What are Top-Level Domains (TLDs)? #
Top-Level Domains (TLDs) are the last part of a domain name. They follow the final dot in an Internet address. For example, in the domain name www.example.com, “.com” is the TLD. TLDs are part of the text-based interface to numerical IP addresses which direct web traffic to specific servers.
TLDs fall into two main categories:
Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs) #
gTLDs include well-known extensions such as .com, .net, .org, .info, and .gov. They are open to registrants around the world, with certain guidelines. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) oversees the administration of gTLDs.
Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLDs) #
ccTLDs are assigned to specific countries and territories based on their ISO 3166-1 country codes. Examples include .us (United States), .ca (Canada), .jp (Japan), .de (Germany), and so on. These are managed by individual countries and rules for registration can vary.
What are the new TLD extensions? #
The expansion of the Internet and the demand for more domain names led to ICANN’s initiative to introduce new gTLDs in 2012. This initiative led to the creation of hundreds of new gTLDs, referred to as new TLD extensions or new gTLDs.
These new TLDs include .blog, .google, .apple, .music, .shop, .app, .xyz, etc. They’re meant to offer more options, specific categorization, and branding opportunities for businesses and individuals. For instance, photographers might choose a .photo domain, while a tech company might opt for .tech.
Benefits and Uses of New TLD Extensions #
- Increased Availability: With the new extensions, you have a better chance of getting the domain name you want, as many popular names may already be taken in the .com space.
- Brand Recognition: Businesses can use new TLDs to strengthen their branding (like .google, .apple).
- Industry or Service Specification: The new TLDs can indicate the industry or service offered by the website (like .bank, .law, .photo).
- Geographic Specification: Some TLDs refer to cities or regions (like .nyc, .vegas, .london), allowing businesses to emphasize their geographic location.
Considerations When Choosing a New TLD Extension #
Though new TLDs offer great opportunities, you should also consider the following:
- Consumer Familiarity: Consumers are more familiar with .com and other original TLDs. It may take time for users to get used to new extensions.
- SEO Impact: Google states that it treats all TLDs the same in terms of SEO. However, some research suggests that many top-ranking websites still use .com TLDs.
- Cost: Some new TLDs can be expensive to register, particularly industry-specific ones like .law or .bank. Prices can vary widely based on the extension and the registrar.
How to Register for a TLD #
- Choose a Domain Registrar: Domain registrars are companies accredited by ICANN to register domain names. We recommend Cloudflare as they charge for domains at cost price. This is one of the reasons we recommend Cloudflare and why we set up an account for you as part of our managed hosting service.
- Search for Availability: Using the registrar’s search tool, check if your desired domain name and TLD is available.
- Register the Domain: If the domain name and TLD are available, you can proceed to purchase and register the domain.
- Configure Your Domain: Once registered, you can configure your domain name to point to your website.
Remember to renew your domain name registration when due, as failure to do so could result in the loss of your domain.
New TLD extensions offer a broader range of domain name options and opportunities for businesses and individuals. However, choosing the right TLD involves careful consideration of your specific needs, target audience, SEO implications, and cost.
As part of our managed hosting service, we can set you up with Cloudflare, help you choose a domain name, then register it in your name in your account.