A TLD or Top Level Domain is the technical term for a domain name ending, such as .com or .ie. There are lots of them and they fall into 2 categories - generic (gTLDs) and country code (ccTLDs).
What is a Generic gTLD?
Generic gTLDs are pretty much available to anyone to register - think 'general' and you've got the right idea.
- A few common examples are .com, .net, .info, .biz, .org
- A generic gTLD is easily recognised because it always has 3 or more letters
- Available to anyone to register - no rules with the odd exception like .edu and .gov
- Usually cheap - a .com, .net, .info, .biz and .org all cost around US$10 per year
What is a Country Code ccTLD?
A 'Country Code' or ccTLD is recognised as the domain name ending for a country or region. It is easily recognised because it usually has exactly 2 letters, or 2 groups of 2 letters - eg
- The ccTLD for Ireland is .ie
- The ccTLD for UK is .co.uk
- The ccTLD for Europe is .eu
- The ccTLD for New Zealand is .nz
Stricter rules can apply to ccTLDs
Some countries have strict rules governing who can register their ccTLD - Ireland used to be one of the strictest, but the IEDR (the Irish registrar) significantly relaxed it's rules in 2018, caving into the greed of vested interests; immeasurably damaging the prestige and public trust in the ie domain. The Kingdom of Tuvalu, on the other hand, whose ccTLD is .tv, have made the most of it which is why you can buy it without restrictions. The Ulster Television website is u.tv
ccTLDs more expensive than gTLDs
ccTLDs are almost always more expensive than gTLDs. The .ie domain is very expensive - however bulk resellers can offer you a .ie domain much cheaper than buying direct from the Irish Registrar (www.iedr.ie) and you're perfectly safe to get one from a recognised reseller. You can find the Irish Registrar's approved reseller list here. The bigger registrars are usually cheaper than the smaller ones - but shop around to get the best price, I've seen them for as low as €4 per year.
Learn more about choosing a domain name ending (TLD) for your website.