What are top-level domains (TLD)?

A top-level domain (TLD) is the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot (” . “). The most common TLDs are .com, .net, and .org. Some others are .biz, .info, and .ws. These common TLDs all have certain guidelines, but are generally available to any registrant, anywhere in the world.

ICANN identifies the following categories of TLDs:

  • Country-code top-level domains (ccTLD) — Each ccTLD identifies a particular country and is two letters long. The ccTLD for the United States, for example, is .us
  • Infrastructure top-level domain — There is only one TLD in this group, ARPA (Address and Routing Parameter Area). The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) manages this TLD for the IETF.
  • Sponsored top-level domains (sTLD): These are overseen by private organizations.
  • Generic top-level domains (gTLD) — These are the most common and familiar TLDs. Examples include “com” for “commercial” and “edu” for “educational.” Most gTLDs are open for registration by anyone, but there is also a subgroup that is more strictly controlled.

A top-level domain name (TLD) is the last part of a domain name. For example, in coolexample.com, the TLD is the “.com”. A gTLD is a generic top-level domain name. These are not linked to geographical regions or special authorities. gTLDs are typically used to describe organizations and businesses.

A

  • .aero — Aviation Community members only
  • .asia — Companies and individuals based in the Asia-Pacific region

B

  • .biz — Intended for business use

C-G

  • .com — Considered commercial and is the most widely used TLD on the Internet
  • .coop — Reserved for cooperative businesses
  • .edu — Available to higher learning educational institutions that grant degrees
  • .gov — Reserved for U.S. government agencies

H-M

  • .info — Used for informational purposes
  • .jobs — Used for employment and job-related websites
  • .mil — Reserved for use by the U.S. Military
  • .mobi — Dedicated to sites that are made for mobile device use
  • .museum — Reserved for museums

N-R

  • .name — For individual use generally using a first and last name
  • .net — Usually used by Network Providers, but used widely by businesses and individuals for other purposes
  • .org — Commonly used by non profit organizations
  • .pro — Used for specific professions, usually intended for licensed professions. Examples include: Attorneys, Doctors etc.

S-Z

  • .sch — Reserved for schools
  • .tel — Internet Communication Services
  • .travel — Reserved for the travel and tourist industry and must be verified as a legitimate travel-related entity

Related Terms