“A domain name is an identification label that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority, or control in the Internet, based on the Domain Name System (DNS).” – Wikipedia
Two major sections make up a domain name:
- a Top-Level Domain (TLD) – the part of the domain name located to the right of the dot (e.g. ourmoneyadventure.com)
- a Second-Level Domain (SLD) – the part of the domain name located to the left of the dot (e.g. ourmoneyadventure.com)
The combination of the TLD and SLD is what makes a domain name unique.
No matter what domain name you search for and find, you need to register it with an ICANN-accredited registrar for it to be yours. ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) was founded 10 years ago as a non-profit corporation given the responsibility from the US Government to manage the Internet domain name system; it is “the governing body that coordinates links between IP addresses and domain names across the Internet, so you can find Web sites by entering domain names instead of IP addresses into your Web browser.”
Top-Level Domain (TLD)
TLDs are also called extensions or generic TLDs (gTLD). There are many extensions to a domain name. Some that are most common are:
- .COM – the most common generic TLD
- .NET – another generic TLD and a great alternative to .COM
- .ORG – for non-profit websites
- .INFO – another generic TLD and a great alternative to .COM, for putting information on the web
There are also Restricted Top-Level Domains (rTLDs) that require registrants to provide a certain type of entity or to belong to a certain community like:
- .AERO – reserved for members of the air-transport industry
- .BIZ – restricted for business
- .EDU – reserved for post-secondary institutions
- .MIL – reserved for the US military
- .MUSEUM – reserved for museums
- .NAME – reserved for individuals
- .PRO – restricted to credentialed professionals and related entities
There are also domain extensions known as Country-codes that indicate what part of the world you are located in. These two letter Country-codes are defined in the ISO-3166. Examples of these Country-code TLDs are:
- .BZ – Belize
- .CA – Canada
- .DK – Denmark
- .EC – Ecuador
- .IE – Republic of Ireland
- .UK – United Kingdom
- .US – United States
- .ZW – Zimbabwe
For a complete list of existing gTLDs and their use, refer to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) list of gTLDs. You should know that ICANN is looking at expanding the list of gTLDs, to allow for more innovation, choice and change to a global Internet presently served by just 21 generic top-level domain names.
Second-Level Domain (SLD)
As previously mentioned, the SLD is located to the left of the dot (e.g. ourmoneyadventure.com). This is the part where your imagination can go wild. You can create any SLD name you want as long as someone else doesn’t already own it. When you search for ideas and you don’t find them right away check out what alternatives you may have. Many domain search sites will provide a list for you.
Trish Henao is based out of Calgary, Alberta and has been employed in the Technology industry since 1986. With a B.Sc. in Computer Science, she has acquired experience in the energy, communications, utilities, airline and healthcare sectors. Starting her career as a computer programmer, she has since moved on to becoming a business analyst. Her experience has taught her skills in system analysis and design, data modeling, system development methodologies and project management.
Trish’s coauthor, Tatiana Davison, is a passionate and committed leader with experience since 1997 in various management operational roles. She has gained experience in business development supporting industries such as telecom, utilities, oil & gas, and international trade. Tatiana is focused on delivering results through facilitating, motivating, and challenging high performance teams to bring ideas and visions to fruition.