Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that domain registrars and web hosting companies have started to offer a large number of new generic top-level domains. There is some confusion among web hosting clients as to the status of these new domains, so I thought it would be useful to explain what they are, why they were created, and the potential benefits to hosting clients.
What Is A Generic Top-Level Domain?
Top-level domains are the final part of a bare domain name; “.com”, “.net”, and “.me” are all common examples of TLDs. Domain names come in a couple of different varieties: generic domain names (gTLD) and country-code domain names (ccTLD). The latter are intended to be used for sites that have a relationship to a specific geographic area, “.fr” and “.jp”, for example, although that is somewhat complicated by the way Google regards some ccTLDs, such as “.me”, the ccTLD for Montenegro, which for SEO purposes are treated the same as a generic TLD. As the name suggests, gTLDs have no ties to specific regions, and can be used by anyone. There are other top-level domains with a slightly different status, like “.cat”, but for our purposes the distinction between gTLDs and ccTLDs is sufficient.