TLD stands for top-level domain. When you look at a website’s name, you got www, then the website’s name, a dot, and usually a three-letter, or sometimes two-letter word. Depending on where you register your domain name, certain registrars only allow your to choose from certain TLD’s as well. The letters that come after the dot are the ones referred to as the top-level domain. There are two types of TLD’s. The country code TLD’s and the generic TLD’s. Country code TLD’s are two letters long representing the initials or the code of a particular country. These are the .us or the .ca that you see at the end of a website’s name, which actually stands for United States and Canada respectively. Other examples are the .hk for Hong Kong, and .de for Denmark. Generic TLD’s the ones longer than two letters. Most of the time, they are three letters long. The most common ones are .com, .org, and .net. There are a whole lot of others and those will all be discussed a little later.
TLD’s are not case sensitve, just like the actual website’s name. Country code TLD’s are supposed to be used by websites that originates from the geographic locations they represent. For example, only American-based websites can use the .us TLD at the end of a domain name. Most of the time, the location of the person who intends to buy the domain name with the corresponding country code TLD needs to be verified first. The IP address of the computer he or she uses to avail of the domain name is commonly used as a basis of one’s location. But there are also some country code TLD’s that can be used just by anybody. This means there are no geographical restrictions at all as to who can use it. Examples these of country code TLD’s are .am for Armenia, .to for Tonga, .tm for Turkmenistan, and .ws for Samoa, among others.
Generic TLD’s, on the other hand, are the ones that are administered by certain groups, associations, or institutions globally. Any person can use these TLD’s, regardless where in the world they are located, although there are some generic TLD’s that are used only in the United States, mostly for historical reasons. TLD’s were first implemented in 1985 and during that time, there were only 7 of those that are being used. These are the .arpa, .com, .edu, .gov, .net, .org, and .mil. But as time went on, that number grew. Generic TLD’s are now actually divided into two subgroups, the un-sponsored generic TLD’s and the sponsored TLD’s. Sponsored TLD’s are the ones backed-up by private institutions.
Below is the list of the known TLD’s that are being used in the Internet today.
.aero – As the name implies, aero is a TLD that is reserved for the aviation industry. It is a sponsored generic TLD, which is actually the first of its kind. Aero is backed up by SITA, or the Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques a Swiss air transport and aviation company whose main office is situated in Geneva.
.biz is a un-sponsored generic TLD that is usually reserved for businesses. NeuLevel operates it and they ensure that this TLD is used only by large and small businesses operating around the world. With a .biz TLD, you should be able show your website visitors you are serious in getting down to business.
.cat – Just like aero, cat is an example of a sponsored generic TLD. It is reserved for the Catalan culture and language and is sponsored by Fundacio puntCat, a Spanish non-profit organization.
.com – Everybody knows a .com site. This TLD is originally created for commercial uses, but a big number of institutions use it currently. It certainly is the most popular TLD ever. It is also the biggest and the one widely used around the world. It is a non-sponsored TLD, which is operated by VeriSign Global Registry Services.
.coop – Another type of sponsored TLD, this one’s reserved for the use of cooperative associations alone. DotCooperation or simply dotCoop duly sponsors it.
.edu – This TLD is used by educational institutions like schools, colleges, and universities. Right now, only U.S.-based education institutions has the clearance to use it, although originally, it is supposed to be open to every school around the world. Educause operates this TLD.
.gov – Another one exclusively used by the U.S., this TLD is reserved for the government. But even so, it is a non-sponsored TLD that is operated by the United States General Services Administration. Some nations around the world are granted the use of .gov for their own government’s domain, but they should include their respective country code TLD right after it.
.info – Maintained by Afilias, this unsponsored generic TLD is also being used commonly around the world. It is mainly intended for informational purposes and anybody can use it without restrictions whatsoever.
.int – This sponsored TLD is created and reserved for the different organization, institutions, and groups that are established by international treaties. This TLD is operated by the IANA .int Domain Registry.
.jobs – .jobs is a sponsored TLD that is reserved mainly for the use of human resource management-related groups. This TLD is sponsored by Employ Media.
.mobi – As years go by, mobile communications is slowly taking over the world. And so to rightfully keep up with the changing times, the .mobi TLD was created. Everything related to mobile, either contents or services, are the ones allowed use this TLD. This one is sponsored by mTLD Top Level Domain.
.museum – The Internet is a big informational place, and so museums were given a place in it. This must be the idea behind the .museum TLD that is sponsored by MuseDoma or the Museum Domain Management Association.
.net – Next to .com, .net is the second most popular TLD in the Internet today. Right now, anybody can use it even though it was initially intended for network-related groups, such as Internet service providers, telephony, and related services only. Consequently, .net, which is the second largest TLD in the world, is also operated by VeriSign Global Registry Services.
.org – This non-sponsored TLD is created to serve the big non-commercial community. It is very apt for non-profit organizations although it is 100% available to anybody who wishes to adapt it. It ranks to be the third largest domain after .com and .net. It is the Public Interest Registry that maintains this one.