Definition – What does Top Level Domain Name (TLD) mean?

Top-level domain(TLD) refers to the last segment of the domain name or part of which follows immediately after the “dot” symbol.

For example, at the Internet address: https://www.google.com, “.com” TLD portion.

Top Level Domains are mainly classified into two categories: generic Top Level Domains and country specific Top Level Domains.

What is Top Level Domain Name (TLD)

Examples of some of the popular Top Level Domains include:

  • .com
  • .org
  • .net
  • .gov
  • .biz
  • .edu.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is the entity that coordinates the domain and IP address to the Internet.

Historically, Top Level Domain Names representing the destination and type a domain or geographical area from which it originates. ICANN generally very strict about opening new Top Level Domain Names, but in 2010, it decided to allow the creation of new generic TLDs as well as TLDs for company-specific trademark.

top-level domains are also known as the domain suffix.

Ikozma explains Top-Level Domain (TLD)

ARPANET Top Level Domain Names created in 1960 to allow a human being to simplify the process of memorizing IP address. Instead of using a series of numbers to each computer, the domain name system was established to set the address in a more user-friendly.

In the early 1980s, when the initial domain was developed, first Top Level Domain Names such as .org and .com to see the light.

A top-level domains recognize specific elements regarding related sites, such as the purpose (business, government, education), its owner, or geographic region from which it originated.

Each Top-Level Domain registry includes independently controlled by a particular organization, which is run under the guidance of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

ICANN recognizes the following types of TLDs:

Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD)

This is the most popular type of TDLs. Some examples include “.edu” for an educational site and. ‘.Com’ for commercial sites. Top Level Domain Name types available for registration.

Country-Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD)

Each ccTLD recognizes certain countries and generally two letters. For example, the ccTLD for Australia is “.au”.

Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLD)

These Top Level Domains are supervised by private organizations.

Infrastructure Top-Level Domains

There is only one Top Level Domain in this category, which is a “.arpa”. Internet Assigned Numbers Authority controls this TLD to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

In the past, the goal of each is specific Top Level Domain Name(TLD), such as .com that is used only for commercial websites. Finally, as the Internet continues to grow and evolve, this restriction was abandoned, and now almost no difference between the most TLDs.

However, some Top Level Domains are reserved for some unique purpose even today, as a gTLD that is assigned to educational institutions (.edu) and those who were assigned to military and government (.gov and .mil).

Some of the Top Level Domains and their original explanations are as follows:

  • .com — Commercial businesses.
  • .org — Organizations (generally charitable).
  • .net — Network organizations.
  • .gov — U.S. government agencies.
  • .mil — Military.
  • .edu — Educational facilities, like universities.
  • .th — Thailand.
  • .ca — Canada.
  • .au — Australia.

According to the IETF, there are four top-level domain name reserved, and not used in the production network in the system worldwide domain name:

  • example – Only available for use in the example.
  • invalid – Only available for use in an invalid domain name.
  • localhost – Only available for use on a local computer.
  • test – Only available for use in the test.

What is the Purpose of Having Different Top Level Domains(TLDs)?

The general idea is that it has all the different Top Level Domains that can help you communicate information about your website through your domain name.

Appearance Let’s look at an example that is near and dear to our hearts – WordPress.

There are actually two different WordPress sites, which have become a perpetual source of confusion for the new WordPress users. Each has a different TLD, which actually did a pretty good job showing what the site is about:

  • WordPress.com – this is the site for commercial,  for-profit venture from Automattic.
  • WordPress.org – this is the site for the software open-source WordPress which is managed by the non-profit organization Foundation WordPress.

In the real world, things do not always fit so neatly.

For example, we are already talking about how startups and technology companies using .io domain, although .io really become ccTLD for British Indian Ocean Territory.

Does Google Care Which Top Level Domain Name You Use? Does TLD Affect SEO?

The short answer is that, no, Top Level Domain Name you choose does not affect SEO. According to Matt Cutts, Google is just trying to find the best content, regardless of the Top Level Domain Name.

With that being said, Top Level Domain Name you choose may have some indirect effect on SEO. For example, if you chose a strange, unknown TLD, visitors may have trouble remembering your site, which can lead to fewer inbound links. GrowthBadger conducted a study comparing the top-level domain and found that the .com domain is 33% more memorable.

Similarly, if you use a foreign Top-Level Domain, visitors may be less likely to click on your site in the search results because of the perception of spam, which can lower your CTR rate.

For example, in a survey of 1,000 people in the UK, VARN found that 70% of respondents did not believe the newer, lesser known Top-Level Domains as popular Top-Level Domains such as .co.uk.

So, unless you have good reason to choose the lesser-known Top-Level Domain, you may be better off sticking with one of the popular choices. That’s why we use the .com domain in Kinsta.

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