Domain names make it possible for people to use the Internet without memorizing a long series of numbers called the IP address. Users don’t have to type 69[.]63[.]176[.]13[.] 69[.]63 or other Facebook-owned IP addresses on web browsers. Instead, they only have to memorize the domain name facebook[.]com and use it every time they want to visit the social networking site.
But that only scratches the surface. If you want to know more about domain names, start with the four types of domain names discussed in this post. These might be useful if you encounter a suspicious email, get into domain name investing, or start an online business.
4 Types of Domain Names
The types of domain names discussed below are broadly classified, but you would most likely encounter them.
Newly Registered Domains
By the name itself, this domain name type refers to those that have been recently registered. A newly registered domain (NRD) database can provide insights into market trends, business opportunities, and even potential cyber threats. More info can be found here.
Thousands of NRDs appear in the Domain Name System (DNS) every day, making NRDs one of the most valuable types of domain names. They can provide information for making business decisions.
Domain Names According to TLD
One of the first things you may notice in domain names is the top-level domain (TLD), which is found after the period (.). Some are classified as generic TLDs (gTLDs), which have three or more characters, such as .com, .org, .net, .info, and .site. These TLD types are the most widely used, as you may have noticed on several websites.
Some are country code TLDs (ccTLDs), which were created for use in specific countries. For instance, .ae is for the U.A.E., .us is for the U.S., and .at is for Austria.
Internationalized Domain Names
In the past, only the English alphabet was allowed in domain names. But this changed in the late 1990s when internationalized domain names (IDNs) were implemented. Today, you can see domain names that contain Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, and other non-American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) characters.
Japanese locals who want to read news, for instance, would visit japanニュース[.]com. The domain name contains the Japanese word for “news,” which would be easier for locals to recall and type. However, in the background, the IDN system uses Punycode transcription to translate the domain name to xn--japan-pq4dreyish[.]com.
Cybersquatting Domain Names
One of the types of domain names that everyone must be wary of are cybersquatting domain names. These domains are registered by threat actors in bad faith—primarily to profit from another entity’s reputation and name. Some cybersquatters wait for domain names to expire and register them should the original owner fail to renew the registration.
A different form of cybersquatting is called “typosquatting,” which occurs when the threat actor registers a misspelled variation of the imitated brand’s domain name. In this scenario, the cyber attacker hopes victims would mistype an official domain name such as trahsferwise[.]com instead of transferwise[.]com.
These types of domain names are not mutually exclusive. Some cybersquatting or typosquatting domain names could also be NRDs. This scenario is not far off from reality, too. About three-fourth of the total number of NRDs are considered suspicious, and several can even be classified as typosquatting domain names.
Knowing the different types of domain names can help with your day-to-day online activities. Businesses can discover opportunities by looking at trends in new domain name registrations. Furthermore, regular Internet users can stay better protected from cyber attacks if they recognize cybersquatting or typosquatting domain names.