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In this guide, you’ll learn what a TLD is.

TLD is the acronym for top-level domain, it refers to the part of the domain located to the right of the dot (.). A TLD is often referred to as an “extension”, and the most common ones are .COM, .NET and .ORG. Most of the TLD’s are available to any registrant, no matter where they are geographically located, however a small share of TLD’s have more specific guidelines to watch out for.

Types of TLD’s

The most common types of TLD’s are Generic TLD’s (gTLD), New-Generic TLD’s (ngTLD) and Country-Code TLD’s (ccTLD). For example, when we break down a domain, we read it from the right to the left.

Let’s take the example of www.epik.com:

  • com – Top-Level Domain, also known as “extension”;
  • epik – Second-Level Domain, also known as the “name” of the website;
  • www – Third-Level Domain, also known as a subdomain, which in this case represents “World Wide Web”.

Generic TLD’s

Generic TLD’s are TLD’s which are not restricted to any geographical location and follow the standard ICANN Rules when it comes to renewals, transfers and registration eligibility. They are also the “oldest” TLD’s which are available.

New-Generic TLD’s

Similar to gTLD’s, New-Generic TLD’s are TLD’s which are not restricted to any geographical location and follow the standard ICANN Rules when it comes to renewals, transfers and registration eligibility, however they were introduced after the Generic TLD’s, as a result of the growing demand for more gTLD’s, ICANN received many proposals for establishment of new TLD’s, and a new category was created: ngTLD’s.

Country-Code TLD’s

Country-Code TLD’s are TLD’s that represent a specific geographic location, for example .us is a ccTLD that represents the United States, while .eu is a ccTLD that represents the European Union. Unlike gTLD’s and ngTLD’s, ccTLD’s are governed by private or public entities/institutions who set the rules themselves for the ccTLD that they are managing, thus – they do not necessarily need to follow the typical ICANN rules. Some of these ccTLD’s have restrictions such as residency location, type of registrant (individual/business), etc. For example, the .us and .eu ccTLD’s requires registrants to be located within the USA and the European Union, respectively. Due to the fact that ccTLD’s do not follow the standard ICANN rules specially when it comes to renewal periods, Epik highly suggests that you enable Auto Renewal at least for ccTLD’s as that will ensure that your domains renew in advance to the expiration date to be in compliance with each registry’s renewal period rules.