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About gTLDs

Please note that the English language version of all translated content and documents are the official versions and that translations in other languages are for informational purposes only.

What is a TLD?

The right-most label in a domain name (e.g. is referred to as its "top-level domain" (TLD). TLDs with two letters have been established for over 240 countries and external territories and are referred to as "country-code" TLDs or "ccTLDs." A list of all ccTLDs can be found here. TLDs with three or more characters are referred to as "generic" TLDs, or "gTLDs." A list of all gTLDs can be found here.

The responsibility for operating each gTLD (including maintaining a registry of the domain names within the gTLD) is delegated to a particular organization. These organizations are referred to as "registry operators" or "sponsors." Currently, the following gTLDs are operated under contract with ICANN: .aero, .biz, .cat, .com, .coop, .info, .jobs, .mobi, .museum, .name, .net, .org, .pro, and .travel.

Types of gTLDs

Generally speaking, an unsponsored gTLD Registry operates under policies established by the global Internet community directly through the ICANN process. .biz, .com, .info, .name, .net, .org, and .pro are unsponsored gTLDs.

A sponsored gTLD (sometimes called an sTLD) is a specialized gTLD that has a sponsor representing a specific community that is served by the gTLD. The sponsor thus carries out delegated policy-formulation responsibilities over many matters concerning the gTLD. .aero, .cat, .coop, .jobs, .mobi, .museum, and .travel are sponsored gTLDs. Entities wishing to register domain names in a sponsored gTLD will be required to meet certain eligibility requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

I receive offers to purchase domain names in TLDs that are not on your list. How can I tell if these are legitimate?

A current listing of TLDs that are part of the authoritative root zone is always available at http://www.icann.or g/registries/top-level-domains.htm. If a TLD does not appear on this list, it will not be universally resolvable on the public Internet. For more information on universal resolvability, please see LD-acceptance/.

I have an idea for a new gTLD. How should I proceed?

Historically, new gTLDs have been added to the domain name system (DNS) based on proposals that were solicited by ICANN during specific application periods. Two such application processes have been executed by ICANN. All materials from the previous processes are available at index.htm (2000) and /stld-apps-19mar04/ (2003).

At this time there is no permanent process for the addition of new gTLDs. ICANN is currently engaged in establishing a consensus policy on whether and how new gTLDs are introduced. More information on this process is available here.

Why is .edu not mentioned above? How can I register a .edu domain name?

The .edu registry does not currently have a contract with ICANN. The .edu top-level domain is operated by Educause. For more information on registering in .edu, see main/index.asp.

Why is .gov not mentioned above? How can I register a .gov domain name?

The .gov registry does not currently have a contract with ICANN. The .gov top-level domain is operated by the United States General Services Administration. For more information on registering names in .gov, see

Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."