Top Level Domain: Meaning and Examples

Top Level Domain: Meaning and Examples

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What is a Top Level Domain?

Top-level domains (TLD) are starting points from a website name begins. Top level domains are the final part of a domain name, also referred to as a domain suffix, i.e. the part that is behind the final “dot” after root domain. Knowing what is URL mean and how the indexation process works can help to organize website hierarchy. There are two categories of top-level domains – generic and country-specific. Since each one of them consists of several parts separated by dots and written in reverse order, the TLD is a final part of website’s name. For instance, in this website, www.example.com, the TLD is com (or COM, since these names are case-insensitive)

All domains of the first (upper) level can be divided into two groups – of either general or national use. Most common of them are generic Top-Level Domains and include such endings as COM, NET, ORG, etc. National or country code top-level domains (ccTLD) consist of two letters and are allocated to a specific country or region (UK, RU, DE, US, etc.).

Notably, a TLD is not necessarily intended for commercial gain. It is possible to register it for various communities, organizations engaged in science, charity, sports, medicine, education. TLDs may be of use to people united on a specific basis like culture or other interests.

DNS and Its Structure

DNS stands for Domain Name System. This is a globally distributed storage of keys and values. Servers around the world can provide you with a keyed value, and if they don’t know a key, they will ask for help from another server.

For example, when your browser requests a value for a key www.example.com, it receives 1.2.3.4 in response

The main parts of DNS system are domains divided into zones, servers, and clients. Domains are form’s addresses kv.by. Domain zones are by, com, org, net, etc. IP addresses, in turn, are digital addresses of the form 127.0.0.1, which are used by various Internet protocols.

It is worth mentioning that the DNS structure is hierarchical. If the DNS server to which the client request is sent has no information about a domain to be searched for, then it will contact a root server, which is higher in the hierarchy. Thus, a client’s request chain can reach this server, which is authoritative for a given zone regarding DNS. To check DNS records of a certain website use our free DNS lookup tool.

As the server responds from the top to the bottom of the server hierarchy, addresses are cached so that when you make another request, it will not have to contact servers that are high in the hierarchy. Servers that cache responses are called recursive, because they receive addresses recursively and store them for clients.

The unit for storing information in the DNS system is a resource record that has a unique name, which is assigned to a specific name. Domain name servers are called DNS. It is a system consisting of a computer, as well as specialized software. It is this DNS server that is considered responsible for a specific zone. There are also DNS-clients, which are programs designed to work with DNS.

The Most Common Domain Extensions

It is worth mentioning that domain name extension may vary. Of course, .com is the most common ending covering 46.5% of all websites. However, a large number of free domains have such endings as .org and .net. In short, some widely-spread names are discussed below. Always check domain names for availability.

TLD: Top Level Domain

TLD means precisely what can be understood from its name. It is located at the very top level among other names. There are dozens of available TLDs including ones you should already be acquainted with .com, .org, .net, and .edu.

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) or Internet Address Space Administration maintains the official TLD list. It can be reached at https://www.iana.org/domains/root/db. According to data acquired from this organization, top-level domain list also includes generic and country code TLDs, which are discussed below.

ccTLD: Country Code Top Level Domains

ccTLDs use only two letters and are based on international country codes, such as .us for the United States or .jp for Japan. They are often used by companies that create particular sites for specific regions and can be an excellent way to signal users that they have arrived at the right place.

gTLD: Generic Top Level Domain

gTLDs are essentially TLDs that do not rely on country code. Most of the generic TLDs are designed for a specific purpose, such as .edu, which is intended for educational institutions, .mil for military ones, or .gov for governmental structures. Moreover, you do not need to meet any specific gTLD registration criteria, meaning that .com can be used not only for commercial purposes.

Finally, .net is among common names. It was initially developed for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) but later gained wide popularity.

Other types of domains

Although the above names are the most common, there are other options that you may come across like .me, .tv, .io, and so forth.

To collect ideas for second-level domain name use our domain name generator.

If you have purchased your domain or are using web hosting, you’re likely to have a top-level domain.
This article looks at domain name hierarchy, the purpose of top-level domains and some of the common extensions used for top-level domains.

Top Level Domains List:

TLD COUNTRY TLD COUNTRY TLD COUNTRY TLD COUNTRY
.ac Ascension Island .eg Egypt .lc Saint Lucia .ru Russia
.ad Andorra .er Eritrea .li Liechtenstein .rw Rwanda
.ae United Arab Emirates .es Spain .lk Sri Lanka .sa Saudi Arabia
.af Afghanistan .et Ethiopia .lr Liberia .sb Solomon Islands
.ag Antigua and Barbuda .eu European Union .ls Lesotho .sc Seychelles
.ai Anguilla .fi Finland .lt Lithuania .sd Sudan
.al Albania .fj Fiji .lu Luxembourg .se Sweden
.am Armenia .fk Falkland Islands .lv Latvia .sg Singapore
.ao Angola .fm Federated States of Micronesia .ly Libya .sh Saint Helena
.aq Antarctica .fo Faroe Islands (Kingdom of Denmark) .ma Morocco .si Slovenia
.ar Argentina .fr France .mc Monaco .sk Slovakia
.as American Samoa (United States) .ga Gabon .md Moldova .sl Sierra Leone
.at Austria .gd Grenada .md Moldova .sm San Marino
.au Australia .ge Georgia .me Montenegro .sn Senegal
.aw Aruba(Kingdom of the Netherlands) .gf French Guiana(France) .mg Madagascar .so Somalia
.ax Åland(Finland) .gg Guernsey (United Kingdom) .mh Marshall Islands .sr Suriname
.az Azerbaijan .gh Ghana .mk Macedonia .ss South Sudan
.ba Bosnia and Herzegovina .gi Gibraltar (United Kingdom) .ml Mali .st São Tomé and Príncipe
.bb Barbados .gl Greenland (Kingdom of Denmark) .mm Myanmar .sv El Salvador
.bd Bangladesh .gm The Gambia .mn Mongolia .sx Sint Maarten
.be Belgium .gn Guinea .mo Macau .sx Sint Maarten
.bf Burkina Faso .gp Guadeloupe (France) .mp Northern Mariana Islands (United States) .sv El Salvador
.bg Bulgaria .gq Equatorial Guinea .mq Martinique (France) .sx Sint Maarten
.bh Bahrain .gr Greece .mr Mauritania .sx Sint Maarten
.bi Burundi .gs South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands .ms Montserrat .sz Eswatini
.bj Benin .gt Guatemala .mt Malta .tc Turks and Caicos Islands
.bm Bermuda .gu Guam (United States) .mu Mauritius .td Chad
.bn Brunei .gw Guinea-Bissau .mv Maldives .tf French Southern and Antarctic Lands
.bo Bolivia .gy Guyana .mv Maldives .tg Togo
.br Brazil .gy Guyana .mx Mexico .th Thailand
.bs Bahamas .hk Hong Kong .my Malaysia .tj Tajikistan
.bt Bhutan .hm Heard Island and McDonald Islands .mz Mozambique .tk Tokelau
.bw Botswana .hn Honduras .na Namibia .tl East Timor
.by Belarus .hr Croatia .nc New Caledonia(France) .tm Turkmenistan
.bz Belize .ht Haiti .ne Niger .tn Tunisia
.bz Belize .hu Hungary .nf Norfolk Island .to Tonga
.ca Canada .id Indonesia .ng Nigeria .tr Turkey
.cc Cocos (Keeling) Islands(Australia) .ie Ireland .ni Nicaragua .tt Trinidad and Tobago
.cd Democratic Republic of the Congo .il Israel .nl Netherlands .tv Tuvalu
.cf Central African Republic .im Isle of Man(United Kingdom) .no Norway .tw Taiwan
.cg Republic of the Congo .in India .np Nepal .tz Tanzania
.ch Switzerland .io British Indian Ocean Territory .nr Nauru .ua Ukraine
.ci Ivory Coast .iq Iraq .nu Niue .ug Uganda
.ck Cook Islands .ir Iran .nz New Zealand .uk United Kingdom
.cl Chile .is Iceland .om Oman .us United States of America
.cm Cameroon .it Italy .pa Panama .uy Uruguay
.cn People’s Republic of China .je Jersey(United Kingdom) .pe Peru .uz Uzbekistan
.co Colombia .jm Jamaica .pf French Polynesia(France) .va Vatican City
.cr Costa Rica .jo Jordan .pg Papua New Guinea .vc Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
.cu Cuba .jp Japan .ph Philippines .ve Venezuela
.cv Cape Verde .ke Kenya .pk Pakistan .vg British Virgin Islands
.cw Curaçao(Kingdom of the Netherlands) .kg Kyrgyzstan .pl Poland .vi United States Virgin Islands (United States)
.cx Christmas Island .kh Cambodia .pm Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (France) .vn Vietnam
.cy Cyprus .ki Kiribati .pn Pitcairn Islands .vu Vanuatu
.cy Cyprus .km Comoros .pr Puerto Rico (United States) .wf Wallis and Futuna
.de Germany .kn Saint Kitts and Nevis .ps Palestine .ws Samoa
.dj Djibouti .kp North Korea .pt Portugal .ye Yemen
.dk Denmark .kr South Korea .pw Palau .yt Mayotte
.dm Dominica .kw Kuwait .py Paraguay .za South Africa
.do Dominican Republic .ky Cayman Islands .qa Qatar .zm Zambia
.dz Algeria .kz Kazakhstan .re Réunion(France) .zw Zimbabwe
.ec Ecuador .la Laos .ro Romania
.lb Lebanon .rs Serbia

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Conclusion

Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are the pivotal elements of a domain name, located at the highest level in the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy. They appear after the final dot in a domain name and are crucial in defining a website’s identity and purpose. TLDs are categorized into generic TLDs (gTLDs) like .com, .org, .net, and country code TLDs (ccTLDs) like .uk, .us, signifying their specific use or regional affiliation. While some TLDs are reserved for certain types of organizations, like .edu for educational institutions, others like .com are more universally accessible. Understanding TLDs is essential for businesses and individuals looking to establish a unique online presence, as they not only signify the nature of the website but also contribute to its global recognition and SEO strategy. The choice of a TLD can greatly impact a website’s branding and accessibility, making it a key consideration in the domain registration process.

FAQ
A ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) allows businesses to target specific countries or regions, signaling to users that the website is tailored for their locality.
A gTLD (Generic Top Level Domain) is a general domain extension, like .com or .org. A ccTLD is based on international country codes, such as .us (United States) or .jp (Japan).
Some lesser-known TLDs include .me, .tv, and .io. They can cater to specific industries, interests, or branding opportunities.
To examine DNS records, use a DNS lookup tool.
No, domain names are not case-sensitive. For example, www.Example.COM is the same as www.example.com.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) maintains the official TLD list. It's accessible at https://www.iana.org/domains/root/db.
No, certain gTLDs have specific criteria. For instance, .edu is reserved for educational institutions, and .gov is for governmental structures.
The TLD provides context about the website, indicating its purpose or origin, and is a crucial component of a website's URL, coming after the final “dot.”
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