FAQ: What exactly is a top-level domain name?
Every month, we are going to try and answer some frequently asked questions. Here is the entry for this month.
What exactly is a domain name? I keep reading about top-level domain names, but what’s the difference? Can you help to clear this up for me?
Sure! It does get confusing, but there’s a great “neighborhood” analogy to help you understand.
First, let’s define DOMAIN:
A domain is just an address, like your house number. It’s a unique web address on the Internet, used to identify websites, like google.com, facebook.com, or get.bible.
So, what about top level domains (TLD)?
A top-level domain is the part after the “dot” in your domain name, like .org or .com or .ninja. It describes a specific neighborhood on the internet, which defines categories of websites.
When I register my group’s domain name (website name), can I join any “neighborhood?”
Some neighborhoods have some guidelines for living there, and others do not, for instance:
.COM: Making it the most-populated neighborhood online, this “open” neighborhood invites anyone to live here!
.ORG: This common tld is another “open”neighborhood that can be used by anyone, though most often by nonprofits (religion, arts, etc.).
.EDU: This neighborhood is “specialized” and can only be used by post-secondary educational websites.
Here’s where we introduce ICANN, which is the acronym for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. This nonprofit maintains and coordinates the internet, which includes IP addresses and Domain Name Systems.
In the last few years, ICANN released thousands of new top-level domains onto the marketplace. This allows groups to properly market their brand, and also helps customers to more easily navigate to the right area of town!
For instance, in addition to new “open” neighborhoods, there are now international and geographic neighborhoods, as well as more specialized domains related to occupations, hobbies, religious affiliations, and hundreds more. There are also closed neighborhoods where companies can have complete control. These are commonly brand names, like . apple or .bmw.
In which neighborhood is the top-level domain .BIBLE?
.BIBLE is a specialized TLD. Absolutely anyone can register for their website under .BIBLE, but all registrants must agree to abide by the .BIBLE Acceptable Use Policy.
Hundreds of .BIBLE’s neighbors have found space in this bible community, such as Catholic.Bible, Deaf.Bible, and LifeChurch.Bible.
Join our neighborhood! Register for your .BIBLE domain name today.
(Neighborhood analogy source: What Domain)