gTLD (Generic Top Level Domains) is a category of top level domains like .com, .edu, .net and .org. These are the domain names that were created early in the development of the domain name registration system. Some of them are restricted and have to meet certain guidelines for someone to register a domain under a specific generic top level domain name. Some of these are more specific types of top level domains like a ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain) like .us, .ca, .in for United States, Canada, India. These top level domains are typically managed by the country and to register a domain with the ccTLD extension the registrar will have to meet and abide by the requirements and regulations of the domain.
In the types of gTLDs .com, .net. and .org could be registered without restriction. These are the most generic domains that basically anyone can register without having to meet any specific requirements. In the early 2000s it became pretty standard when adopting new top level domains to decide whether it is a sponsored or unsponsored domain. The unsponsored TLD are operated under policies that are set forth by the Global Internet Community through ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Sponsored TLDs are specialized and have a sponsor that regulates matters in regard to that particular TLD.
Typically using a generic top level domain is a good idea. Having a domain that ends with .com is the easiest for people to remember. If you are going to be advertising your domain name and expect people to remember it, these gTLDs are the easiest to remember and are the first one that a person will try if they only know your company name and not your website address. One problem with the .com generic top level domain is that the most common, easy to sell domains are already registered. You may be able to buy it from the current owner, but will probably pay a pretty penny. Or it may already be in full use and you may have to find a variation.
Choosing a gTLD may not always be an option, keep in mind that whatever domain you choose it needs to be easy to spell and have some relevance to your business or website. Also using keywords in the domain will help with search engine ranking and search engine optimization. It is fairly common for a major business to register variations of their domain as well. For instance, we will use BigCompany as an example, BigCompany may register both BigCompany.com and BigCompany.org to prevent another company from coming in and registering the BigCompany.org domain and then picking up some of the website traffic that was actually intended for BigCompany. com. In some instances if your business name is spelled in an unusual way (kewl instead of cool) you may want to register the domain with both spellings and do a redirect so that each variation will go to the main site.
There are times that a gTLD is not the best choice so it will depend on your business and the audience you are targeting. For a school .edu is perfect because most people expect that the domain will be with .edu instead of .com or .org. You may have to get a little creative based on what is available but taking some time to research keywords and competition and then optimizing your site with the right keywords will allow you to create a successful site that is easy to find even if your customers don’t know the exact domain name.