A TLD (top-level domain), also referred to as a domain extension, is simply the letters that appear at the end of a domain name. For example, in the domain name “www.domainname.com,” .com would be the TLD.
All of us are familiar with .com, and most internet savvy individuals are aware of its intended uses, being that it is an abbreviation for commercial. However, there are many other types of TLDs assigned by the IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) that are commonly used, and many many people are not familiar with their meaning or their usage.
If you're interested in learning more about common TLDs and their uses, the following information may be useful.
Most Common TLDs
At the moment, there are 20 different TLDs available that are not country codes, including some less conventional and seldom mentioned ones like .aero. The following list depicts some of the most popular TLDs and their intended uses.
• .com (commercial) – The most popular TLD, .com was meant to be used for commercial purposes, but is now used for virtually every cause imaginable.
• .net (network) – Intended for network web sites, this TLD is also commonly misused for a variety of purposes.
• .org (organization) – Another commonly misused TLD, .org was originally meant for sites that represent organizations and non-profits.
• .edu (education) – This is usually used by colleges and other educational institutions, and it is not typically available for public registration.
• .mil (military) – Restricted to military use only, .mil is not available for public registration.
• .gov (government) – Restricted to government use only, .gov is not available for public registration.
• .co (company) – A newly launched TLD, .co is speculated to become popular and a runner-up alternative to .com.
• .biz (business) – This is one of the rarer TLDs on the list. .biz is intended for business use, but its popularity pales in comparison to the .com TLD.
• .info (informational) – This TLD has gained a lot of popularity because, surprisingly, it has the potential to rank highly in the search engines, even though registration only costs about a dollar.
• .me (personal) – The least common on this list, .me is often used for personal websites.
Uncommon Facts About TLDs
Since .com, .org and .net tend to have higher search engine rankings, these are the most popular and misused TLDs. Aside from .me and .info, most of the common TLDs contain three letters, however one of the most important TLDs on the internet that is seldom mentioned is .arpa. ARPA stands for Address and Routing Parameter Area, and this is the TLD used to maintain the integrity of the internet. Most .ARPA domains are designated to domain servers that maintain the domain database of the internet.
Country Code TLDs
Unlike conventional TLDs, country code specific TLDs contain two letters following a .co. For example, the country code TLD for the United Kingdom is .co.uk. The popularity and prevalence of country code domains depends upon that particular part of the world because search engines return geo-targeted results.
While the above list contains only nine of the most common global TLDs, there are approximately 200 country specific TLDs available for registry at the moment. The new .co domains were originally intended to represent sites in Columbia, but has now been transferred to global commercial use and is being marketed as an alternative to .com by some registrars.