TLD and the New Thematic Domains
September 4, 2020
What is a TLD?
A Top-level domain is the last segment of your domain name, the item located after the last point. As found at the end, it is also known as a domain suffix.
Top-level domains were initially created in order to organize and catalog different web pages by country, category (or content you will have) and in multi-organizations. This way, just by viewing the TLD domain of any URL we will be able to get an idea of the content that the page will have.
Before proceeding, you should know that a domain name is divided into three levels: the subdomain located on the front or left side, the domain or second-level tag located in the middle, and the top-level domain located at the end, or the right side of the domain name.
A domain name that has a second top-level domain is a fully qualified domain name.
To make it clearer, let’s look at a domain name as an example: sub.example.com.
- sub: it’s the subdomain
- example: it’s the mid-level domain
- .com: is the top-level domain
All of these domain levels are separated by a “dot”.
As you can see, the top-level domain is .com: it shows that the site is commercial.
Aspects of domain names, especially TLDs, are coordinated by The Internet Corporation for assigned names and numbers or ICANN.
ICANN monitors all types of top-level domains according to what the website is associated with. As the top-level domain of a website must adhere to it, we can know what a website is about through its TLD.
What types of TLD are there?
There are three different TLD “Types”.
Up to this point, we have referred to TLDs as a unified category. However, there are three types of TLDs, as assigned by IANA/ICANN.
The IANA officially recognizes these three types of TLDs:
- gTLD – Generic Top-Level Domains
- sTLD – Sponsored Top-Level Domains
- cTLD – Country Code Top-Level Domains
In the past, the selection of TLDs was much more limited. But thanks to recent policy changes, there are now more than a thousand TLDs to choose from through three main groups, with the vast majority entering the gTLD category.
The gTLD category contains all the most recognizable TLDs. This means, this is the category with the most common options, such as:
Beyond these well-known names, you’ll find other relatively popular options like:
While these generic domains are supposedly loosely linked to the purpose of the website – for example, .org is for organizations – anyone can register most of the names of these domains.
Around 2011, ICANN opened the door for companies and organizations to have their own gTLDs, which broadly expanded the list of gTLDs and explains why we now have gTLDS such as:
In addition to registering gTLDs for business names, organizations also registered more generic niches in gTLDs, such as:
And you’ll also find gTLDs for specific geographic areas. These are sometimes called GeoTLDs, although they are actually a subset of gTLDs. Here are some examples:
- .nyc – only available to New York City residents
Prior to this change in ICANN’s policy, only 22 gTLDs were available. Now, at the moment, there are more than 1,200 different gTLDs available.
Advantages of thematic domains
By using a thematic domain, you’re targeting your website for a specific market. For a gamer it will be easy to know what your website is about if you have the TLD .games, with this you are describing the theme of your site and you send a direct message to users.
Different and easy to remember
The use of generic TLDs makes sites difficult to remember because we forget the type of TLDs they have such as .org, .es or .ve. That’s why thematic domains help users easily remember them compared to generic domains.
Some sites in order to position themselves have used a keyword within their URL and not the name of their brand. Now with thematic domains the place of the keyword is occupied by the TLD, since it describes the rotation of the website, thus giving greater visibility to the name of your brand within the URL. Using a keyword within the URL makes the domain extension longer, instead using only the flag or initials of it shortens the extension and helps it be remembered by users easily.
In short, what a TLD is, it’s a top-level domain, or the suffix of your domain name. A TLD can help identify the purpose of your site and even its geographic location.
There are three main categories of TLDs classified by ICANN, and each of the categories is defined by what is associated with the website. Are:
- Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)
- Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLDs)
- Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs)
It’s very important that you know and understand what a TLD is, so you can choose the one that’s right for your website.
Now that you have all this information, you can much more knowledge fully purchase your site’s domain name, especially TLD.