You have seen already plenty of TLD extensions – .com, .org, .net, and even some more exotic like .ninja, .dance, or .fail. But why do they exist? What is the purpose of TLD? Now you will know the answers!
What is the Top-level domain (TLD)?
The Top-Level Domain (TLD) is the second-highest level of the DNS. It is the extension, just after the second-level domain name of a website. Most popular ones are .com, .net, and .org. There are many TLDs out there, and they are two main categories. Country Code Top-Level Domains (ccTLD) that are used to indicate the different countries in the world and Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) that could be anything with or without meaning.
TLDs and DNS
You might not know, but there is a global system called Domain Name System (DNS) that we use all the time. It translates all the domain names that we type, from letters to IP addresses. It makes it possible to visit websites! The TLD (top-level domain) is one of the levels of the DNS. The highest level is the Root, then the TLD level follows, after that Second level domain, subdomain level, and so on.
The relationship of TLD with DNS and DNS zone
Each of the levels of the DNS hierarchy is managed by a different administrator. That is the case because the system is too big, and nobody can really manage it by itself. Each of the administrative parts is called a DNS zone. The highest one, the Root, delegates administrative rights to the one below, which is the TLD. As you know, there are many TLDs, and all of them got authority from a higher level. That way, there are many authoritative name servers from different levels instead of a single one for all.
So, in the context of the DNS, the purpose of the TLD is to delegate authority and manage domains in a more efficient way.
TLDs and the clients
Me, you, and everybody who wants a website needs to get a domain name. Otherwise, you need to advertise its IP address, and it will be really hard for people to remember it.
You can get a domain name with the TLD you like. There are some restrictions, but you have plenty of extensions to choose from in general. Some are related to industries, some are related to countries, and others are just generic extensions. You have many choices, so finding the best match between your desired name and TLDs is a lot easier.
For clients, the TLD’s purpose is to offer a combination between a domain name and extension that they can use for their website. So the more TLDs are there, the bigger the competition between them is, which is very beneficial for the consumers.
New TLDs and the business point
Why are there new TLDs appearing every now and then? The answer is easy – money. The company that is behind the Root servers – Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the highest in the DNS, allows people to register new TLDs and sell domains with it. The prices are really high, but if you have a great idea for a TLD, you can start a registrar business and provide more opportunities for TLDs.
We went deep and saw what is the purpose of TLD, depending on which angle you are seeing it. It is an administrative division of the DNS, a creative option for clients, or a business opportunity for entrepreneurs.