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.
What Is the Purpose of a Top-Level Domain?
Top-level domains serve as an instant way to understand what a website is about or where it’s based.
For example, seeing a .gov address, like in www.whitehouse.gov, will immediately inform you that the material on the website is centered around government.
A top-level domain of .ca in www.cbc.ca indicates something about that website, in this case, that the registrant is a Canadian organization.
Generic Top-level Domains (gTLDs)
Generic top-level domains are the common domain names you’re likely most familiar with. These are open for anyone to register domain names under:
Additional gTLDs are available that are called sponsored top-level domains, and are considered restricted because certain guidelines must be met before they can be registered:
.int (international): Used by international organizations for treaty-related purposes, and requires a United Nations registration number
.edu (education): Limited to educational institutions only
.gov (government): Limited to U.S. governmental entities only
.mil (military): Limited to the U.S. military only
.jobs (employment): Must be registered under the legal name of a company or organization
.mobi (mobile): Might have to adhere to mobile-compatible guidelines
.tel (Telnic): Limited to hosting related to contact information, not websites
Country Code Top-level Domains (ccTLD)
.us: United States