Home » What is Top-Level Domain (TLD)? 3 Top Level Domains [MOST IMPORTANT]

What is Top-Level Domain (TLD)? 3 Top Level Domains [MOST IMPORTANT]

by Thu Hà

What Is a Top-Level Domain?

A top-level domain (TLD) is the final part of a domain name, like .com or .net. They’re also known as domain extensions, domain suffixes, and URL extensions. TLDs are significant because they show the type or category of a website, such as commercial (.com), network (.net), organization (.org), or country-specific (.uk, .fr, .pe).

While top-level domains might seem like a small detail, they play a crucial role in a business’s online marketing strategy. They appear like this:







Each of these examples represents a different top-level domain.

Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are part of the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy, a system that organizes domain names into different levels.

Think of the DNS hierarchy as an upside-down tree. The root domain is at the top, and the subdomains are at the lower levels.

The root domain is represented by a dot (.) and it includes all the TLDs.

For instance, the domain name www.example.com has three levels: the root domain (.), the top-level domain (.com), and the second-level domain (example).

The second-level domain can also contain subdomains, like blog.example.com or mail.example.com.

So it looks something like this:

– Root domain: .

– Top-Level Domain: .com

– Second-Level Domain: example

            – Subdomain: www

            – Subdomain: blog

            – Subdomain: mail

This structure helps organize and locate websites on the internet.

The DNS hierarchy helps to convert domain names into IP addresses, which are numerical identifiers for computers on the internet.

When you enter a domain name into your browser, it sends a request to a DNS server, which is a computer that holds information about domain names and IP addresses.

The DNS server uses the DNS hierarchy to locate the IP address that corresponds to the domain name.

For instance, if you enter www.example.com, the DNS server will first ask the root server for the IP address of .com, then ask the .com server for the IP address of ‘example’, and finally ask the ‘example’ server for the IP address of ‘www’.

This process is known as DNS resolution.

Do Top-Level Domains Influence SEO? Yes, TLDs can have an impact on SEO and your overall marketing performance.

Compared to on-page SEO, backlink profiles, and other marketing factors, TLDs play a smaller role.

Google has stated that using a custom TLD that includes keywords does not provide any advantage or disadvantage in search results.

While top-level domains don’t directly affect your Google ranking, they can influence how your brand is perceived.

It’s all about trust.

To users, certain top-level domains appear more credible than others.

For instance, a 2022 study revealed that .com and .org are among the most trusted TLDs for your website.

If users view your Top-Level Domain (TLD) as more trustworthy, they might be more inclined to click on your site in search results.

This suggests that you could attract more organic traffic with a generic TLD like .com compared to a less common TLD.

Your TLD can influence other channels as well, because users are more likely to click on links they perceive as trustworthy, not just in search engine results.

To quickly assess if a domain is generally seen as trustworthy, you can use tools that analyze backlinks.

These tools allow you to see a breakdown of referring domains by their top-level domain type.

Top-Level Domain Examples

There are many different types of Top-Level Domains (TLDs) available to suit your specific needs.

Let’s look at some popular and interesting TLD examples to give you a clearer understanding:

  • .com — This is the most popular TLD and stands for “commercial.” It’s the first choice for most businesses and organizations worldwide. Websites like Google.com, Amazon.com, and Facebook.com use this TLD.
  • .org — Short for “organization,” this TLD is often associated with nonprofit entities. Notable examples include Wikipedia.org and RedCross.org.
  • .net — Originally intended for network-related websites, .net has become a versatile TLD used by various businesses. One example is SlideShare.net.
  • .gov — Exclusive to the United States government, websites with .gov TLDs are reserved for federal agencies and institutions, such as USA.gov.
  • .edu — Just like .gov, .edu is exclusive, but for educational institutions in the United States. Harvard.edu and MIT.edu are well-known examples.
  • .io — Although originally intended for British Indian Ocean Territory, .io has gained popularity among tech startups and companies looking for a catchy domain, as seen with Cloudtalk.io.
  • .co — Often used as an abbreviation for “company” or “corporation,” .co has been embraced by startups and businesses as a snappy alternative to .com. Notable examples include Angel.co and Tradelink.co.
  • .me — This TLD has a personal touch and is frequently used for personal blogs and portfolios. Like About.me and Join.me, for example.
  • .blog — A clear indication of a blog, this TLD is increasingly popular among bloggers and content creators. Notable blogs like Seths.blog and Tim.blog use it.

These examples demonstrate the variety of top-level domains for creating a unique online presence.

Whether you’re running a business, starting a personal blog, or supporting a cause, choosing the right TLD can significantly impact your website’s identity and purpose.

Types of Top-Level Domains The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) operates the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), which regulates the use and allocation of domain names.

The IANA categorizes top-level domains into six main types:

Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) Generic top-level domains have three or more characters, and anyone can register them.

They are the most common TLDs and are what users expect to see when they browse the web.

Here are some of the most popular gTLDs:

  • .com
  • .net
  • .org

Despite their label, generic TLDs can still provide users with information about a website.

For example, .net often represents networking websites, while .org represents organizations.

Some companies have started to make their gTLDs even more specific.

As of 2011, established companies and organizations are allowed to apply for and register their own gTLDs.

As a result, you can now visit sites with TLDs like the following:

  • .google
  • .amazon
  • .apple

In 2014, geographic top-level domains (geoTLD) were introduced as a way to associate a website with a geographical, geopolitical, ethnic, linguistic, or cultural community.

While geoTLDs are related to regions and communities, they are considered gTLDs because their registration is not restricted.

Examples of geoTLDs include the following:

  • .berlin
  • .amsterdam
  • .paris

As of January 2023, there are 1,246 generic top-level domains.

Generic-Restricted Top-Level Domains (grTLD) grTLDs are like gTLDs, but their use is limited to specific purposes. To register one, you need to prove eligibility. Examples include .biz, .name, and .pro.

Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLD) sTLDs are specialized TLDs sponsored by private organizations. They’re reserved for groups that share common characteristics. Examples include .gov, .museum, .edu, and .mil.

Country-Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) ccTLDs are two-letter extensions reserved for specific countries or territories. They help websites show which country they operate in and serve. Examples include .ca, .br, .de, .fr, .ie, .in, .uk, .us, and .io.

Test Top-Level Domains (tTLD) tTLDs are reserved for testing and development purposes. You can’t register these with the Domain Name System (DNS), so they’re free to use for testing software changes. Examples include .test, .example, .invalid, and .localhost.

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