TLD – What is a Domain, and What are TLD (Top level Domains)?

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Top Level Domain TLD

TLD – What is a Domain, and What are TLD (Top level Domains)?

What is a Domain?

A Domain is a unique worldwide name for a logically delimited part of the Internet – for example, a website. Internet users encounter domains in this form, for example,

As an essential part of a Uniform Resource Locator (URL), the domain indicates where a resource can be found within the hierarchically structured Domain Name System (DNS). So-called name servers carry out the translation of domains into IP addresses. These are specialized web servers that are entrusted with the name resolution of IP addresses. This service works in a related way to directory inquiries: an internet user types the domain into the search mask of his web browser, and the browser sends a request to the responsible name server. There the entry for is retrieved from the database, and the stored IP address is transmitted to the browser.

What are (TLD) Top-level Domains?

The top-level domain (abbr .: TLD) describes the last part of the full domain name. In the address, the last area (to the right of the point) is therefore the TLD .com.

In general, there are three main groups:

  • Generic TLDs, also gTLDs
  • Country-specific TLDs, also ccTLDs
  • Special cases

Generic TLDs

Generic TLDs (gTLDs) can, in turn, be divided into two subgroups:

  • Sponsored TLDs (sTLDs)
  • Unsponsored TLDs (uTLDs)

Sponsored TLDs are operated and managed by companies and organizations. According to their guidelines, these influence the intended use of the respective namespace. Non-sponsored TLDs, on the other hand, are subject to the guidelines of the IANA, which in turn subcontracts the operation to companies.

Since 2013 there have also been new top-level domains (New gTLDs, English: new generic TLDs), which are also assigned to the generic TLDs. These new gTLDs belong to the subgroup of sTLDs.

Also Read: What is a Broken Link?

Country-specific TLDs

Current are on the IANA website311 country-specific TLDs – ccTLDs listed (as of August 2017). Each country is assigned a two-digit letter code according to the ISO code 3166 assigned.

Some known exceptions are, for example, the use of .uk and the second-level domain, where the official country code is GB, or the ccTLD .eu for the non-governmental organization of the European Union.

Furthermore, some smaller states are pursuing an aggressive marketing policy for their ccTLDs, examples of which are the TLDs .co, .to, and .tk in the states of Colombia, Tonga, and Tokelau. These ccTLDs are sometimes used in an alienated way and are intended to create associations with company or commerce areas, the English preposition to, and the telecommunications industry.

Special cases

In addition to the two large groups of ccTLDs and gTLDs, there are also so-called special or pseudo domains. These were created out of historical circumstances or are reserved for a specific purpose. For example, the TLD .nato existed for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the TLD .example is reserved for exemplary use in documentation.

Also Read: What is Structured Data

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