TLD stands for Top-Level Domain. Top-Level Domain refers to the most important part (rightmost) in every domain name.
For example, in theonlineadvertisingguide.com, the “.com” is the TLD.
What is the purpose of a TLD?
The primary purpose of a TLD is to help further differentiate and categorize a domain, such as its purpose, the owner, or country of origin. There were six original top-level domain names. They each have a unique purpose:
- .com, which is for commercial use.
- .org, which is for organizational use.
- .int, which is for intergovernmental organizational use.
- .edu, which is for educational use.
- .gov, which is for government agency use.
- .mil, which is for U.S. military use.
By creating new TLDs the number of domain names available increases.
How many TLD are there?
According to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), there are 1,514 top-level (TLDs) currently in use (as of June 2020). TLDs are mainly categorized into five groups:
- Infrastructure top-level domain (iTLD): This group consists of only one domain: ARPA. It is reserved by the IANA for The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).
- Generic top-level domains (gTLD): These are the LTDs with three or more characters, such as .com, .net, or .edu.
- Restricted generic top-level domains (grTLD): These domains are restricted and managed under ICANN.
- Sponsored top-level domains (sTLD): These domains are sponsored by private organizations and industries, such as .int, .jobs, .travel.
- Country-code top-level domains (ccTLD): These are LTDs with two-letter domains to indicate a specific location or country, such as .kr, .uk, .vn.
- Test top-level domains (tTLD): These domains are for testing purposes, and are installed under .test.
How to choose the best TLD for your brand or business?
When you are starting an online business or extending your market share online, it is important to pick a TLD and/or ccTLD that is relevant and coherent to your brand.
For example, if you would like your products to be sold internationally, then it is best to choose “.com”. However, if you would like your business to operate only in a certain country, say the UK, then it would be a better choice to go with the local ccTLD, in this case, “.co.uk”.
Depending on what industry your company is in, you can go with a TLD that is relevant to your business, such as “.photo” for a photography business.