Top-Level Domain Names

A top-level domain (TLD), also referred to as a "top-level domain name", is the last part of an Internet domain name. Specifically, it is the group of letters that follow the final dot of any domain name.

For example, the top-level domain of quackit.com is com (as these are the letters that follow the final dot). Using the example my-domain.co.nz, the top-level domain is nz (again, because these letters follow the final dot).

Actually, the dot is usually included when expressing a top-level domain. Therefore, the above example would normally be expressed as .com.

Top-level domain names, as recognized by ICANN, fall under the following categories.

  • Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD)

    These are the most common domains that most people have heard of, such as .COM, .ORG, .NET, and .INFO.

    For more information on gTLDs see Generic Top-Level Domains

  • Generic-Restricted Top-Level Domains

    Generic-restricted top-level domain names are similar to the generic top-level domains, only eligibility is intended to be restricted and ascertained more stringently.

    Examples are: .BIZ, .NAME, .PRO

    For more information, see Generic Restricted Top-Level Domains

  • Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLD)

    These domains are proposed and sponsored by private agencies or organizations that establish and enforce rules restricting the eligibility to use the TLD. IANA also groups sTLDs with the generic top-level domains.

    Examples include: .AERO, .ASIA, .CAT, .COOP, .EDU, .GOV, .INT, .JOBS, .MIL, .MOBI, .MUSEUM, .TEL, .TRAVEL

    For more information on sTLDs see Sponsored Top-Level Domains

  • Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD)

    Country code top-level domain names are those that are generally used for a specific country or dependent territory. All ccTLD identifiers are two letters long, and all two-letter top-level domains are ccTLDs.

    Examples of ccTLDs include: .NZ (for New Zealand), .AU (for Australia), .CN (for China), .IN (for India), .UK (for the United Kingdom), .US (for the United States)

    For a full list of ccTLDs, see Country Code Top-Level Domains

  • Reserved Top-Level Domains

    IANA has reserved some top-level domains for a range of purposes including infrastructure, testing, and support of international organizations. For example, internationalized top-level domains have been reserved by IANA for testing internationalized domain names.

    Examples include: .परीक्षा, .испытание, .آزمایشی, .ARPA, .INT

    For a list of reserved top-level domains, see Reserved Top-Level Domains

Who is Responsible for Top-Level Domains?

The assignment of domain names and IP addresses is done by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN is the international organization for introducing new top-level domains.

The technical aspect of ICANN's work is carried out by Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA). IANA is in charge of maintaining the DNS root zone.

Complete List of Domain Extensions

To view a complete list of top-level domains and other domain extensions, as well an explanation behind each one, see the domain name extension definitions.

Registering Your Domain Name

You register your domain name through an ICANN-accredited domain name registrar (or partner site) like ZappyHost.

To register your domain name, enter your preferred domain into the search form. If it's available, simply proceed to the checkout. ZappyHost will walk you through the registration step by step.