A country code top-level domain, ccTLD or international domain is one of three types of TLDs. A ccTLD represents a specific geographic location and is the most effective way to show search engines and users which country or region you are located in.
There are 308 international domains. ICANN is responsible for organizing and managing international domains. ICANN actually controls all TLDs on the internet and distributes various TLDs to other organizations. For example, VeriSign controls all .com and .net domains.
Every country code top-level domain name you will come across consists of two letters. The first letter used is always the first letter of the country name, but the second letter is chosen randomly to avoid conflicts with existing ccTLDs. These letters are assigned to a country using the 1974 ISO-3166 standard and use a country's local name. For example, the ccTLD for Germany is .de for Germany instead of .ge for Germany.
A ccTLD is country or region specific, while a gTLD is generic. A generic top-level domain is not country-specific, an example of a gTLD is .com or .net. However, both are controlled and regulated by ICANN.
Yes, you can register multiple ccTLDs for the same site. Many international sites will have slightly different websites and content depending on the country they are targeting, so it is useful to register multiple domains, each with a different ccTLD. For example, you may want to target customers in China, in which case you'll need to purchase a .cn domain extension alongside your main domain name.
For example, if you're going to register an .eu ccTLD, you'll need to either live in the European Union or have your business there. However, when it comes to registering a .cc domain, there are no requirements and almost anyone can register this domain. The requirements will vary depending on which country code top-level domain you choose.
According to the VeriSign Domain Name Industry Brief, the ten most popular ccTLDs as of September 30, 2022 are as follows:
.cn also has around 18 million domain registrations, which shows how important ccTLDs have become for both users and search engines.
An international domain points both users and search engines in the right direction. For example, adding .tr to your domain name indicates that the content on your website is specifically targeted at people living in Turkey. This means that users can be directed to the right regional page.
COM can be registered by users anywhere in the world without any restrictions. ccTLD domain names usually require the person registering the domain to have a local address or be a citizen of that country.