What is a TLD?

TLD stands for Top-Level Domain. It is the extension, suffix or final part of a domain name.

If you look at a domain like: www.rebrandly.com

It has a .com TLD. While "Rebrandly" is its Second-Level-Domain and "www" is the Third-Level Domain.

The most common TLD is .com - but there are lots more options and the number of choices is continually growing. .org and .net are just more two other popular examples. TLDs can be divided into gTLDs and ccTLDs.


Generic Top-Level Domains - or gTLDs

These are TLDs that aren’t specific to any country. They can be used by anybody, wherever they are located. TLDs like .com and .org fall into this category.


Country Code Top-Level Domains - or ccTLDs

Each ccTLDs is assigned to a specific country and contains two letters to represent it.

For example:

  • .it is Italy's ccTLD
  • .ca is Canada's
  • and .mx is Mexico's

Delving deeper, there are also Sponsored Top-Level Domains (sTLDs) and Unsponsored Top-Level Domains (uTLDs). Usually, a sponsored TLD is a specialised extension which represents a specific community related to the TLD. For example, .mil is used exclusively by the US military, while .museum can be used by museums.

Unsponsored TLDs are available to a wider audience and don't belong to a specific group.

Brand TLDs - or dot brand domains - are also growing in number as big brands like Visa secure domain extensions which represent their business. For example, the .Visa TLD.


New TLDs

There are now thousands of TLDs in existence. Most of these are gTLDs are openly available to people around the world.

Since 2013, there has been an upsurge in the number of gTLDs to choose from with over a thousand new ones. Some of the new gTLDs released by ICANN in recent years include:

  • .xyz
  • .online
  • .shop
  • .site
  • .vip

ICANN - the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - is the organisation which oversees the creation of new TLDs. It accepts applications for new gTLDs.


TLDs and branded links

A TLD makes up one third of a branded link.


The growing choices of TLDs gives marketers more options when creating custom branded links. New TLDs are ideal for creating unusual links that stand out and convey a message. Find out what TLDs and domains are available using Rebrandly's domain search function.


This article is about:

  • What is a TLD?
  • ccTLDs
  • gTLDs
  • Dot brand domains

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