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Top Level Domains Explained

Top Level Domains Explained
ICANN, or the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, decided in 2012 that the number of TLDs, or Top Level Domains, that was available for public use needed to be expanded. For several months, ICANN opened up a window of time where anyone who was willing to pay the $185,000 price tag could apply and register a TLD of their choosing. During this process, Google sought to register more than 100 domains, Amazon sought to register 76, and Apple only wanted to register one; .apple. This year, the process for application for the first wave of applications will be complete (at 1900 applications, it took a while to process). About 600 of these applications failed for various reasons, leaving 1300 new top level domains that will be made available for use and in some cases, be made available for purchase by the public.
Although some top level domains will still likely stay exclusive to the brands and companies that registered them, such as .apple and .samsung, addresses on some of the other TLDs will probably start coming up for sale in coming months. Some of these domains might include names such as .blog, .lawyer, and .fun. Most of these will probably cost about the same as an average domain name, but some, such as .luxury domains, may continue to cost hundreds of dollars a year. Moreover, as these domains gain popularity and authority, they may very well become important as well.
For example, imagine a place where city names being used for top level domains have become normal and used with regularity (that will happen next year, by the way). So instead of searching Google for “theatres london”, tourists and travelers may just start typing in “”, where they get taken to “” without ever passing through a SERP (search engine results page) and avoiding Google altogether. What if you’re looking for a lawyer in Denver, CO? Just type in Whomever was quick enough to get those domains will definitely have the upper hand and win the traffic and the business that comes with it. And because of their potential value, companies are paying big money for the rights to register some of the more hotly contested new top level domains. In January of this year, .shop went for an amazing $41.5 million at auction. Google’s registry operator, Charleston Road Registry, Inc., paid $25 million for .app last year.
Who Rules This Domain?
Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a domain. The first portion of any web address starts out with “http://” or “https://”, which mean “Hypertext Transfer Protocol” and “Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure”, respectively (Google started using the https:// protocol as a ranking signal pretty recently, so it’s ideal to begin using it on your website). These HTTP protocols are simply the way in which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connecting to. The second portion of a web address is either “www.” (which stands for World Wide Web) or the subdomain of the website you are going to. For example, some websites use, but not all websites use a subdomain and they are certainly not required. The third part of a URL is the actual domain name, such as “google” or in our previous example, “websiteABC”. Directly after the domain name, is the TLD, such as .edu, .com, .net, etc. Anything after the TLD in a web address is the path. In the address “”, the “Page-1” would be considered the path. Every page on your website has a unique path which all serve to enhance the authority of your domain.

So, now you know more about how a web address is structured, let’s look at the Top Level Domains. ICANN is the organization responsible for the creation of TLDs and the original 7 general top level domains are .com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net, and .org. The .com, .edu, and .net are sometimes referred to as unsponsored top level domains because they don’t have the kinds of restrictions for registering as the other four original TLDs. And we can’t forget about the “sponsored” or STLDs. We mentioned, previously, there are domains bought by companies like Apple (.apple). These are considered “sponsored” top level domains because essentially, someone can buy them, decide how to use them, how much it will cost to use them, and then make a profit if they sale the domain.
We realize that for those of you who are new to the web hosting world, acronyms like “TLD” and “ICANN” might not mean much of anything and some of you may be more interested in a more bite-sized way to view some of this information. To help you out, we’ve created this infographic to help explain a little about how new domains are made, who runs them, and what else is going on with the newest top level domains.

Who Rules this Domain Infographic



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Thursday, 19 October 2017
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