What are the different types of Top-Level Domains?
Until very recently, there were only a small number of different Top-Level Domains (TLDs) available on the market because of technological difficulties which limited the number of letters that could be used. Over the last few years, as technology has improved, there has been a steady growth in the types and varieties of TLDs that are now available. And this is only likely to continue.
Currently, the main types of TLD available are:
- Generic TLDs (gTLDs): These are the generic TLDs that everyone is familiar with and have been around seemingly forever. Popular versions include: .com, .gov, .org, .net.
- Country Code TLDs (ccTLDs): These have been around for as long as the generic versions and signify a relationship with a particular country or culture. Examples of these include: .co.uk, .eu, .us, .br, .pl, .cn, .ru, etc. Sometimes, there are restrictions placed on registration of a ccTLD, requiring residency or a formal relationship with the country; however, some ccTLDs are recognised for their importance globally and are open for registration (e.g., .co (Colombia), .it (Italy)).
- Geographical TLDs (geoTLDs): These are a recent development that have been introduced since the restriction of TLDs to two or three characters has been lifted with modern technology. The list of geoTLDs is constantly growing and current examples include .alsace, ..asia, .amsterdam. Often there are restrictions on application for a geoTLD, requiring specific and verifiable relationship with a specific geographical area.
- ICANN gTLDs (nTLDs): This is a further recent development, enabling the use of far more descriptive generic TLDs.These are growing at an exponential rate with new additions being added all of the time. Current examples include, .aero, .accountant, .associates, .construction, .contractors, .yoga, .zone and many more. Some restrictions apply to the nTLDs that apply to specific professions.
- Brand TLDs (bTLDs): These are a group of TLDs that are specifically linked to identifiable brands, such as .bmw, .youtube. and others. These are heavily restricted and not generally available to the public.
In addition, many of these TLDs have an international perspective as well, so for example, geoTLDs include a large and growing number of TLDs in other languages, as do the nTLDs.