10 Things You May Not Know About
Top-Level Domains

Robyn Norgan
Jan 22, 2013

Your domain name is your home on the web. It is how others, whether they are customers you've never met or close family and friends, will find you online. Choosing the right domain name is very important and something that should be thought through (see our post on Finding Your Perfect Domain Name for more info), but selecting the name is only part of the equation. Ask yourself: what do you really know about those letters to the right of the dot?

  1. There are two main types of top-level domains (TLDs): generic (gTLDs) and country code (ccTLDs).

  2. .COM is considered a generic domain (gTLD) and was one of the original TLDs implemented in January 1985. The .COM domain is the largest TLD at over 100 million registrations as of 2013. Other original TLDs include .EDU, .GOV, .MIL, .NET, .ORG, and .ARPA.

  3. You can't just register any TLD you want. Current gTLDs that are open for anyone to register include .BIZ, .COM, .INFO, .MOBI, .NAME, .NET, .ORG, .TEL, and .XXX. Restricted use gTLDs include .AERO, .ASIA, .CAT, .COOP, .EDU, .GOV, .INT, .JOBS, .MIL, .MUSEUM, .PRO, and .TRAVEL.

  4. There are about 240 country code top-level domains or ccTLDs and over 40 Internationalized ccTLDs right now. All ccTLDs are based on two-letter country codes defined in International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 3166-1. Examples of ccTLDs include Germany's .DE and India's .IN.

  5. Many ccTLDs are not restricted to residents and have been marketed for other uses including domain hacks. For example, Montenegro's .ME is marketed for personal websites and blogs and can also be used to create domain hacks such as

  6. Until 2007, there were no TLDs available outside of the English alphabet. This meant countries like China had ".CN" as their ccTLD even though they use characters in their native language. Today there are 36 Internationalized (IDN) country code domains in languages such as Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Thai, and more. There are also more proposed.

  7. There are two geographic TLDs (GeoTLDs), which are generic domains associated with geographical, geopolitical, ethnic, linguistic, or cultural communities: .ASIA, representing the continent of Asia, and .CAT, representing the Catalan language and culture. There are several GeoTLDs proposed including .berlin and .africa.

  8. Last June, ICANN announced that it received applications for over 1900 proposed new TLDs. ICANN is currently in the process of reviewing these applications and says we will see the first approved new TLDs in mid-2013. See our past post about ICANN's reveal to see the full list of proposed TLDs.

  9. When you register a domain, you should be aware of whether or not the TLD registry (not registrar, which is us) allows privacy. If you do not use privacy on your domain, anyone, including spammers, can look up your information (address, phone, email, etc) via a whois lookup. See more information about protecting yourself from spam with our privacy service on one of our past posts.

  10. If your domain expires, you may still have time to renew it. Each TLD has a grace renewal period that is usually about 40 days, followed by a redemption period that usually lasts 30 days. During the grace renewal period, you can still renew the domain for the regular renewal price, but once it reaches redemption it is much more expensive. See our past post on the lifecycle of your domain and then check out our list of TLDs to see each TLD's grace renewal period.

Post by Robyn Norgan

1 comment
Max Denovan
Feb 18, 2013 6:09am
The Internet is about to undergo a radical change that will soon fill it with LOLs, YouTubes, and, of course, lots and lots of porn. No I’m not describing the Web as you know it, but a stream of new generic top-level domains that promise new Website names such as “drama.Youtube” or “funny.LOL” instead of traditional sites such as