top-level domain

What’s a Top Level Domain TLD

Top-level domain (TLD) refers to the last segment of a domain name that comes after the last dot, for example COM, SG, ORG, NET, GOV. It tells you the nature of the domain name, such as its purpose, geographical area, or even the organization that owns it. 

In order words, a domain name is the name of your website that people type in the browser address bar to access your website. If you are wondering what the letters at the end of every URL link mean, they are known as its top-level domain (TLD).

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), is a nonprofit organization designed as the postal system that coordinates domains and IP addresses and root servers for the internet.

Choosing The Right TLD

The TLD you choose will eventually have an impact on your website. Therefore, it is important to consider your objectives and end goals.

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What Are The Different Types Of TLDs?

Before this change in ICANN policy – opening of the 2012 application process for the New gTLD Program, there were only 22 available gTLDs.

But now, there are 6 types of top-level domains which are regulated by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)

  1. Generic top-level domains (gTLD)
  2. Country code top-level domains (ccTLD)
  3. Infrastructure top-level domain (ARPA)
  4. Restricted generic top-level domains (gTLD)
  5. Sponsored top-level domains (sTLD)
  6. Test top-level domains (tTLD)

Generic top-level domain (gTLD)

generic top-level domain

It is the most common and popular domain that allows all general users to register. 

Examples of some of the popular gTLDs include:

  • .COM Commercial > Business/ eCommerce
  • .ORGOrganizations > Non-profits/ Forums/ Technology
  • .NET Network > Internet Provider/ Services/ Technology
  • .XYZ – The first generic domain extension with no inherent meaning
  • .BIZMust be bona fide business or commercial use
  • .INFO Originally intended for informative websites

When deciding a domain name for your blog, business, forum, or website, choose the gTLD that best describes your brand. Most users choose .COM domain for its versatility and added advantages, especially when it comes to building backlinks for your website.

It works well for businesses that wish to promote their products and/ or services on online platforms. This boosts your brand awareness and search engine optimization.

It also further authenticates your brand to your target audience and potential clients.  

However, someone else might have already taken your desired domain name. In this case, you might want to consider domain names with other extensions or even consider getting a country-code top-level domain (ccTLD).

Utilize WHOIS lookup tool to search domain availability and domain registration check to discover the website name status and prices. Search the WHOIS database lookup today.

Country-code top-level domain (ccTLD)

Country code top-level domain

The country code TLD denotes the location or ISO code. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code is an internationally designated code for every country.

Most areas either have a two-letter suffix or a three-letter suffix.

A two-letter suffix is often used in top-level domains. In other words, it is an acronym that represents a country or a state. 

Examples of some popular ccTLDs:

  • .SG Singapore
  • .MY Malaysia
  • .IDIndonesia

If you want to register for a ccTLD in a specific country, you must be a citizen or you have a business that is registered in the specific country. It is highly recommended to register a .SG domain, for example, if you are targeting the local market.

The downside of getting a ccTLD is not being able to register a WHOIS privacy protection. It is a service to keep a registrant’s details private. However, these details are mandatory for registration and authentication as part of the government regulations.

By owning a .SG domain, it is a great way to brand your business and gain trust as you target the local market.

Infrastructure top-level domain (ARPA)

This category just includes a single TLD: ‘. arpa’ which stands for Address and Routing Parameter Area. For your information, ‘. arpa’ was the first TLD ever developed by IANA reserves it for Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Currently, this domain is scheduled for the management of network infrastructure, such as facilitating reverse DNS lookups.

Sponsored TLDs

These TLDs are restricted to representing professional, ethnic, or geographical communities, especially for specific purposes. Each sponsored TLD (sTLD) has a delegated agency sponsor that represents that community, by registering them requires formal authorization to prove that you have the authority to use them.

Currently, only 14 sponsored TLDs are on the IANA’s list, for example: ‘.app’ is a TLD intended for the developer community, and it is sponsored by Google. Similarly, ‘.gov’ is intended for use by U.S governmental sites, sponsored by the General Services Administration.

What is an nTLD?

ICANN made use of being strict concerning TLDs, but in 2011, they started permitting businesses to register their TLDs.

With these looser policies, ICANN now allows the production of 1,000 TLDs per year– giving rise to “new TLDs” or nTLDs; famously known as new domain extensions.

Now there are over 1200 nTLDs (even more frequently referred to as Brand-new Domain names) offered, with over 24 million New Domain names signed up since 2017.

Numerous industry-specific nTLDs can be made use of to your advantage. Business and people in the science, technology and design occupation can gain from utilizing the .tech nTLD to create an association between themselves as well as their field. Small businesses can use .online to help with branding themselves.

Ask what your TLD is doing to advertise your service as well as if you’re getting one of the most out of your domain name.

In addition, currently you can’t create your own custom domain name suffix or custom TLD. Management of most domain suffixes is delegated to responsible organizations by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

For custom domain suffix and new domain extension, the biggest concern is that you’re going against the norm.

People are used to the most popular TLDs such as .com and .org. So .ocean or .cake might be confusing for users to recognize and remember your business website.


At this point, you might be considering getting a Generic top-level domain or a Country-code top-level domain. Hop over to check your preferred premium domain availability now! Describe your business in one or two words and test your domain name with our Domain Name Generator.

If you are looking for other related website solutions such as web hosting solutions, this might interest you.

Related information:

What Is A Subdomain & Subdirectory?

What Is SG Domain? A Complete Guide to Singapore Domain