We’ve all seen the endings of URLs such as .com, .net, and .org. These are the highest levels of domain names, and they end most website domains out there. The role of the top-level domain is to designate where in the DNS root zone the URL is located in the hierarchical namespace of the Domain Name System (DNS). For example, the domain name www.example.com would belong to the top-level domain, .com.
Traditionally, the three aforementioned top-level domains are the most common, and they used to have specific roles:
- .com was primarily used by commercial, or for-profit websites and organizations.
- .net was preferred by websites that concentrated on building networks.
- .org represented non-profit organizations.
The distinction between these three generic top-level domains has largely disappeared. There are other top-level domains that are frequently used as well, such as .edu, .gov, and .mil, but these aren’t nearly as common; probably because they’re much more difficult to acquire.
If you are looking at a URL, whatever is directly to the left of the top-level domain is the second-level domain. The way that a URL is structured is that the higher the domain, the further right it will be. These are generally the names of products, services, or companies, and are used to distinguish themselves from others in the industry.
For instance, the co in example.co.com would be the second-level domain, and example would be the third-level domain, and so on. These can also be used to designate particular servers that are specific to one particular function, such as an email server.
Specialized Top-level Domains
As you can imagine, some people have a problem with registering domain names for their websites due to the domain name already being owned. You might even have run into this yourself when buying a new domain, and you might have had to use a half-baked domain instead of a specific URL that tells visitors what exactly your website is.
Several new domains become available for purchase from various domain vendors. Using these new, specific domains, you may be able to use a domain that isn’t abbreviated or altered from your original plan. For example, specialty domain extensions like .restaurant will give businesses more flexibility when choosing their domain name.
Do you have a story behind why you picked your business’s domain name? Let us know in the comments.