What is a ccTLD?

A country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) is a second-level domain. It is specifically reserved for use by individuals, organisations or companies registered and/or residing in a particular country, sovereign state or dependent territory.

During the early life of the internet, a generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) was enough to differentiate domains according to the type of business or organisation. But once the internet exploded beyond its fledgling roots in just one country, these domain names – with extensions such as .com, .org, .edu, or .gov – were not able to define country of origin. As the internet spread, so it became necessary to identify the region in which a domain resides.

Each country around has its own country code. In the United Kingdom the country code is .uk, while the New Zealand code is .nz. The ccTLD for Australia is .au and makes up the .com.au, .net.au, .org.au, .asn.au and id.au domain names.

These new ccTLDs allowed simple identification of the domain name registry in a particular region. For example, an email or webpage request for an Australian domain is sent to the Australian registry (Ausregistry) database. This contains the DNS server records of the web hosting company, and will then forward the request there. The request is then resolved by the DNS servers, which then directs traffic to the correct hosting server location.

Domain registration and renewal pricing may also differ depending on the country or the TLD type.