Types of Domain
The domain name space consists of a tree of domain names. Each node in the tree holds information associated with the domain name. The tree sub-divides into zones beginning at the root zone.
Parts of a domain name
A domain name consists of one or more parts, technically called labels, that are conventionally concatenated, and delimited by dots.
  • The right-most label conveys the top-level domain; for example, the domain name www.example.com belongs to the top-level domain com.
  • The hierarchy of domains descends from the right to the left label in the name; each label to the left specifies a subdivision, or subdomain of the domain to the right. For example: the label example specifies a subdomain of the com domain, and www is a subdomain of example.com. This tree of labels may consist of 127 levels. Each label may contain up to 63 ASCII characters. The full domain name may not exceed a total length of 253 characters. In practice, some domain registries may have shorter limits.
  • A hostname is a domain name that has at least one associated IP address. For example, the domain names www.example.com and example.com are also hostnames, whereas the com domain is not.
Top-level domains
The top-level domains (TLDs) are the highest level of domain names of the Internet. They form the DNS root zone of the hierarchical Domain Name System. Every domain name ends in a top-level or first-level domain label.

When the Domain Name System was created in the 1980s, the domain name space was divided into two main groups of domains. The country code top-level domains (ccTLD) were primarily based on the two-character territory codes of ISO-3166 country abbreviations. In addition, a group of seven generic top-level domains (gTLD) was implemented which represented a set of categories of names and multi-organizations. These were the domains GOV, EDU, COM, MIL, ORG, NET, and INT.

During the growth of the Internet, it became desirable to create additional generic top-level domains. As of October 2009, there are 21 generic top-level domains and 250 two-letter country-code top-level domains. In addition, the ARPA domain serves technical purposes in the infrastructure of the Domain Name System.

During the 32nd International Public ICANN Meeting in Paris in 2008, ICANN started a new process of TLD naming policy to take a "significant step forward on the introduction of new generic top-level domains." This program envisions the availability of many new or already proposed domains, as well a new application and implementation process. Observers believed that the new rules could result in hundreds of new top-level domains to be registered.