Generic top-level domain

Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are one of the categories of top-level domains (TLDs) maintained by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) for use in the Domain Name System of the Internet. A top-level domain is the last level of every fully qualified domain name. They are called generic for historical reasons; initially, they were contrasted with country-specific TLDs in RFC 920.

A graphical illustration of generic top-level domains.

Historical generic TLDs
Domain Intended use
com Mainly for commercial entities, but unrestricted
org Originally for organizations not clearly falling within the other gTLDs, now unrestricted
net Originally for network infrastructures, now unrestricted
edu Educational use, but now primarily for third-level colleges and universities
gov Governmental use, but now primarily for US governmental entities and agencies
mil Military use, but now primarily for US military only
Full list of gTLDs

The core group of generic top-level domains consists of the com, net, org, biz, and info domains. In addition, the domains name, and pro are also considered generic; however, these are designated as restricted, because registrations within them require proof of eligibility within the guidelines set for each.

Historically, the group of generic top-level domains included domains, created in the early development of the domain name system, that are now sponsored by designated agencies or organizations and are restricted to specific types of registrants. Thus, domains edu, gov, int, and mil are now considered sponsored top-level domains, much like the themed top-level domains (e.g., jobs). The entire group of domains that do not have a geographic or country designation (see country-code top-level domain) is still often referred to by the term generic TLDs.

The number of gTLD as of March 2018 exceeds 1,200 domains.[1][2]


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