What is a TLD?

The right-most label in a domain name (e.g, the net in nospinwordpress.net) is referred to as the top-level domain (TLD). TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as Generic TLDs (gTLDs). TLDs with two letters have been established for approximately 240 countries and territories and are referred to as Country Code TLDs (ccTLD). A list of all gTLDs and ccTLDs along with the organizations responsible for their maintenance can be found on the IANA website. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority or IANA, is responsible for coordinating the Internet’s globally unique identifiers, and is operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). NoSpin Web [Hosting] is licensed to register domain names attached to TLDs in the IANA Top Level Domain Database through the Tucows and eNom ICANN accredited registrars. The responsibility for operating each gTLD, including maintaining a registry of the domain names within the gTLD, is delegated to organizations under contract with ICANN referred to as registry operators or sponsors.

Types of gTLDs

There are two types of gTLDs registry operators responsible for gTLD implementation. An unsponsored gTLD registry operates under policies established by the global Internet community directed by ICANN processes. The .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, .org, and .pro generic TLDs are examples of unsponsored gTLDs that are implemented by various unsponsored gTLD registries. Some gTLDs such as .biz, .name and .pro are specified by their registries as “generic-restricted” and may require additional information upon registration such as proof of professional licensing. A sponsored gTLD (sometimes called an sTLD) is a specialized gTLD that has a sponsor representing a specific community that is served by the gTLD. The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters concerning the gTLD. The .aero, .cat, .coop, .jobs, .mobi, .museum, and .travel are examples of sponsored gTLDs. Entities wishing to register domain names under delegation of a sponsored gTLD registry will be required to meet certain eligibility requirements. Virtually all sponsored TLDs have their own registry. The .edu gTLD is probably the most common example belonging to the registry Educause.

A current listing of TLDs that are part of the authoritative root zone is always available at http://www.icann.org/registries/top-level-domains.htm. If a TLD does not appear on this list, it will not be universally resolvable on the public Internet. For more information on universal resolvability, please see http://www.icann.org/topics/TLD-acceptance/.

A note about gov and edu TLDs

The edu and gov registries currently do not have a contract with ICANN. The edu TLD is operated by Educause. For more information on registering domain names under the edu TLD, see https://net.educause.edu/edudomain/. The gov TLD is operated by the United States General Services Administration. For more information on registering domain names under gov, see http://www.nic.gov. NoSpin Web [Hosting] is licensed to register domain names under the education gTLD.