What is a ccTLD?

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As it gets harder and more expensive to find brandable domain names in .com, country-specific domain name extensions (ccTLDs) have grown in popularity. This article explains the meaning of ccTLD, compares ccTLDs with gTLDs, discusses their impact on SEO, and addresses frequently asked questions.

ccTLD Meaning

A ccTLD (Country Code Top-Level Domain) is a type of domain extension that connotes a specific country or geographic entity. These two letter extensions are managed and administered by the countries they represent.

ccTLDs were first created in 1985 with the .us extension for the United States. Since then, hundreds of ccTLDs have become available to help in localizing content on the Internet.

ccTLD Country List

Note that not all ccTLDs are available to register freely. Some ccTLDs can only be registered by locals in a given country, while others are restricted for government, corporate, or educational use.

(Click here to skip past the list)

ccTLDCountry/Entity
.acAscension Island (United Kingdom)
.adAndorra
.aeUnited Arab Emirates
.afAfghanistan
.agAntigua and Barbuda
.aiAnguilla (United Kingdom)
.alAlbania
.amArmenia
.aoAngola
.aqAntarctica
.arArgentina
.asAmerican Samoa (United States)
.atAustria
.auAustralia
.awAruba (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
.axÅland (Finland)
.azAzerbaijan
.baBosnia and Herzegovina
.bbBarbados
.bdBangladesh
.beBelgium
.bfBurkina Faso
.bgBulgaria
.bhBahrain
.biBurundi
.bjBenin
.bmBermuda (United Kingdom)
.bnBrunei
.boBolivia
.bqCaribbean Netherlands ( Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius)
.brBrazil
.bsBahamas
.btBhutan
.bwBotswana
.byBelarus
.bzBelize
.caCanada
.ccCocos (Keeling) Islands
.cdDemocratic Republic of the Congo
.cfCentral African Republic
.cgRepublic of the Congo
.chSwitzerland
.ciIvory Coast
.ckCook Islands
.clChile
.cmCameroon
.cnPeople’s Republic of China
.coColombia
.crCosta Rica
.cuCuba
.cvCape Verde
.cwCuraçao (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
.cxChristmas Island
.cyCyprus
.czCzech Republic
.deGermany
.djDjibouti
.dkDenmark
.dmDominica
.doDominican Republic
.dzAlgeria
.ecEcuador
.eeEstonia
.egEgypt
.ehWestern Sahara
.erEritrea
.esSpain
.etEthiopia
.euEuropean Union
.fiFinland
.fjFiji
.fkFalkland Islands (United Kingdom)
.fmFederated States of Micronesia
.foFaroe Islands (Kingdom of Denmark)
.frFrance
.gaGabon
.gdGrenada
.geGeorgia
.gfFrench Guiana (France)
.ggGuernsey
.ghGhana
.giGibraltar (United Kingdom)
.glGreenland (Kingdom of Denmark)
.gmThe Gambia
.gnGuinea
.gpGuadeloupe (France)
.gqEquatorial Guinea
.grGreece
.gsSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (United Kingdom)
.gtGuatemala
.guGuam (United States)
.gwGuinea-Bissau
.gyGuyana
.hkHong Kong
.hmHeard Island and McDonald Islands
.hnHonduras
.hrCroatia
.htHaiti
.huHungary
.idIndonesia
.ieIreland
.ilIsrael
.imIsle of Man
.inIndia
.ioBritish Indian Ocean Territory (United Kingdom)
.iqIraq
.irIran
.isIceland
.itItaly
.jeJersey
.jmJamaica
.joJordan
.jpJapan
.keKenya
.kgKyrgyzstan
.khCambodia
.kiKiribati
.kmComoros
.knSaint Kitts and Nevis
.kpNorth Korea
.krSouth Korea
.kwKuwait
.kyCayman Islands (United Kingdom)
.kzKazakhstan
.laLaos
.lbLebanon
.lcSaint Lucia
.liLiechtenstein
.lkSri Lanka
.lrLiberia
.lsLesotho
.ltLithuania
.luLuxembourg
.lvLatvia
.lyLibya
.maMorocco
.mcMonaco
.mdMoldova
.meMontenegro
.mgMadagascar
.mhMarshall Islands
.mkNorth Macedonia
.mlMali
.mmMyanmar
.mnMongolia
.moMacau
.mpNorthern Mariana Islands (United States)
.mqMartinique (France)
.mrMauritania
.msMontserrat (United Kingdom)
.mtMalta
.muMauritius
.mvMaldives
.mwMalawi
.mxMexico
.myMalaysia
.mzMozambique
.naNamibia
.ncNew Caledonia (France)
.neNiger
.nfNorfolk Island
.ngNigeria
.niNicaragua
.nlNetherlands
.noNorway
.npNepal
.nrNauru
.nuNiue
.nzNew Zealand
.omOman
.paPanama
.pePeru
.pfFrench Polynesia (France)
.pgPapua New Guinea
.phPhilippines
.pkPakistan
.plPoland
.pmSaint-Pierre and Miquelon (France)
.pnPitcairn Islands (United Kingdom)
.prPuerto Rico (United States)
.psPalestine[51]
.ptPortugal
.pwPalau
.pyParaguay
.qaQatar
.reRéunion (France)
.roRomania
.rsSerbia
.ruRussia
.rwRwanda
.saSaudi Arabia
.sbSolomon Islands
.scSeychelles
.sdSudan
.seSweden
.sgSingapore
.shSaint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (United Kingdom)
.siSlovenia
.skSlovakia
.slSierra Leone
.smSan Marino
.snSenegal
.soSomalia
.srSuriname
.ssSouth Sudan
.stSão Tomé and Príncipe
.suSoviet Union
.svEl Salvador
.sxSint Maarten (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
.sySyria
.szEswatini
.tcTurks and Caicos Islands (United Kingdom)
.tdChad
.tfFrench Southern and Antarctic Lands
.tgTogo
.thThailand
.tjTajikistan
.tkTokelau
.tlEast Timor
.tmTurkmenistan
.tnTunisia
.toTonga
.trTurkey
.ttTrinidad and Tobago
.tvTuvalu
.twTaiwan
.tzTanzania
.uaUkraine
.ugUganda
.ukUnited Kingdom
.usUnited States of America
.uyUruguay
.uzUzbekistan
.vaVatican City
.vcSaint Vincent and the Grenadines
.veVenezuela
.vgBritish Virgin Islands (United Kingdom)
.viUnited States Virgin Islands (United States)
.vnVietnam
.vuVanuatu
.wfWallis and Futuna
.wsSamoa
.yeYemen
.ytMayotte
.zaSouth Africa
.zmZambia
.zwZimbabwe
Source: Wikipedia

Using ccTLDs for Branding

Since many ccTLDs can be freely registered and used, companies and website owners alike often use ccTLDs for their domain name, regardless of the origin country.

In fact, many ccTLDs have grown so much in popularity that they have become the preferred extension for different industries and use cases.

These extensions are also convenient way for website owners to get creative with their domain name branding.

Brands can use certain ccTLDs to incorporate the domain extension into the brand name to create a type of vanity URL called a domain hack.

Popular ccTLDs & Use Cases

Let’s take a look at some popular ccTLDs and their use cases:

  • .co: The ccTLD for Colombia is a popular alternative to .com, given it’s connotation to the word ‘company.’
  • .io: The ccTLD for the British Indian Ocean Territory came to popularity in the early 2010s thanks to online multiplayer games, followed by tech companies.
  • .ai: The Anguilla ccTLD saw tremendous growth in the 2020s thanks to the advent of artificial intelligence (or AI.)
  • .ly: The Libyan ccTLD was popularized by Bitly for use in URL shorteners. It’s also the ccTLD used by Clickly!

ccTLD vs gTLD

Unlike ccTLDs, gTLDs (Generic Top-Level Domains) such as .com, .org, and .net, do not have geographical associations and are used by websites without any regional targeting.

Choosing between a ccTLD and a gTLD often depends on the business’s scope, audience target, and branding strategy.

Does a ccTLD Affect SEO?

While search engines do not explicitly assign ranking value to any ccTLD, the use of one can have an indirect impact on SEO, both good and bad.

For example, a popular brand using a ccTLD may rank well in search engines, however uninitiated searchers might not recognize the extension, causing them to scroll past.

Conversely, residents in a particular locality may trust a certain website more if it uses the country’s own domain extension.

Summary

Understanding ccTLDs and how they fit into your overall web strategy is vital for targeting specific markets and enhancing your online presence. Regardless of which you choose, your success lies ultimately in your branding and marketing efforts.

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