What is a Domain Name

With the World Wide Web all websites have a unique Domain Name or a URL "Uniform Resource Locator". These URLs are assigned a set of unique numbers called IP numbers or "Internet Protocol Numbers". All Web Servers use this individual I.P. address to identify and connect the Website to the end-users - You, the Internet surfer

While one cannot choose the I.P. address of the Website or change the URL. We can choose a Domain and the domain ending extension. "TLD's". In a more simple example a domain name is our postal address on the world wide web. And TLDs form the essential parts of our address in the virtual world

What are TLDs?

Our website address or domain name is similar to a "Contact" entry in a phone book. We assign a Name to a number and use the contact's name to connect the phone number to the entity. We can choose what we want to save the contact name as but the phone number stays the same. Similarly we can choose our domain name but not the I.P. address

Top level Domain. Second level Domain

Every domain name has two parts just like a phone number will
With phone numbers the area code comes first. With domains the "Area Code" or what we refer to as the "Top level" domain comes last

Let us look at "rshweb.com" as a example
"rshweb.com" is the complete domain name
The ".com" is the top level part of a Domain and the "rshweb" is the second level part of the Domain name
The nice part of Domains is you can choose the phone number as well a the area code

TLDs

Top Level Domains add specifics to the domain name or the Website
TLDs can denote the country of the Website, the purpose of the Website, and even services provided through the Website. Most website owners have their preferences for the domain name they want for their business, and more often than not, they opt for the ones directly matching their registered businesses and brand name. While the Second Level Domain takes care of the title, the Top Level Domain can add more specifics about a business
But the good old ".com" is still the most popular

TLDs are stored in the root zone of the Domain Name System of the Internet or the "DNS" data bases. The creation of TLDs during the initial years of Domain Name System aimed at stabilizing the domain naming system through categorization. TLDs today are being used in various ways to attract and help the owners and the end-users alike

 

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Types of TLDs

There are three types of TLDs, as assigned by IANA and ICANN. Officially recognizes world wide:

gTLD - Generic Top Level Domains
sTLD - Sponsored Top Level Domains
ccTLD - Country Code Top Level Domains

In the past, the selection of TLDs was limited. But because of recent changes in ICANN policy there are now over 1200 TLDs to choose from. Although the vast majority of Domains registered are still of the gTLD category. Other domain extensions are rapidly growing

gTLD - Generic Top-Level Domains

Examples of these are:
.com
.org
.net
.info
.edu
.gov

In 2011 ICANN opened the door for companies and organizations to register their own gTLDs, which greatly expanded the list of gTLDs and explains why we now also have gTLDs like:
.agency
.bike
.cash
.church
.business
.pink

ccTLDs

These are top level domains that represent specific countries. A partial list of Domains are:
.au - Australia
.br - Brazil
.es - Spain
.ru - Russia
.dk - Denmark
.me - Montenegro
.nl - Netherlands
.it - Italy
.ch - Switzerland
.de - Germany
.fr - France

Prior to the change in ICANN policy, there were only about 20 gTLDs. Today there are over 1,200 different gTLDs available. You can view them all at the IANA website

Choosing a TLD

With over 1200 generic TLDs to choose from finding the one that best matches your Website might be a confusing task. While the number of generic TLDs offers excellent options, there are a few options that one might like to consider before deciding on the TLD best matching the business

Relevance

A domain extension has to be relevant to the type of business. For example, ".gallery" might be a great option for a art gallery. It probably would not be fitting for a .bar

Target you Audience

Geographical location, age, and preferences of target consumers must be considered while choosing a TLD. A locally sold product in your country will do great with a country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). But a generic name (gTLD) such as ".party" might do well for the young consumers

SEO

Some TLDs can be nightmares for Search Engine Optimization. This is mainly due to the cheap cost and Spammers snatch up these domains. Other bad domain extensions according to Spamhaus are:
.gq - the country code for Equatorial Guinea
.cf - the country code for the Central African Republic
.ml - a domain based in Mali controlled by a telecommunications company
.ga - the country code for the Gabonese Republic
.men - one of the 2015 wave of initial new top level domains
.loan - another of the initial 2015 wave
.date - another 2015 domain, though one that was initially recommended to be denied
.top - a Chinese TLD initially created in 2014
.bid - another topic focused domain initially created in 2014, aimed at auction sites

Affordability

All TLDs come with a price, and one must take into account the budget earmarked for TLDs. Domains are more than just URL extensions. They add value to the Website in ways more than one. With thousands of options to choose from, one can now dare to be different from the .com with very good results


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COMMENTS

Kitty M
Thank you for this post


Monty P
Great help with domains for me


Steve Piercy
This guide is very useful. Thank you


Mike F
Nice to know these things. Thank you much for sharing


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