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TLD and gTLD: Top Level Domain

Last Edit: 10/01/17

TLD stands for Top Level Domain and gTLD stands for Generic Top Level Domain. Domain names are part of the domain name system (DNS): which simple put, are nicknames used to direct users to a resource found on the Internet (at an IP address). To begin with, in the 1980's, the Internet and domain names were not especially popular. The Internet was controlled by academic agencies, and commercial access, and access for the general public was restricted. Therefore, the number of individuals and businesses registering domain names was low. So at that point in the evolution of the Internet, there was only Top Level Domains. The first five Top Level Domain extensions were:

  1. com - commercial use.
  2. net - for Internet service providers.
  3. org - for noncommercial organisations.
  4. mil - military departments of the United States government.
  5. gov - agencies of the United States government.

When commercial access to the Internet was implemented - 1990-1995 - commercial Internet Service Providers formed the backbone of the Internet and the general public started to gain unlimited access. Alongside this interest, was an interest in registering domain names - for businesses and personal use - so that end-users could provide a service online with a unique identity. The problem was the lack of domain names available due to the lack of extensions on offer. ICANN - who controls DNS - has slowly expanded the number of Top Level Domain extensions, and the original Top Level Domain extensions were renamed as Generic Top Level Domains. Currently, the list of Generic Top Level Domains is as follows:

The other types of Top Level Domains are as follows:

  1. ARPA - infrastructure top-level domain
  2. ccTLD - country code top-level domains
  3. IDNs - internationalized top-level domains