Top-Level Domain

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The domain name system allows users to refer to websites and other Internet resources using names rather than the all-numeric IP addresses assigned to each computer on the Internet. Each domain name consists of a series of character strings separated by dots. The right-most string is its top-level domain (TLD), and every TLD is managed by a single registry.

Varieties of TLDs

There are different types of TLDs.

gTLDs

ccTLDs

Country-code TLDs are delegated to a designated ccTLD registry, which is operated by a ccTLD Manager, according to local policies that are adapted to meet the economic, cultural, linguistic, and legal circumstances of the country or territory involved.

TLDs with two ASCII characters have been established for over 250 countries and external territories.
TLDs with non-ASCII characters designated for a country or geographic region.

Program-specific TLDs

  • New gTLD Program – a process by which ICANN accepts applications to add new TLDs to the Root Zone.

Operating Mode

TLDs operate in different manners but can be categorized in some simple ways:

  • Open - Operating and offering both registration and resolution services.
  • Closed - Not accepting registrations, may be resolving evergreen/legacy/infrastructure subdomains.

Level of Restriction

  • Unrestricted - If there are no requirements that must be met in order to register a name under a TLD, that TLD is Unrestricted.
  • Restricted - Requiring Local Physical Address, Local Tax ID, or other specific criteria be met to qualify in order to provision a name.
  • Sponsored - A variation on Restricted, the applicant for a domain in an STLD must meet the requirements within that TLD (ie. .jobs would require that Human Resources be involved, .travel would require certain Travel criteria are met, etc).

References