What Is a Domain Extension?
The domain extension is the part of the URL that follows the domain name—for example, .com, .org or .edu. You see domain extensions all the time and probably give them no thought. Domain extensions typically categorize websites by type. The most common types are:
Generic Top Level Domains (gTLD)
These are the original domains and are most recognizable to the average person, like .com and .net. Because they are generic, they do not belong to one country. If you want a global market, a gTLD is the way to go.
Sponsored Top Level Domains (sTLD)
Domain extensions that specific organizations and businesses use are sponsored extensions. The general public don’t use these. For example, .gov and .mil.
Additionally, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, a regulation organization committed to making the internet stable and secure, has begun to allow organizations to register their own individualized domain extensions, such as .toyota.
Country Code Top Level Domains (ccTLD)
Country Code domains are those an individual country uses, such as .us for the United States and .ca for Canada. Each country has its own set of rules for the ccTLDs. Some countries allow anyone to use it, and some only allow government agencies to use it.
Restricted Domain Extensions
Some generic URL extensions are restricted. This means they have specific requirements for those who want to use and register them. For example, only U.S. government agencies and entities can use the .gov extension. Another example is .jobs, which is limited to websites with job listings and openings. However, these domains typically don’t apply to businesses looking for domain extensions that add trust and authority to their sites.
It makes sense to consult with platforms that specialize in domain and URL creation to procure the most valuable and recognizable addresses for your content.
Special Use Domain Extensions
Some domain name extensions are used solely for specific technical uses. These extensions include .local and .test, which the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) reserves to avoid misuse and confusion.