How many types of domain name are there?

There are five main types of domain name, but many of us might struggle to identify the differences between them

Tuesday, 2 November, 2021

We all spend a great deal of time online nowadays, yet few of us stop to consider the mechanics of how the internet works, or how websites are constructed.

For instance, the page you are reading is composed of five different elements.

There’s a secure HyperText Transfer Protocol operating across the World Wide Web, which is identified with the https://www prefix of this website.

This is followed by our name – BroadbandDeals – and a top level domain. In our case, that’s a two-part TLD featuring a second-level domain (co.) and a country code TLD (uk).

Finally, there’s a specific webpage address allocated to this blog, to differentiate it from the numerous other articles we’ve published.

Most webpages have a five-section address (also known as a Uniform Resource Locator, or URL).

And while there are roughly two billion website addresses live around the world as of today, only around 1,500 TLDs are in existence.

Domain offender

Top level domains have been around since the first websites were registered in 1985, six years before the World Wide Web democratised and simplified access.

The first websites to be launched all adopted .com TLDs, which are one of five types of domain name in existence:

When setting up a new website for a small business or personal venture, you’re usually presented with a choice between the first four types of domain name – to an extent.

The only ccTLD a British website can really carry is .uk, since an overseas ccTLD would be downgraded in domestic search results.

Many hosting providers only stock a limited array of gTLDs, and some of the 1,200 generic domains are heavily associated with spam, or parked domain names not in use.

Even reputable sites with these gTLDs will be marked down by association in search rankings. Domain resellers are often reluctant to look beyond the most reputable gTLDs.

Finally, third-level domains usually require specialist setup, which will be beyond anyone creating their first WordPress or Wix platform.

It’s perhaps unsurprising a lot of sole traders, entrepreneurs and philanthropists play it safe when registering a domain name, by choosing either a .com or web address.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!