On Top-Level Domain Names

As much as offshore web hosting may be of importance to you, so may your choice of top-level domain (or TLD for short).

What is a TLD?

A top-level domain is the last bit in a domain name.

The most popular top-level domain is .com (www.google.com). This blog uses .st (www.streber.st).

If you want to know more, this isn’t the right place. Head over to Wikipedia and familiarize yourself with the concepts of TLDs and ccTLDs.

Why does this matter?

OK, good. You’re back from Wikipedia. I now assume you will be familiar with the concept of domains and TLDs.

You can register .com from domain registrars across the world, such as eNom, Namecheap, or Namesilo.

Now, if you want to avoid US law for example, you might get the brilliant idea to register your .com domain from a domain registrar outside the US, such as InternetBS in Bahamas, IP Mirror in Singapore, and so on. Unfortunately, this accomplishes nothing because .com itself is controlled from the US by a company called Verisign.

Verisign is the domain registry and there have been several examples of .com domains being seized by US authorities not by pressuring the registrar, but by going straight to the registry.

List of ccTLDs

Below, I have listed all current ccTLDs and information about to what country the ccTLD belongs, from what country the ccTLD is actually controlled, and some notes.

Effective Control In is determined by the location of the company or entity that controls the ccTLD. For territories of other jurisdictions, Effective Control In is listed as the primarily controlling jurisdiction. For example, even though the British overseas territories enjoy a very high degree of independence, they are ultimately controlled by the United Kingdom. In some cases, a ccTLD is controlled from more than one jurisdiction. In those cases, the jurisdiction considered to have the most influence is listed. All jurisdictions involved in the control are instead listed under Notes.

I’ve also listed whether a domain is subject to registration restrictions. Hard restrictions refer to restrictions on residence, licenses, and so on. These can in some cases be circumvented by letting your registrar act as a local agent. Soft restrictions imply restrictions on certain types of content or words, usually referring to obscenity or things of an otherwise offensive nature. Nearly all ccTLDs come with restrictions on not being used for anything outright illegal. Enforcement of these restrictions and rules vary a lot.

This list is subject to change and may not be up-to-date even at the time of publishing.


Domain;Jurisdiction;Effective Control In;Restricted;Notes;
.ac;Ascencion Island;United Kingdom;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ad;Andorra;Andorra;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.ae;United Arab Emirates;United Arab Emirates;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.af;Afghanistan;Afghanistan;No;Was under British control but now back in Afghan control.;
.ag;Antigua and Barbuda;Antigua and Barbuda;No;Jointly controlled from Antigua and Barbuda and United Kingdom.;
.ai;Anguilla;United Kingdom;No; ;
.al;Albania;Albania;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.am;Armenia;Armenia;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.an;Netherlands Antilles;Netherlands Antilles;Yes;Being phased out.;
.ao;Angola;Angola;Yes;Hard restrictions. Jointly controlled from Angola and Portugal.;
.aq;Antarctica;New Zealand;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ar;Argentina;Argentina;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.as;American Samoa;United States of America;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.at;Austria;Austria;No; ;
.au;Australia;Australia;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.aw;Aruba;Aruba;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.ax;Åland;Åland;Yes;Unclear enforcement of restrictions.;
.az;Azerbaijan;Azerbaijan;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.ba;Bosnia and Herzegovina;Bosnia and Herzegovina;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.bb;Barbados;Barbados;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.bd;Bangladesh;Bangladesh;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.be;Belgium;Belgium;No; ;
.bf;Burkina Faso;Burkina Faso;Unknown;There are probably restrictions against domains containing offensive or controversial words.;
.bg;Bulgaria;Bulgaria;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.bh;Bahrain;Bahrain;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.bi;Burundi;Burundi;No; ;
.bj;Benin;Benin;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.bm;Bermuda;United Kingdom;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.bn;Brunei;Brunei;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.br;Brazil;Brazil;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.bt;Bhutan;Bhutan;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.bv;Bouvet Island;Norway;Unknown;Not in use.;
.bw;Botswana;Botswana;No;Registration by post.;
.ca;Canada;Canada;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.cc;Cocos (Keeling) Islands;United States of America;No;Jointly controlled from the US and Australia.;
.cd;Democratic Republic of Congo;Democratic Republic of Congo;No;;
.cf;Central African Republic;Central African Republic;Unknown;Jointly controlled from Central African Republic and the Netherlands.;
.cg;Republic of the Congo;Switzerland;No;Free to citizens. Jointly controlled from Republic of the Congo and Switzerland.;
.ci;Ivory Coast;Ivory Coast;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ck;Cook Islands;Cook Islands;Yes;Hard restrictions. Rather unfortunate third-level domains under .co.ck;
.cl;Chile;Chile;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.cm;Cameroon;Cameroon;No;Poor reputation due to abusive registrations of mistyped domains (.cm instead of .com).;
.cr;Costa Rica;Costa Rica;No;;
.cu;Cuba;Cuba;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.cv;Cape Verde;Cape Verde;No;Jointly controlled from Cape Verde and Portugal.;
.cw;Curaçao;Curaçao;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.cx;Christmas Island;Australia;No;Jointly controlled from Australia, New Zealand, and Christmas Island.;
.cy;Cyprus;Cyprus;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.cz;Czech Republic;Czech Republic;Yes;Enforcement of restrictions is spotty at best.;
.de;Germany;Germany;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.do;Dominican Republic;Dominican Republic;No;;
.dz;Algeria;Algeria;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ee;Estonia;Estonia;Yes;Hard restrictions. Local registrar typically enough.;
.eg;Egypt;Egypt;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.er;Eritrea;Eritrea;Unknown;Doesn’t seem to be possible to register. Restrictions unknown.;
.eu;European Union;European Union;Yes;Registrants must be within EEA. Technically controlled from Belgium but falls under pan-EU control.;
.fi;Finland;Finland;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.fk;Falkland Islands;United Kingdom;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.fm;Federated States of Micronesia;United States of America;No;;
.fo;Faroe Islands;Denmark;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.fr;France;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.ga;Gabon;Gabon;No;Free registrations, which means it is or will be used for spam and have a completely destroyed reputation (see also .tk).;
.gd;Grenada;Grenada;No;Jointly controlled from Grenada and Germany.;
.ge;Georgia;Georgia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.gf;French Guiana;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.gg;Guernsey;United Kingdom;No;;
.gh;Ghana;Ghana;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.gi;Gibraltar;United Kingdom;Yes;Hard restrictions. Jointly controlled from Gibraltar and Ireland.;
.gm;The Gambia;The Gambia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.gn;Guinea;Guinea;Yes;Hard restrictions. Jointly controlled from Guinea and the US.;
.gq;Equatorial Guinea;Equatorial Guinea;Unknown;There are probably restrictions against domains containing offensive or controversial words.;
.gs;South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands;United Kingdom;No;;
.gu;Guam;United States of America;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.gw;Guinea-Bissau;Guinea-Bissau;Yes;Soft restrictions. Jointly controlled from Guinea-Bissau and Germany.;
.hk;Hong Kong;China;No;Very much independent from China.;
.hm;Heard and McDonald Islands;Australia;No;;
.hr;Croatia;Croatia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.hu;Hungary;Hungary;Yes;Registrants must be in the EU.;
.id;Indonesia;Indonesia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ie;Ireland;Ireland;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.il;Israel;Israel;Yes;Hard restrictions. Enforcement varies.;
.im;Isle of man;United Kingdom;No;;
.io;British Indian Ocean Territory;United Kingdom;No;;
.iq;Iraq;Iraq;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ir;Iran;Iran;No;Just don’t criticize Iran.;
.is;Iceland;Iceland;No;Has exploded in the last year or so, owing to strong freedom of speech in Iceland.;
.it;Italy;Italy;Yes;Registrants must be in the EU.;
.je;Jersey;United Kingdom;No;;
.jm;Jamaica;Jamaica;No;Free but subject to manual approval.;
.jo;Jordan;Jordan;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.jp;Japan;Japan;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ke;Kenya;Kenya;No;Will sometimes require proof of ties to Kenya, sometimes not. Very flimsy.;
.kg;Kyrgyzstan;Kyrgyzstan;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.kh;Cambodia;Cambodia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.km;Comoros;United States of America;No;;
.kn;Saint Kitts and Nevis;United States of America;No;Jointly controlled from the US and Taiwan.;
.kp;North Korea;North Korea;Yes;If you’re not on the guest list to Kim Jong-un’s birthday party, you’re not getting a .kp domain.;
.kr;South Korea;South Korea;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.kw;Kuwait;Kuwait;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.ky;Cayman Islands;United Kingdom;Yes;Hard restrictions. Jointly controlled from Cayman Islands and the US.;
.la;Laos;United Kingdom;No;Laotian top-level domain aimed at a US city controlled by a UK company? What a time to be alive!;
.lb;Lebanon;Lebanon;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.lc;Saint Lucia;United States of America;No;;
.lk;Sri Lanka;Sri Lanka;Yes;Soft restrictions. They do not seem to require physical presence in Sri Lanka, usually.;
.lr;Liberia;United States of America;Yes;This one is tricky but is ultimately controlled from the US, although legal ownership may be in Liberia. Restrictions are hardly ever enforced.;
.ls;Lesotho;South Africa;No;Jointly controlled from South Africa and Lesotho. No restrictions are available, or enforced. Wild west.;
.ma;Morocco;Morocco;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.mc;Monaco;Monaco;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.md;Moldova;Moldova;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.mg;Madagascar;Madagascar;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.mh;Marshall Islands;Marshall Islands;Unknown;Currently not taking new registrations.;
.ml;Mali;Mali;No;Total mess. Offered for free but a lot of domains disappear when they get popular, and are then offered for sale. Jointly controlled from Mali and the Netherlands.;
.mm;Myanmar;Myanmar;No;Just don’t expect the registration process to be smooth.;
.mo;Macao;China;Yes;Hard restrictions. Strong independence from China.;
.mp;Northern Mariana Islands;United States of America;No;;
.mq;Martinique;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.mr;Mauritania;Mauritania;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.mt;Malta;Malta;Yes;Hard restrictions. Enforcement can be spotty.;
.my;Malaysia;Malaysia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.mz;Mozambique;Mozambique;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.nc;New Caledonia;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.ne;Niger;Niger;No;As of writing, though, the registrar is down, has been down for a few months, and there are no signs of it coming back soon.;
.nf;Norfolk Island;Australia;No;;
.ng;Nigeria;Nigeria;Varies;Flimsy, unreliable, and corrupt registrar.;
.no;Norway;Norway;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.np;Nepal;Nepal;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.nz;New Zealand;New Zealand;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.om;Oman;Oman;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.pa;Panama;Panama;Yes;Soft restrictions. DNS must be set up in advance.;
.pf;French Polynesia;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.pg;Papua and New Guinea;Papua and New Guinea;Yes;Hard restrictions;
.ph;Philippines;Philippines;No;Jointly controlled from the Philippines and Hong Kong.;
.pm;Saint Pierre and Miquelon;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.pn;Pitcairn Islands;United Kingdom;No;While a British overseas territory, the .pn TLD is controlled from New Zealand.;
.pr;Puerto Rico;United States of America;No;;
.pt;Portugal;Portugal;Yes;.com.pt is unrestricted.;
.pw;Palau;India;No;Jointly controlled from India and the US.;
.py;Paraguay;Paraguay;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.re;Reunion;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.sa;Saudi Arabia;Saudi Arabia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.sb;Solomon Islands;Solomon Islands;No;;
.sd;Sudan;Sudan;Unknown;Subject to manual approval.;
.sg;Singapore;Singapore;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.sh;Saint Helena;United Kingdom;Yes;Soft restrictions. Hardly ever enforced.;
.sj;Svalbard;Norway;Yes;Not in use.;
.sk;Slovakia;Slovakia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.sl;Sierra Leone;Sierra Leone;Unknown;Subject to manual approval.;
.sm;San Marino;San Marino;Yes;Restriction on number of domains per registrant. Controlling entity has very close ties to Italy.;
.so;Somalia;Somalia;No;Jointly controlled from Somalia and Japan.;
.st;São Tomé and Príncipe;Sweden;No;Hey, I know this one.;
.su;Soviet Union;Russia;No;The country might not exist anymore but .su domains remain popular, mostly for dubious purposes.;
.sv;El Salvador;El Salvador;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.sx;Sint Maarten;Netherlands;No;Jointly controlled from Sint Maarten and Luxembourg.;
.sz;Swaziland;Swaziland;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.tc;Turks and Caicos Islands;United Kingdom;No;Jointly controlled from Turks and Caicos Islands and Turkey.;
.tf;French Southern and Antarctic Lands;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.tg;Togo;Togo;No;Jointly controlled from Togo and Canada.;
.th;Thailand;Thailand;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.tk;Tokelau;Netherlands;No;Free or semi-free. Horrible reputation. Used extensively for phishing, spam, and other unwanted content. Extremely little legitimate use.;
.tl;East Timor;East Timor;Yes;Soft restrictions.;
.tm;Turkmenistan;United Kingdom;No;They have tried so hard and failed equally hard to market this as a top-level domain for trademarks.;
.tn;Tunisia;Tunisia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.to;Tonga;Tonga;No;No public whois.;
.tr;Turkey;Turkey;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.tt;Trinidad and Tobago;Trinidad and Tobago;No;;
.tv;Tuvalu;United States of America;No;;
.tz;Tanzania;Tanzania;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.uk;United Kingdom;United Kingdom;No;;
.us;United States of America;United States of America;Yes;Hard restrictions. Rarely enforced.;
.uy;Uruguay;Uruguay;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.va;Vatican;Vatican;Yes;Unless you’re the pope or good friends with the pope, you can’t register .va.;
.vc;Saint Vincent and the Grenadines;Ireland;No;Jointly controlled from SVG and the US.;
.vg;British Virgin Islands;United Kingdom;No;Jointly controlled from British Virgin Islands and Germany.;
.vi;United States Virgin Islands;United States of America;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.wf;Wallis and Futuna Islands;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.ws;Samoa;Samoa;No;Jointly controlled from Samoa and the US.;
.ye;Yemen;Yemen;Yes;Hard restrictions.;
.yt;Mayotte;France;Yes;Registrants must be in Europe.;
.za;South Africa;South Africa;No;;
.zm;Zambia;Zambia;Yes;Hard restrictions.;



Be the first to comment on "On Top-Level Domain Names"

Leave a comment

Skip to toolbar