If you want to start a website or an online store, you will inevitably be faced with the challenge of finding a suitable internet address at one point or another. It’s not that easy with the many types of domains available. On the one hand, it is important to find a relevant and unique name; the second and third level domain types play an important role here. On the other hand, you need a suitable domain extension, also known as a top-level domain.
In the following article, I will help you understand more about the different types of domain names: what is a domain extension and what does it mean? How do the different levels of a domain name differ from each other? And how do you choose the right kind of domain for your website?
What is a domain?
The Internet connects devices and technical services around the world. This is made possible by the following Internet protocols TCP / IP and the Domain Name System (DNS). The TCP / IP protocol ensures that every computer and mobile device, as well as every web service that can be accessed on the Internet, is assigned a unique IP address, such as 22.214.171.124. DNS uses name servers to translate these addresses into easier-to-read domain names, such as: www.stevenkendypierre.com. This is called name resolution.
Thus, you need to enter a unique domain address when you want to visit a website or online store through the address bar of browsers like Firefox or Google Chrome, or if you want to connect to a server or another. device on the Internet.
What are the types of domain names and extensions?
Finding an Internet address can quickly become a headache. On the one hand, because it is difficult to come up with a good name, easy to remember. On the other hand, because it is complicated to navigate among the different types and levels of domains available, especially for inexperienced people.
I’ll show you the five most important components and types of domain names (with examples) that are important to know for a successful domain registration.
Top level domain (TLD)
Top-level domains, or TLDs for short, represent the highest level of name resolution in the domain name system hierarchy. A top-level domain is always the last element of a web address (to the right of the last dot), which is why TLDs are also called “domain extensions”. In the example domain already used, www.example.org, the top-level domain is the org part.
The allocation of TLDs is managed by the IANA, a division of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an organization founded in 1998. The IANA determines which domain extensions exist and sells the rights to them. allocation to registrars, who in turn negotiate with domain providers to sell the more than 1,000 current domain extensions.
Original top-level domains and their original meanings of domain extensions
.com: Open domain for commercial websites.
.org: Open TLD for Nonprofits.
.net: Open address for Internet service providers.
.int: Extension strictly limited to companies, organizations and programs operating internationally.
.edu: Domain designated for educational institutions and universities.
.gov: Domain for US government institutions.
.mil: TLD available only for departments, services and agencies of the United States Department of Defense.
.info: Information services.
.pro: Special professional groups.
.jobs: Job offers from companies.
ccTLDs (country code Top-Level domains)
The ccTLDs, also called national top-level domains in French, constitute a special category of domain extensions administered by the country concerned. CcTLDs are always made up of two letters, for example the codes fr for Germany or uk for the United Kingdom. In addition to national TLDs, ICANN has also created ccTLDs for outside territories that are geographically separate from the main country. So, alongside the Australian .au domain, there are also ccTLDs for Cocos Islands (cc), Christmas Islands (cx), Norfolk Island (nf) or Heard and MacDonald Islands (hm), all of which are Australian outer territories.
The guidelines that apply to registering a country-specific domain are country-specific. Many smaller and poorer countries have taken advantage of this fact and marketed their ccTLDs. So it has become a real source of money for some: the dwarf state of Tuvalu sold its domain name, for example, for $ 50 million to the company DotTV and invested the money in IT infrastructure. Tuvalu was also able to pay the membership fee to become the 189th member of the United Nations on September 5, 2000.
National top-level domains and their domain extension meanings
.uk: Great Britain and Northern Ireland
.us: United States of America
Second level domain (SLD)
The second level domain is the freely chosen name located below the top level domain. This component of a web address is also called a domain name. Although it is located below the TLD in the domain hierarchy, it is by no means less important. In reality, it’s quite the opposite: the domain name is much more important than the extension, both for the user and for SEO, because it better describes the content of a page and can even integrate words. -keys.
In my example domain name www.example.org, the second level domain is “example”.
There are even national second level domains, as evidenced by the following table which shows examples of combining with the .uk TLD:
.co.uk: Commercial Web Services in United Kingdom (United Kingdom)
.gov.uk: Central and regional government agencies and departments in the UK
.me.uk: Individuals in the United Kingdom
.sch.uk: Schools in UK
Third level domain (subdomain)
Another level of domain can optionally be subordinate to the domain name. This type of domain is placed before the second level domain and is called a third level domain or subdomain. Its role is to structure the content of a website or online store. The different themes or languages of a project can be clearly indicated in the web address, while the domain name remains unchanged.
In my example domain name www.example.org, the well known subdomain www is used. In the early days of the Internet and the World Wide Web, it warned users that they were dealing with a web application, such as a website with information. However, since it is no longer necessary to enter the third-level domain to access a page, it is increasingly rare to encounter operators who present their websites with the “standard” third-level domain www. The most common subdomains these days are:
This is a division into subdomains for the different language versions of the “example” website. The third level domain fr is used here to identify the French language content, the Spanish language content being under the es subdomain. The German part of the site is accessible under the third level domain of, and Italian users will find content in their native language by visiting the it subdomain.
In theory, all domains below the top level domain (TLD) are subdomains of the previous one. In practice, they are rarely called subdomains. The domain name (second level domain) is a subdomain of the TLD, the third level domain is a subdomain of the domain name, and so on. For national second level domains, like “.co” in example.co.uk, the actual domain name (“example”) becomes the third level domain. A subdomain of the latter would then be a fourth level domain. In principle, the number of domain levels is unlimited. But we generally limit ourselves to three levels to make it easier to remember an Internet address.
How do you choose the right type of domain or the right domain name?
When looking for the perfect domain name, it always helps to know the hierarchical structure of web addresses and the diversity of domain extensions. However, you don’t need to complicate your life unnecessarily. Ultimately, a domain should first and foremost be right for you, your project and make it easy for users and search engines to find your pages.
In conclusion, I present you some simple tips and tricks that will make it easier for you to choose the right type of domain and extension.
Tip # 1: Choose Useful Domain Types
Creating subdomains is not always helpful. This is because subdividing your web address can be quite confusing for users if you only have a small amount of content or if the subdomain distracts too much from the actual domain name. Only use a third level domain if you have a clear concept in mind. A specific subdomain is suitable, among others, for the following scenarios:
Differentiation of different languages.
Separation of the site and additional offers such as a service area, a blog or a forum.
Identification of a specific web service such as an application or an FTP server.
Operation of an online store parallel to the website with the same second-level domain.
Tip # 2: Choose a top-level domain that’s right for your project.
When it comes to choosing the domain extension, budget isn’t the only factor to consider – if the top-level domain doesn’t match the content or theme of your web project, it may have a negative impact on visitors and search engines. For example, if you choose the generic “.shop” top-level domain, visitors and Google will assume that your project is an online store. If this is not the case and you do not have a store, the reaction will be negative.
Tip # 3: seek advice
Even if you’ve found the type of domain that’s right for you and you’re happy with your domain name, don’t rush to register your web address. Ask friends and acquaintances or colleagues for their opinion. They can give you an outside opinion and offer constructive criticism. So take the opportunity to get a second opinion and make sure you’re making the right choice.
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