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What is a TLD?

TLD is an abbreviation of top-level domain. Top-level domains are domain names like .com, .net, .org and similar. Each TLD is managed by a specific authority (a so called registry). Top-level domains can be divided in generic top-level domains (gTLDs) and country code top-level domains (ccTLDs). Country specific TLDs are often derived from the associated country code - .at for Austria, .de for Germany, .ch for Switzerland and so on. Generic domain endings can be divided into further subcategories like sponsored (sTLDs) and non-sponsored (uTLDs) top-level domains.

Generic TLD (gTLD)

While unsponsored TLDs are managed by ICANN and the Internet Society, sponsored TLDs are suggested domains of certain companies and organizations used according to previously agreed regulations.

Sponsored TLD (sTLD)

The fulfillment of certain requirements is potentially required. Those wishing to operate a domain using a sponsored TLD should be informed in advance about certain requirements and regulations regarding the use of such a TLD.

Failure to follow the requirements can lead to penalties applied at the discretion of the registry. They range from disconnection to domain deletion. If, for example, you decide in favor of a .mobi TLD, the contents of the provided website should by all means display properly on mobile phones.

Sponsored TLDs include, among others, .travel (travel) or .xxx (sex).

Unsponsored TLD (uTLD)

No restrictions and regulations that you must adhere to. Unsponsored TLDs are domains that consist of three or more characters and can be assigned to a certain group. Popular domains are .net (network), .org (organization), .com (commerical), .biz (business) or .name (name).

Country specific TLD (country code TLD or ccTLD)

Country specific top-level domains appeal to users for many different reasons. In addition to the reference to homeland, some particularly sought-after ccTLDs allow interesting combinations and notices.

Top-level domain .me (Montenegro), for example, enjoys great popularity for wordplays like call.me. Micronesia's .fm domain is significantly popular in the music industry and Tuvalu's .tv domain is mostly used for television services.

City- and region-specific top-level domains

Top-level domains for cities open up new prospects, especially for local businesses.

Advantages of city-specific top-level domains:

  • The location is seen directly from the URL (.wien, .berlin, .bayern, .tirol, ...)
  • Improved visibility in local searches

It automatically implies that these domains make sense, if one operates a business in that location or region or provides information about it.