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What is a TLD? Explanation of top-level domains and their types

What is a TLD?

Domain name decoded


First things first, let’s start with understanding what a domain name is. The domain name is your identity on the Internet and can be said to be the digital address of your website. Anyone who wants to visit your website needs to type your domain name into the search bar of their web browser.

An example of what a domain name would look like – is .in. If you notice, the domain name consists of three sections, separated by a “dot.”

When we disassemble the domain name, we start reading from right to left –

  • in-domain, otherwise known as TLD aka Top-Level Domain
  • big rock – Website name, otherwise known as SLD aka Second Level Domain
  • www – the world wide web, most commonly found before a domain name but can be skipped

What is a TLD?


TLD or Top Level Domain is the last part of your domain name. Sometimes you are also known as a domain name suffix where your domain name ends in a TLD.

The TLD is allocated and supervised by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers or ICANN. Furthermore, IANA maintains a list of all valid TLDs and is updated from time to time.

Now that we’ve seen what a TLD is let’s move on to understanding the different types of TLDs in depth.

Types of TLDs


There are four formal types of TLDs recognized by IANA:


  • gTLD – Generic Top-Level Domain
  • sTLD – Sponsored Top-Level Domain
  • ccTLD – Country Code Top Level Domain

Domain Top-Level Infrastructure

Let’s explore it in detail:

  1. gTLD – Generic Top-Level Domain

The gTLD is the most popular and recognized of all the TLDs. Some of the common gTLDs you may have come across are:

  • .com
  • .Clear
  • .org
  • .xyz
  • .club
  • .biz
  • .higher

The list of gTLDs is constantly growing. Newly added gTLDs are also known as “new gTLDs.”

These days, many websites want to be recognized by their domain name and hence choose to add a new gTLD (e.g., .host, .name, .biz, etc.) instead of the traditional .com to serve the purpose of their website.

Apart from this, some TLDs are specific to some geographical locations, known as GeoTLDs. Technically, GeoTLDs fall under the category of generic TLDs, and the main objective is to serve the purpose of representing a place, culture, or language.

Some of the GeoTLDs currently available are:

  • .berlin (Berlin, Germany)
  • .nyc (New York City, USA)
  • .moscow (Moscow, Russian Federation)
  • .tokyo (Tokyo, Japan)


  1. sTLD – Sponsored Top Level Domain


An sTLD is a type of top-level domain sponsored or taken care of by private organizations, corporations, or the government.

To register your website under an sTLD, your domain must adhere to specific rules.

Some common sTLDs are:


  • .edu – for educational institutions
  • .gov – mainly for US government entities and agencies
  • .asia – open to individuals, companies, and organizations associated with the region
  • .mil – US Military First Class


Some of the recent additions to sTLDs are:


  • .travel – reserved for travel agencies
  • .tel – reserved for Internet calling service sites
  • .museum – dedicated to museums

ccTLD – Country Code Top Level Domain


A ccTLD is a country-specific top-level domain. ccTLDs are mostly made up of an English language alphabet. However, some ccTLDs are also available in a country’s regional language.

Here are some examples of available ccTLDs:


  • .in India
  • .uk – United Kingdom
  • .us – United States of America
  • .va – Vatican City State
  • .cn – China
  • .ke – Kenya
  • .eg – Egypt
  • .भारत – India
  • .台湾 – Taiwan
  • .Iran – Iran

One example is, which is translated to suit the needs of different countries markets.

Some examples of country-specific websites are:


  1. Domain Top-Level Infrastructure


There is only one domain name in this class –

.arpa – address and routing parameter area

With the help of this domain name, you can get to the root of the name hierarchy by reverse assignment IP addresses to domain names.

This area is used exclusively for Internet infrastructure, particularly the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Furthermore, the domain is managed by IANA under the guidance of the IAB (Internet Engineering Board).



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