In the Domain Name System (DNS) hierarchy, a second-level domain (SLD or 2LD) is a domain that is directly below a top-level domain (TLD). For example, in example.com, example is the second-level domain of the .com TLD.
Second-level domains commonly refer to the organization that registered the domain name with a domain name registrar. Some domain name registries introduce a second-level hierarchy to a TLD that indicates the type of entity intended to register an SLD under it. For example, in the .uk namespace a college or other academic institution would register under the .ac.uk ccSLD, while companies would register under .co.uk. Strictly speaking, domains like .ac.uk and .co.uk are second level domain themselves, since they are right below a TLD. A list of the official TLDs can be found at icann.org and iana.org. An ordinal-free term to denote domains under which people can register their own domain name is public suffix domain (PSD).
As a result of ICANN’s generic top-level domain (gTLD) expansion, the risk of domain squatting has increased significantly. For example, based on current regulations, the registration of the gTLDs .olympics or .redcross is not allowed; however, the registration of sites such as olympics.example or redcross.example is not controlled. Experts say that further restrictions are needed for second-level domains under the new gTLD .health, as well. For example, second-level domains under .tobacco.health or .diet.health can be easily misused by companies and therefore are a potential threat to Internet users
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