What Is A Top-Level Domain?

What Is A Top-Level Domain (TLD) And How To Select One?

9 Top-level domain names in a 3 by 3 grid

In short and simple words, this story describes about Top-Level Domain (TLD), it's categories, how to select one and mistakes to avoid while buying one.

What is a Top-Level Domain?

OK. So, you plan to take your business online, cool. To do so, you need a location on the Internet so people can visit your website which is known as website or web address. When people ask what is your website address, they are asking for location of your website. Basically, what a physical address is to your business, a website address is to your online business.

A website address has three parts: <www> dot <business name> dot <top-level domain>. E.g. www.google.com. The first part in website address, "www", stands for World Wide Web and is optional. So, a website address could, just, be <business name> dot <top-level domain>. The second part is your business name. The third part is what we are interested in this blog: "top-level domain", which refers to a category for your business or organization. A Top-Level Domain (TLD) is an element of a website address which helps to identify a category for a business or an organization.

Top-Level Domain categories

There are many categories among which the most widely in use is ".com" which identifies a business as a commercial type. The most popular categories are:

1) ".com" for commercial businesses. E.g. www.twitter.com

2) ".org" for non-profit organizations. E.g. www.wikipedia.org

3) ".edu" for educational institutions. E.g. www.mit.edu

4) ".gov" for governments. E.g. www.usa.gov

TLDs are also country specific. E.g. ".in" for India and ".us" for USA.

Visit Wikipedia for a full list of top-level domains.

How to select a Top-Level Domain?

Every business or organization is established basing on a purpose and operational region(s). Ideally, these two factors must be taken into consideration to select a Top-Level Domain. For instance, ".org" is suitable for a non-profit organization which has presence or utility in multiple countries, like Wikipedia - www.wikipedia.org. If a non-profit organization has presence in a specific country then, its preferable to go with a country specific TLD like ".in". If a commercial organization has presence across globe, its preferable to have ".com" as TLD; like www.amazon.com. If same commercial organization also wants to have a country specific website then, it may also select a country specific TLD; like www.amazon.in. A business or an organization can have multiple TLDs as different website addresses which suite according to its needs.

Also, an TLD has to be purchased for a website address. There are many websites which sell them. A search will show ample results to select from. Compare prices and other factors before you select one. If in doubt, consult somebody who has subject knowledge.

Mistakes to avoid

TLD is very important for a business or an organization. Firstly, avoid inappropriate selection of TLD without understanding the intent of same. Secondly, do not buy a TLD just because its available for cheap. Different TLDs have different prices. Some are costly compared to rest. For instance, a ".com" domain is comparatively costlier than most of the other domains. So, if a commercial organization has a ".org" TLD, its intention is incorrectly conveyed to people. I came across 2-3 people who selected inappropriate domain for their business and when I asked them the reason, they said, it was available for cheap. Don't do that.


A Top-Level Domain is a website address element which helps to identify a category for a business or an organization. Ideally, TLD must be selected basing on the intent of a business' or an organization's establishment and its operational region(s). There are many categories to choose from; most widely used Top-Level Domain being ".com". Lastly, do not buy TLD just because its comparatively cheap.

LABELS: Blog-Domain name, Blog-TLD, Blog-top-level domain, Blog-Website address

Note: Prefix "Blog-" to lables to narrow search results.

Image source: Pixabay