As the final segment of any website address, the top level domain identifies a site’s purpose or geographic location. Today’s marketplace has expanded to incorporate over 1,500 country code and generic top level domains, most of them launched since 2000. But have these new TLDs surpassed any of their established rivals in terms of popularity?
- .com. The best-known TLD remains a runaway market leader, underpinning 47.7 per cent of the world’s websites according to W3Techs. Most firms across America have selected.com in preference to our .us country code TLD, or ccTLD.
- .ru. While we prefer a global top level domain, Russian websites proudly proclaim their origins. The .ru suffix is used by five per cent of the world’s top ten million websites, and few Russian sites would choose anything else.
- .org. Created to identify non-profit organizations, .org has become synonymous with websites that can’t be described as commercial, academic or governmental. It was also the first gTLD to implement Domain Name System Security Extensions, or DNSSEC, for extra security.
- .net. Like .org, .net has expanded beyond its original brief of identifying networks. It’s now unrestricted, and 4.5 per cent of the ten million top websites use it. Superior availability over .com has helped its growth, alongside fewer corporate connotations.
- .info. With ccTLDs comprising most of W3Techs’ top 20 list, .info has managed to match the popularity of Australia’s and Iran’s country code domains. It’s the most successful of seven new TLDs launched by ICANN in 2001, to rival .com.
- .biz. Those new TLDs from 2001 included .biz, which is the only other domain to have achieved mainstream adoption. Even so, it powers less than half as many sites as .info, often being used by businesses who can’t obtain their name’s.com domain.
Some exciting new TLDs are being launched this year, from the WordPress-owned .blog to the hugely flexible .web and .app. In a decade’s time, these market entrants could potentially be as popular as the domains featured above…