Hey there! As part of our “How to” series, we want to take a closer look at something we all use daily but might take for granted: how domains actually work.
A domain name is like the address of your website that people type into their browser’s address bar. It’s much easier to remember for us humans than a numerical IP address. When you type in a domain name, it sends a request to a global network of servers called the Domain Name System (DNS). These servers work their magic and direct you to the right place where the domain is hosted.
Domains are divided into two main categories: generic top-level domains (gTLD) and new top-level domains (new gTLD). These categories help keep domains organized and make managing and finding them easier.
Generic top-level domains
The generic top-level domains (gTLDs) or new gTLDs are generic domain extensions listed at the highest level in the domain name system. Hundreds of gTLDs are available, but the most popular ones are .com, .org, .net, .biz, and .info. Others pertain to specific sectors such as .bet or .casino.
One of the primary differences between gTLDs and other TLDs (such as ccTLDs) is that they are the easiest to register and maintain. Anyone, anywhere, can register and manage a gTLD. This makes them a popular choice for businesses and individuals alike who want to establish a strong online presence quickly and easily.
Country Code Top Level Domain
Country code top-level domains, or ccTLDs, are domain names specific to a country. They end with country code extensions such as .uk for the United Kingdom, .de for Germany, and .au for Australia. Websites use them to target audiences in a particular country.
Most ccTLDs worldwide are governed by their respective local governments and have specific requirements for registration. For instance, TLDs like.NO, .CA, .AU requires a local presence. To register any of these TLDs, you must be Norwegian, Canadian, or Australian.
In some cases, such as.IT, .EU, .FR, ccTLDs have EU-presence requirements.
In extreme cases, such as.COM.BR, the registry may require a notarially certified document for registration or subsequent actions such as transfer to another registrar company.
Sponsored Top Level Domain – sTLD
Sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) are a valuable category of TLDs, with a sponsor representing a specific community served by the domain extension. They are ideal for industries or communities that need a dedicated online presence and aim to differentiate themselves from the rest of the web.
One of the key benefits of an sTLD is that it is regulated by the sponsor, which enables them to maintain control over the domain extension and ensure that it serves the community’s needs. For instance, .apple is governed and managed by the Apple corporation, which ensures that the domain extension aligns with the company’s values and goals. Similarly, .ORG is sponsored by the Public Interest Registry (PIR), a non-profit organization that operates in the public interest.
Domain registries manage all top-level domains (except sponsored TLDs). There are numerous registries for global domains like .com managed by organizations such as ICANN and country-specific or community/vertical-specific registries.
These registries then enter agreements with registrars like Okens to sell domain names to users worldwide. A registrar like Okens will typically manage the domain on your behalf, dealing with records, renewals, transfers, etc., while providing guidance and expertise on confidentiality and privacy.
At Okens, we take pride in our global reach, working with registries worldwide and many community-led TLD registries. This allows us to assist you globally and provide the most vertical/community-specific TLDs.
Our focus on B2B means that we aim to provide you with the best possible service by offering advice and help from a human representative, ensuring that your needs are met with the best care and attention.