What Is A Top Level Domain?

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The last section of your domain name, the part located after the last dot, is a top-level domain. As it is placed at the top, it is often referred to as a domain suffix.

You should recognise that a domain name is split into three levels before going further: the subdomain on the front or left side, the second-level domain or mark in the centre, and the top-level domain on the back or right side of the domain name.

A Completely Eligible Domain Name is a domain name with a second, top-level domain. Let us break down an example domain name, sub.example.com, to make it simpler.

    sub – is the subdomain

    example – is the mid-level domain

    .com – is the top-level domain

"All of these levels of the domain are distinguished by a" dot. The top-level domain, as you can see, is .com, which indicates that the site is a commercial site.

Aspects of domain names, especially TLDs, are coordinated by the Assigned Names and Numbers Internet Corporation or ICANN.

Similar to what the website is affiliated with, ICANN manages all forms of top-level domains. Since a website's top-level domain must stick to it, through its TLD, we can see what a website is about.

The Different Types of Top-level Domains

knowing what a TLD is, is very important for you, so you can select the most suitable one for your website.

Based on the intent of the website, owner and geographical location, ICANN classifies TLD into four key categories, namely:

  1. Generic Top-level Domains: gTLD

The gTLD is the most widespread domain that allows registration for all users. Examples of this type of top-level domain are the most familiar:

    .com  – for commercial sites

    .org  – for organizations

    .net  – for networks

    .xyz  – for general use

    .name  –  for individuals

    .biz  – for businesses

    .info  – for information platforms

There are gTLDs, however, that are limited to those users: they're called top-level supported domains.


  1. Sponsored Top-level Domains: sTLD

The sTLD is a type of top-level generic domain that private organisations manage. Any guidelines should be followed by users who choose to register their site with this domain. Some of the examples of sTLD are:

    .gov  – for U.S governmental sites

    .edu  – for educational institutions

    .int  – for treaty-related purpose international organizations

    .mil  – for the U.S. military

    .mobi  – for mobile product and service websites

    .jobs  – for legal companies or organizations

    .tel  – for internet communication service websites

    .post  – for postal service sites

    .asia  – for the Asia-Pacific region based websites

  1. Country Code Top-level Domains: ccTLD

The TLD country code states the ISO code of the place or jurisdiction. A two-letter code reflecting the name of such areas is the ISO code. Popular examples of a TLD of this type are:

    .es  –  Spain

    .ru  –  Russia

    .us  – United States

    .ca  –  Canada

    .nl  – Netherlands

    .de  –  Germany

    .fr  – France

    .in  – India

    .ch  – Switzerland

    .jp  – Japan

    .cn  – China

    .br  – Brazil

    .id  – Indonesia

  1. Infrastructure Top-Level Domain

ARPA is the one and only top-level infrastructure domain available. It stands for Parameter Field Address and Routing. It is for the IETF or Internet Engineering Task Force reserved by IANA. It is, therefore, only used to address problems with technological infrastructure.

The complete list of TLDs is available on the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) website, apart from examples of the top-level domains listed above.

What Is the Purpose of Top-level Domains?

Since top-level domains are classified based on what the website is affiliated with, without even seeing the content of the website, it can be used to classify the intent, owner, or geographical location of the website.

For example, the .edu top-level domain means that the website is used or operated by educational institutions for educational purposes.

One thing that should be noticed is that the same name, but distinct top-level domains might be used by many websites. It can also be seen that "example.com" and "example.edu" are not the same.

Now, you should be conscious that, even though they share the same second-level domain name, "WordPress.org" is clearly different from "WordPress.com."

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