What is a TLD (top level domain)? – SEO FAQs Simply Answered

This article is the beginners guide into the realms of Top Level Domains, which will answer all your questions on what is a TLD.

If you have ever stared at the “TLD” abbreviation and wondered what it is. Wonder no more – here is the answer.

What is a TLD?

what is a TLD

Top-level domain (TLD) refers to the last segment of a domain name or the part that follows immediately after the “dot” symbol.

There are 5 types of TLDs:

  • Generic (international) Top-Level Domains (gTLD) – com, edu, org, net, etc.
  • Country-Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) – co.uk, ca, au, etc.
  • Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLD) – museum, aero, etc.
  • Infrastructure Top-Level Domains – .arpa
  • Test top-level domains (tTLD) – test

What Is the Purpose of a TLD?

TLDs serve as the instant notification to see what the domain is all about.

For example, when you see “.edu” domain it’s an instant reminder that the page belongs to a university or another educational institution.

What Are the Different TLDs?

If you are looking to find which TLD will better suit your business here are all the categories explained in detail.

Choosing the right TLD is of very little importance when it comes to SEO but it helps your potential customers to identify what your business is all about.

So spend a little time when choosing the domain’s TLD and don’t buy a “.co.uk” domain if your business is located in Australia.

Generic Top-level Domains (gTLDs)

Here are the generic or international TLDs that you can choose from and info for what businesses these domains work the best:

  • .com – For commercial use
  • .edu – For educational use
  • .gov – For national and government agencies
  • .int – For international organizations
  • .net – For networks
  • .org – For organizations

In 1998 there were added 472 gTLDs that you can choose from for every international business imaginable and the full list is available here.

Country Code Top-level Domains (ccTLD)

There are as many country code TLDs as there are countries.

Therefore, we will not list the full list.

Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLD)

There are very low chances that your business belongs to one of these groups  Nevertheless, if you do, here are the TLDs you could choose:

  • .aero – For members of the air-transport industry
  • .asia – For companies, organizations, and individuals in the Asia-Pacific region
  • .cat – For Catalan linguistic and cultural community
  • .coop – For cooperative associations
  • .edu – For post-secondary institutions accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
  • .gov – For United States Government
  • .int – For organizations established by international treaties between governments
  • .jobs – For human resource managers
  • .mil – For United States Military
  • .mobi – Providers and consumers of mobile products and services
  • .museum – For museums
  • .post – For postal services
  • .tel – For businesses and individuals to publish contact data
  • .travel – For travel agents, airlines, hoteliers, tourism bureaus, etc.
  • .xxx – For pornographic sites

Infrastructure Top-Level Domain

Under this category, there is only one TLD – .arpa

This TLD is used exclusively for technical infrastructure purposes.

While the name was originally the acronym for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the funding organization in the United States that developed one of the precursors of the Internet (ARPANET), it now stands for Address and Routing Parameter Area.

Test top-level domains

The Internet Engineering Task Force reserved the DNS labels:

  • .example
  • .invalid
  • .localhost
  • .test 

These TLDs cannot be installed into the root zone of the Domain Name System.

The reason for reservation of these top-level domain names is to reduce the likelihood of conflict and confusion. This allows the use of these names for either documentation purposes or in local testing scenarios.

I hope now you know what is a TLD

To re-cap, each TLD includes an independent registry controlled by a specific organization. Which is managed under the guidance of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below.

If you have other Search Engine Related Questions visit our SEO FAQ section.