TLD: top level domain

TLD: top level domain

Domain — This is a unique set of characters consisting of letters, numbers and identifying a site in search engines, as well as for users. That is, by such a concept as a domain name we mean the name of a website on the network. For the most part, they are all divided into several levels, starting from the first (top) and so on. In this case, the counting goes from right to left. That is, the root domain will be the zero-level domain, which is indicated by a dot. It is not used when recording a name. Users and the network begin to identify the site starting with the 1st level domain, which is also called the Top-Level Domain, TLD.

In this review, we will take a closer look at what domain levels are. We will pay special attention to top-level addresses. Let's highlight what they indicate and what they are. We'll show you how to choose the right TLD for your website. Let us highlight a number of common mistakes that are made at this stage. We will also pay attention to the formation of prices for top-level domains and a number of related issues. The information obtained will allow you to choose the most appropriate name for your site and avoid a number of problems that are most often encountered when performing this type of work.

A brief introduction to domain levels

Any website address, regardless of its category, purpose — this is both the main resource and all additional subdomains attached to it. They are separated visually using dots. Alternatively, all products that Yandex offers to its clients are stored on the yandex domain. ru. You can see that there is a dot separation here. It indicates that yandex — this is a subdomain, and .ru — this is its coverage area and, accordingly, this is the top-level domain.

In the case of Google products, the situation is more complicated. The fact is that this solution is presented in different countries of the world. And you can understand which region this or that resource belongs to by looking at the top-level domain. For example, if it looks like .uk, and the address itself looks like, then you can confidently say that this is a British resource. We would like to immediately draw your attention to the fact that classification by territorial or national basis — this is just one of many found in 1st level domains. We will talk about this in more detail later.

All information about top-level domains, as well as related categories of names, is stored in the Domain Name System (DNS) or, as we used to call it, DNS servers. Anyone who would like to launch their own website initially purchases an address and then registers it in the system. These works are carried out with the participation of specialists from authorized organizations.

Along with 1st level domains, there are also 2nd, 3rd level and even lower domains. Thus, level 2 includes all those names that directly indicate the specifics of a particular resource. They should be easy to read, well remembered and cause an immediate association with the goods or services that will be presented on the site. However, the name must be unique. Only if this requirement is met, the user has the right to register a name in any domain zone. If you have problems selecting unique solutions, you can use special services that perform similar work.

Domains of 3 and all subsequent levels will already be assigned to the name of category 2. In this case, the names of individual pages of a particular site are often used. That is, based on a 1st and 2nd level domain, you can create an unlimited number of addresses for each page of the site. There is no longer any need to purchase such addresses. That is, the resource owner pays only for category 2 services.

That is, domain names — this is what allows Internet sites on the World Wide Web to be identified both directly by search engines and by ordinary users. They are unique combinations entered into a single register of names. It is enough just to read this name so that a person can understand what topic the site will be dedicated to and what country it will relate to. As a result, even before entering the resource, he will be able to understand whether he will receive the information he needs on it or not. This means that the choice of domain names must be approached as comprehensively and professionally as possible.

Our review today is dedicated specifically to the top-level domain. Let's get to know it and its features in more detail.

Introducing the concept of a top-level domain

Now you know that a domain is the address of a website on the Internet, which is easy to read and even remember, unlike the same IP-addresses. Each such name is completely unique. The system simply won’t register 2 identical domains. But in this case we are talking about the full site address, which includes all levels: root, top, 1, 2, 3.

If we talk directly about the top-level domain, that is, TLD, then this will be part of the site address, written after the very last dot in the name. That is, if you have a link to the site, then in this case the top-level domain will be .com. Such a decision is intended to indicate a number of key features of a particular resource, in particular:

  • Site category or type. A fairly large number of TLDs were created specifically so that the system and users could identify certain groups of resources or organizations. So, as an example, we can name the .com domain, which is assigned to commercial companies, or the .org domain, which can often be seen in the names of websites of non-profit companies. But the .gov top-level domain will always point to government websites.
  • Belonging to a particular geographical location. That is, in this case, the top-level domain indicates which country this resource belongs to. As an option .ru — Russia, .pl — Poland, .uk — UK, .fr, — France, etc.
  • Specialized in the category of resources. Top-level domains belonging to this group will indicate that the resource belongs to a particular industry. Alternatively, a TLD such as .travel will indicate that the site belongs to the tourism industry, .tech — modern technological solutions, be it IT companies, technology startups, engineering resources, .fashion — fashion field.

That is, in any of the cases, the top-level domain can be used to understand whether a particular site belongs to a particular industry, geographic region, or a number of other parameters. To understand these nuances in more detail, let’s now take a closer look at the main types of TLDs.

Main categories of top-level domains

As part of our review, we will now consider the main categories of TLDs, as well as their key features. This information will allow you to navigate possible solutions and choose those that best suit the specifics of your resource. As a result, it will help you choose the most suitable solutions that will become the basis for the future website address. Let us dwell in more detail on such top-level domains as:

  1. General.
  2. General strict.
  3. National.
  4. New international.
  5. International.
  6. Test.
  7. Sponsored.
  8. Infrastructure.

We will now consider each of the options in more detail.

Shared Domains

Such domains are called Generic top-level domains (gTLD), that is, common top-level domains. They are designed to enable companies to display as accurately as possible the specifics of the activities of their own resource and to let users understand exactly what information they can find on a particular site. Thus, along with the most common generic domains .com, .net, the following solutions are also widely used in practice:

  • .biz. Created specifically for business. This is a kind of alternative to a gTLD such as .com, which today is already quite seriously overloaded.
  • .photo. Such a domain is optimal for resources working with graphic content.
  • .info. All sites with this designation will be informational.
  • .art. This domain is chosen for sites belonging to the field of art: galleries, theaters, exhibition centers, etc.
  • .name. This is an individual solution that is worth using if you are planning to create a personal website or a unique email with your name. Basically, this solution is used by famous public figures.
  • .tech. These are the domains of IT companies, as well as various technology startups, certain engineering companies.
  • .travel. Already from the name one can judge that such a domain is used in practice by travel agencies, hotels, and airlines.

General strict

Such domains are called Generic-restricted top-level domains (grTLD). They are intended for a fairly wide range of user audiences, but at the same time they have quite serious restrictions on the use and registration of names. In particular, if you decide to register domains such as NameCheap, GoDaddy, or Google Domains, then there is a high probability that the system will ask you to undergo verification. This way she can confirm your professional affiliation and identity. For example, the same .pro. Initially, it was created in order to license certain specialists who must confirm their belonging to a certain industry, such as lawyers, doctors, economists, engineers, etc.


Such domains are also called country (Country-code top-level domains, ccTLD) or geographic (geographic top-level domain, geoTLD). They are top-level domains that are directly tied to a particular country. All of them, without exception, will consist of two characters, which are assigned based on the international standard for encoding country names ISO 3166-1. Examples of such domains include: .uk (UK), .ca (Canada), .de (Germany), .br (Brazil), .us (USA), jp (Japan), .in (India), . cn (China).

Along with them, in practice, names are also used that may not belong to a single country, but, alternatively, to a region, continent, or even province. Here, as an example, you can use the domains .london, .berlin, .amsterdam. They may already consist of more than 2 characters.

New international

This is a New Geographic Top-Level Domain (new gTLD). Represents a new generation of generic TLDs that can be used to personalize a particular site. A similar solution appeared on the market in 2012, when ICANN, a corporation specializing in the management of IP addresses and domain names, launched accepting applications for personal top-level domains. For such a decision, the owner of the future site had to pay $185,000. As you can see, the amount is more than impressive, but despite this, the corporation received over 2,000 personal applications. This is how new international top-level domains appeared, such as .app, .photography, .today, etc.


Such domains are called Internationalized Domain Names (IDNB). This is a separate category of names indicating a country using its national language. Any languages except Latin can be used here. Although, by and large, many Latinized languages of the world have their own specific spelling, which can also be used in practice. But still, the majority uses Cyrillic, Arabic letters and hieroglyphs. Examples of international domains include solutions such as امارات. — UAE, السعودية. — Saudi Arabia, مصر. — Egypt, .rf — Russia, etc.


Test top-level domains (tTLDs) — another category of top-level domains, which was created specifically for performing tests and experiments. In particular, they are used to test the operation of DNS systems. They are also purchased for software development and a number of related work. They are closed for general use. Examples of domains from this category include .test, .example, .invalid, .localhost. A distinctive feature of these solutions is that each of the options used here has its own clear purpose, which is prescribed in the recommendations of the IETF Internet Engineering Committee.


Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs), also known as sponsored domains. They represent a separate zone, which is financed by a certain community related to certain interests and industries. Alternatively, they may be based on geographical, ethnic, technical, occupational or other thematic concepts. All rules that will limit the rights of owners to register in a particular zone are regulated by the rules that establish, ensure and control these same communities.

Examples of this solution:

  • .edu — everything related to educational institutions of various levels, including universities, colleges, scientific communities;
  • .aero. — domains that are allocated to organizations working in the aviation sector: these can be both manufacturers and service providers;
  • .coop — domains owned by different cooperatives;
  • .post — These are postal services that are sponsored by the Universal Postal Union;
  • .xxx — domain created for websites dedicated to 18+ topics.


Domains Infrastructural top-level domains (ARPA) — This is a solution designed exclusively for the technical infrastructure of the Internet. That is, organizations and services that ensure the functioning of critical network functions. Today, in practice, the most famous top-level domain is .arpa — a special solution that provides the technical needs of the Internet, including checking website addresses in reverse. It is an abbreviation for Address and Routing Parameter Area.

Choose the right domain name

Now that you understand what a top-level domain is and what types it can be, it’s time to choose the solution that will be the most effective and correct in practice in your case. Most likely, the first thought of those who are faced with the need to choose a good address for their website will be to use a .com or .net top-level domain. But as soon as your idea comes to fruition, you will see that with a high degree of probability the solution suitable for you will be unavailable or its price will be high enough for the majority of the user audience. But this is not a reason to get upset and change your plans. The fact is that today there is absolutely no problem choosing the TLD that will best suit the specifics of your business and individual needs, including price.

And in this case, you should focus not on the most popular solutions, but on providing your visitors with maximum information about your resource even before visiting it. But still, not everyone wants to get new domain names, preferring to still pay a lot of money for classic and time-tested solutions. What to do in this situation must be decided by each of you individually, based primarily on your own material income.

But the only thing we want to draw your attention to is that absolutely all TLDs, regardless of whether they are new or old, from the point of view of search engine optimization of sites turn out to be absolutely identical to each other. In particular, the Google search engine claims that it does not take TLDs into account when ranking resources. The only exception here will be national top-level domains, since it is by them that the system identifies the geographic focus of the site and, as a result, offers solutions focused on a specific country or even region in the search results. That is, such domains are important for localized search and they will improve resource ranking in one country or another. The search engine understands which country the content presented on this site is aimed at. But you must understand that if you subsequently decide to expand beyond the borders of your country, then such TLDs, on the contrary, will worsen the promotion of your resource in other countries.

In all other cases, there is no point in chasing popular and common top-level domain names. This is especially true for cases when you want to register a small local business. Believe me, even with all your great zeal, you will not be able to compete with a larger competitor operating in an international format. And now think about the advisability of buying an expensive domain name.

Additional recommendations for choosing a domain name

Of other points that will need to be taken into account when choosing the right domain name for your website, we highlight the following:

  1. Specifics of your business. Before you settle on generic domains, pay attention to the niche options. Perhaps they will be the most suitable solutions for you, as they will be able to emphasize the peculiarity of the business to which the site is dedicated.
  2. Domain length optimization. It should not be too large, because this will have a direct impact on memorability. But this parameter cannot be called critical, since the majority of users do not enter domains in the search terms, but go to the sites they need directly through the link.
  3. Special characters. In practice, you can come across sites whose names contain some special characters. They will impair the memorability of the name and the ease of working with it, so it is better to abandon such a decision and rely on letters and numbers.
  4. Check availability. Here it is important to make sure that sites with a domain name similar to yours are not currently registered in the system. This is especially important for resources working in the same industry. You also need to check whether the option you choose does not violate copyright laws.

We hope that these recommendations will help you navigate the available solutions and understand what exactly the top-level domain should be and choose the most suitable solutions for yourself.

But still, at the stage of choosing a domain name, many make a number of mistakes, which subsequently negatively affect the operation of the site, forcing them to look for other solutions and make some adjustments. Now we will highlight a number of the most common errors that users encounter in practice. The information received will allow you to avoid them.

The most common mistakes when choosing a top-level domain

Of the most common mistakes that users most often encounter in practice when choosing domain names for their websites, it is worth highlighting:

  • Trademarks are not taken into account. We have already said many times that your domain name must be unique. This means that if you choose a solution that is either exactly the same or similar enough to someone else's trademark, you may end up facing legal proceedings. And there is a high probability that the final decision will be made clearly not in your favor.
  • Following popular trends of our time. In an attempt to attract the attention of a user audience, many resource owners, when searching for their own domain, choose the name or slang that is currently popular. As practice shows, such fashion trends very quickly lose their relevance. As a result, adjustments have to be made both to the brand strategy in general and to the names of sites in particular.
  • Lack of attention to the so-called local aspect. If you do not pay due attention to geolocation, you risk falling out of the rankings for this parameter altogether. This means that the search engine will not return your site in response to a user request linked to a specific region. And GEO, by the way, is one of the most important ranking factors today.
  • Lack of comprehensive preliminary research. If you do not perform a preliminary check of the planned domain name, then you may end up with a name that will be very similar to another site, including one that is quite promoted and popular. As a result, this will not only cause confusion among users, but may also lead to legal proceedings.

All this means that choosing a domain must be approached as comprehensively and professionally as possible. This is the only way you can minimize all kinds of errors and get a result that fully meets your expectations in practice.

We would also like to draw your attention to such a nuance as the domain price. There are no fixed rates here, and the cost directly depends on how popular and prestigious the top-level domain you choose. So, the most expensive solution would be .com, .org and the like. You should also be prepared for the fact that, along with the initial fee, you will subsequently need to pay amounts for renewing the domain or transferring it to other owners.

You can purchase TLDs from hosting providers, from companies that have permission to conduct this activity, that is, accredited by ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Such solutions will be the most reliable and effective in practice. In addition, there are additional specialized sites that deal with the purchase and sale of already existing, that is, registered domains. Here you can choose for yourself a domain name option that has already been used before, but is currently free. Whether this solution suits you or not, see for yourself. But we would like to draw your attention to the fact that such domains were still in use and have some kind of history.

To summarize

As you can see, choosing a top-level domain for your website — This is a fairly important task that needs to be solved as correctly and professionally as possible. This is what will reflect the identity of your resource and attract a specific target audience, including geolocation related to your company’s field of activity. In this review, we explained what types of top-level domains exist today and provided recommendations that will help you choose the most suitable solutions for you. Also keep an eye out for the most common mistakes that users make when choosing a TLD.

For the most part, there is no point in chasing expensive domains. Along with purchasing them, you will also be faced with the need to pay for renewal, which will also entail considerable expenses. In addition, no types of domains, with the exception of geographical ones, have any effect on promotion in search engines. They are important solely for geotargeting.

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