What are TLDs and what are the differences?

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A TLD or Top Level Domain is the last portion of the domain name, what comes after the “dot” ( . )

There are two main catagories that TLDs fall into.

  • The 2 letter country-code TLDs or “ccTLDs”
  • The 3 or more letter “generic” TLDs or “gTLDs”
  • gTlds can be either Sponsored or Unsponsored ( I’ll explain the difference below)
According to the ICANN archive, in the 1980s there were 7 gTLDs created. Three of these (.com, .org, and .net) could be registered without restriction. The other four (.gov, .edu, .mil, and .int) have limited purpose. The basic explanations for the common gTLDs are as follows:

  • .com – Usually commercial businesses
  • .net – Network organizations
  • .org – Organizations
  • .gov – U.S. government agencies
  • .edu – Educational facilities
  • .mil – Military
For the most part, an unsponsored TLD functions under the policies established by ICANN.

A sponsored TLD is more specialized in that it has a sponsor representing a narrower group of people that are most affected by the TLD. The sponsor is the one who would carry out the delegated formulation of policies and responsibilities over the many matters concerning the TLD.

While new TLDs continue to emerge, there becomes more possibilities for the plethora of domain names.