A country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is an Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory identified with a country code. All ASCII ccTLD identifiers are two letters long, and all two-letter top-level domains are ccTLDs.
In 2018, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) began implementing internationalized country code top-level domains, consisting of language-native characters when displayed in an end-user application. Creation and delegation of ccTLDs is described in RFC 1591, corresponding to ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes. While gTLDs have to obey international regulations, ccTLDs are subjected to requirements that are determined by each country’s domain name regulation corporation. With over 150 million domain name registrations today, ccTLDs make up 40% of the total domain name industry. Country code extension applications began in 1985. The registered first extensions that year were .us (United States), .uk (United Kingdom), and .il (Israel). There are 312 ccTLDs in active use totally. .cn, .tk, .de and .uk contain the highest number of domains.