What does TLD (Top-Level Domain) mean?

You may be familiar with some TLD (top-level domains) like .com, .info, or .net, but what exactly are they? Now you will learn more about them and what is their role in DNS resolution.

​What is a TLD?

Right under the Root domain level, the TLD level is located. Seeing it from a user perspective, the TLD is the last part of the fully qualified domain name, just after the second-level domain name. You have probably seen many extensions like .com, .eu, .biz, etc. All of them are TLD that belongs to different nameservers.

The organization that manages them is called IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). It is the world coordinator of the DNS Root, so it is responsible for assigning ccTLDs and gTLDs.

You can see a complete list of all available TLD in the world in their Root Zone Database. It is the complete list. Far more extensive than any registrar site. 

On top of IANA is ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), but let’s not get too technical.

​Types of TLD

  • gTLD – it stands for generic top-level domain. These are the most common ones. Here you can see .com, .org, .net, and many more. These TLDs usually don’t have any specific requirements, and everybody could register one. 
  • grTLD – generic restricted top-level domain. These are managed directly by ICANN. Such extensions are .biz, .name, and .pro. You will need to comply with additional requirements to register a name with them.
  • ccTLD – country-code top-level domain. They are designed for use by specific countries and territories. You probably know many of them like .it for Italy, .es for Spain, .co.uk for the United Kingdon and so on. 
  • IDN ccTLD –Internationalized country code top-level domain. This category is very similar to the previous one, but the domain names are written in different letters here. They don’t use the Latin alphabet and use Chinese, Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew, or others.
  • tTLD – test top-level domain. The domains in this category are for testing IDN TLDs.
  • sTLD – Sponsored top-level domain. These TLDs are sponsored by different private agencies and governments like .gov for govenament and .edu for education. 
  • Infrastructure TLD – Domains with an infrastructural purpose for ARPA. It is managed by IANA.

​Does the TLD matter for SEO?

No, the TLD that you have chosen for your domain does not matter for the ranking on the search engines. It is a myth that the TLD affects the SEO of a site.

​How to choose a Top-Level Domain?

There are some limits depending on what TLD you have chosen. Many of them are related to the ccTLDs. Usually, you need to live or have a business in the country, which ccTLD you would like to use. Apart from individual limits, based on a particular TLD, you should consider the following:

  • Registration price.
  • Renewal price.
  • Is the TLD shows any relevance to your business or industry?
  • Is the second-level domain name that you want available with the extension?

​TLD and Domain resolution

When somebody tries to enter a site, he or she types the domain name. Then a process called DNS resolution starts. The computer of the person needs to find which IP address corresponds to the domain name. A quick search will ask the Root servers, which will point to the TLD servers, they will point to the authoritative servers of the domain name, and finally, it will provide the IP address, and the person could visit the site.

TLD servers point to the authoritative name server for the second-level domain. 

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