One would come across the terms TLD, gTLD, and ccTLD in the context of domain names. This article seeks to explain them and their respective usage.
What is a TLD?
The term TLD simply refers to Top-Level Domain. It is the highest level in the hierarchy of domain names in the DNS. The top-level domain names are installed in the root zone of the namespace.
International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international organization that manages TLDs and IP address management, has delegated the management of most TLDs to specific organizations who serve as the respective TLD registries.
Types of TLDs
The main types of TLDs are:
- Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)
- Country-Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs)
What are gTLDs?
Generic Top-Level Domains are TLDs that are not specific to any country. The oldest gTLDs are:
- .com: used by commercial entities (unrestricted)
- .org: mainly used by non-profit organizations (unrestricted)
- .net: originally for network infrastructures (unrestricted)
- .edu: primarily for US Colleges and Universities (restricted)
- .gov: primarily for US governmental entities and agencies (restricted)
- .mil: US military only (restricted)
New gTLDs were introduced in 2013 by ICANN and as of June 2018, there are over 1,200 new gTLDs.
Examples of new gTLDs include: .xyz, .africa, .joburg, .capetown, .durban, .host, .store, .online etc.
What are ccTLDs?
Country-Code Top-Level Domains refer to TLDs that are delegated to Countries, Sovereign States or Dependent Territories. Based on ISO 3166-1 alpha-2, all ccTLDs are two characters.
ISO 3166-1 is part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and defines codes for the names of countries, dependent territories, and special areas of geographical interest. The official name of the standard is Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions.
Examples of ccTLDs include:
Web4Africa is an ICANN Accredited Domain Name Registrar offering major gTLDs and ccTLDs.