either side of the “dot”. The first component is the top-level domain, which is typically one of the following: .com, .net, .org, or .edu. The second component is the second-level domain name. This part can be anything you want it to be – it’s your opportunity to be creative!

To demonstrate how a web address is broken down, we’ll use sapphirin.com as an example. sapphirin.com has two components, a second-level domain (SLD) and a top-level domain (TLD).

  • Second-Level Domain (SLD): A second-level domain, also known as the domain extension, is the text that exists to the left of the dot in a website address. Web addresses possess a second-level domain, which is typically separated by the dot in a web address. This domain extension helps to distinguish websites.
  • Top-Level Domain (TLD): The top-level domain, or TLD, is the string of letters that fall to the right of the dot in a website’s URL. In sapphirin.com .com is this top-level domain, and it helps say what sort of content you can expect on a particular site.

There are over 1,000 unique types of top-level domains (TLDs). The most popular and recognizable of them are known as generic top-level domains or gTLDs

The gTLDs (Generic Top Level Domain) and ccTLDs (Country Code Top Level Domains) – What are the differences?

Generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) is a domain that is not country-specific. It is the opposite of Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), specific to a certain country. The first gTLDs came out in the 80s, shortly after the internet was invented. They were developed to help the first generation of internet users to organize their websites. The top gTLDs in include:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org
  • .co

Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) are the top-level domains for countries worldwide. The top-level domain for India, for example, is .in. It includes all of the ccTLDs in India (.co.in, .org.in, .net.in). There are more than 200 ccTLDs worldwide, including .ca for Canada and .us for the United States of America.

Unlike gTLDs, ccTLDs are geographic identifiers. If a website includes a ccTLD, you can assume it refers to a specific country.

Below, you’ll find the 10 most popular ccTLDs in the world. They are listed in order of relevance.

  • .cn – China
  • .tk – Tokelau
  • .de – Germany
  • .uk – United Kingdom
  • .ru – Russia
  • .nl – Netherlands
  • .br – Brazil
  • .eu – European Union
  • .fr – France
  • .au – Australia


Choosing a domain name extension can be difficult. There are many different options to choose from, and not all of them will work for your business. This article will help you decide which domain name extension is best for your company and how to register it. You should put in a lot of thought before choosing it because it is not easy to change later. Rebranding can be costly.


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