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What are TLD domains?

TLD domain is a term we use pretty often, and it describes the letters to the right of the dot in a web address. If we use the example coolexample.com, .com is the TLD, which stands for Top-Level Domain — what people actually mean with the term “TLD domain.”

Choosing your TLD domain is one of the most fundamental aspects of establishing an online presence. Why? Because .com isn’t the only option. In fact, there are more than 1,000 to choose from when you begin your quest to create an unforgettable brand.

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We’ve come a long way.

When it started, the internet was filled not with clever, catchy domains, but boring strings of numerals to designate web presences. As the web widened, things got more complicated. That was until 1983, when the Domain Name System (DNS) ushered in the TLD. The TLD domain continued to evolve beyond just a series of letters.

Today, there are lots of people — in all kinds of industries and locations — looking to claim their own piece of the internet. If they all had to use .com for their online presences, well… things would get crowded. Even when the web was just starting, .com wasn’t the only option. There were other TLD domains, including:

  • .net
  • .org
  • .edu (limited to accredited, U.S.-based colleges and universities)
  • .gov (limited to U.S. government entities)
  • .mil (limited to U.S. military entities)

But that’s ancient history, considering how fast things move online. The TLD domain is what millions of people use to express themselves, to convey a distinct style and attitude. The TLD domain is what people use to make their ideas real. And to help with that, there are entirely different types of TLD domains, such as country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and generic top-level domains (gTLDs).

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A domain that’s anything but generic.

But even with all the ccTLDs and IDNs available, the web is too big to stop there. Estimates suggest there are as many websites online as there are people on Earth — and that number keeps growing. To keep up with demand for a place online, new gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains) have been rolling out since 2014. If you’re looking for a TLD domain that’ll let you define your brand in a unique way, consider something like:

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The TLD domain goes international.

Originally, ccTLDs were intended to designate a geographic location. For example, .us let everyone know you were based in the United States. But someone got clever. They realized the .us TLD domain could also mean “us.” Now there are all kinds of opportunities to get creative with your online presence by using a ccTLD domain like:

We’ve covered lots of ground when it comes to dialing in a domain that spotlights your online presence. But what about people who don’t use the English lettering system? If, say, you use the Cyrillic alphabet, what happens if you need ж or ҽ in your TLD domain? Enter the Internationalized Domain Name (IDN).

With the IDN, you can spell it out the same way online and offline. It lets you use the characters you normally would in your native language and lets your visitors know they’re in the right place. If you have a global presence, locking down an IDN is a must.