How many types of domains are there

What types of domains are there?

Anyone who deals with the subject of domains will quickly come across many complicated terms in this context. The following article should serve as an overview and explain the differences between the different domain types:

Top level domain

The Top Level Domain (TLD for short) is the top level for name resolution on the Internet. The term refers to the last section of a domain, i.e. what is indicated on the right-hand side after the period. With the domain www.vautron.de the part “de” is therefore the top level domain.

The IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority), which in turn is a division of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) and coordinates the assignment of names and addresses on the Internet, divides top level domains into different types:

  • gTLD - Generic Top Level Domains
  • uTLD - Unsponsored Top Level Domains
  • sTLD - Sponsored Top Level Domains
  • nTLD - New Top Level Domains
  • ccTLD - Country Code Top Level Domains

With the generic top level domains (gTLD) a distinction is made between sponsored (sTLD) and non-sponsored (uTLD). The non-sponsored top level domains are directly subordinate to ICANN, while the sponsored (sTLD) top level domains are controlled by independent organizations, which can also enforce their own guidelines for allocation.

uTLD - Unsponsored Top Level Domains

The best-known domain endings .com, .net and .org belong to the unsupported top level domains. The endings .biz, .info, .name and .pro are also assigned to this domain class. These are the domains introduced since 1985 - and the first domains that can be used on the Internet. While the TLDs were previously assigned for a specific purpose, nowadays they can be used by anyone with almost no restrictions.

sTLD - Sponsored Top Level Domains

The sponsored top level domains include a number of lesser-known domain extensions that are issued by the respective supervising organization for specific purposes. These include the .aero domain extension for organizations active in the aviation industry, the .gov extension for government agencies in the USA or the .mil extension for military facilities. Some of the sponsored top level domains such as .travel (originally for the travel industry) or .asia (originally for Asia) can now also be used freely for other purposes.

nTLD - New Top Level Domains

The so-called New Top Level Domains (nTLDs) have been approved by ICANN as new sponsored domains since 2011 in order to counter the increasingly less freely available classic generic top level domains. There are now more than 1000 new domain extensions available on the market. This includes not only domain endings for generic terms, such as the .money domain or .shop domain, but also domain endings with a geographical reference such as the .bayern domain or the .berlin domain.

ccTLD - Country Code Top Level Domains

With the Country Code Top Level Domains, every country in the world has a unique, country-specific domain ending. For Germany it is the .de domain, for Austria the .at domain and for Switzerland the .ch domain. In total there are over 300 different country code top level domains, all of which theoretically have a geographical reference, but some exceptions such as the .io domain or .co domain are also used as generic domains.

Second level domain

The second level domain (SLD for short) is the second level for name resolution on the Internet. The term refers to the penultimate section of a domain, i.e. what is specified on the left-hand side in front of the period. With the domain www.vautron.de the part “vautron” is therefore the second level domain.

Third level domain

The third level domain (also called subdomain) is the third level in name resolution on the Internet. The term refers to the front section of a domain, i.e. what is specified at the very beginning. In the domain www.vautron.de, the “www” part is therefore the third level domain.

We would be happy to advise you personally on domain registration and the selection of suitable domains for your projects.

Image by Katarzyna Tyl from Pixabay

Posted in DomainsTagged domain extensions, generic domains, country-specific domains, subdomains