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Top-level domain

A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the domains at the highest level in the hierarchical [Domain Name System] of the [Internet] . The top-level domain names are installed in the [root zone] of the name space. For all domains in lower levels, it is the last part of the [domain name] , that is, the last label of a [fully qualified domain name] . For example, in the domain name, the top-level domain is [com] , or COM, as domain names are not [case-sensitive] . Management of most top-level domains is delegated to responsible organizations by the [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] (ICANN), which operates the [Internet Assigned Numbers Authority] (IANA) and is in charge of maintaining the [DNS root zone] .

Originally, the top-level domain space was organized into three main groups, Countries , Categories , and Multiorganizations . An additional temporary group consisted only of the initial DNS domain, [arpa] , intended for transitional purposes toward the stabilization of the domain name system.

Countries are designated in the Domain Name System by their English two-letter ISO country code; there are exceptions, however (e.g., [.uk] ). This group of domains is therefore commonly known as [country-code top-level domain] s (ccTLD).

The Categories group has become known as the [generic top-level domain] s. Initially this group consisted of [GOV] , [EDU] , [COM] , [MIL] , [ORG] , and [NET] .

In the growth of the Internet, it became desirable to create additional generic top-level domains. Some of the initial domains' purposes were also generalized, modified, or assigned for maintenance to special organizations affiliated with the intended purpose.

As a result, IANA today distinguishes the following groups of top-level domains:

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