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The New Generic Top-Level Domains Program: Next Round

A Domain Name that Fits Your Needs

The Domain Name System (DNS) is expanding again.

The New Generic Top-Level Domains (gTLD) Program is a community-driven initiative enabling the continued expansion of the DNS through the introduction of new gTLDs. Among other goals, the program aims to foster diversity, encourage competition, and enhance the utility of the DNS.

The 2012 round of the program resulted in the addition of more than 1,200 new top-level domains (TLDs), including TLDs in various languages and scripts. TLDs are the characters found at the end of a domain name like .com, .org, and .net. For example, in the domain name, .org is the top-level domain.

The New gTLD Program: Next Round will give businesses, communities, and others the opportunity to apply for new top-level domains tailored to their community, culture, language, business, and customers. A TLD can be a branding opportunity for a business, but the commercial opportunities are endless, allowing businesses in countries, entire sectors, or niche markets to develop a unique label on the Internet.

The next round of new gTLDs will also offer opportunities to create a more multilingual and inclusive Internet for the billions of people who speak and write in different languages and scripts and are yet to come online.

While the majority of Internet domains today are formed using a combination of letters a-z, digits 0-9, and hyphens, domain names and email addresses are available in many different scripts. These Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) are available in languages and scripts such as Devanagari (एमईआईटीवाई.सरकार.भारत), Thai (คน.ไทย), and Chinese (中航天业.网址).

Enabling a Multilingual Internet

IDNs enable people around the world to use domain names and email addresses in local languages and scripts. These domain names give organizations, governments, and businesses the ability to reach citizens and customers in their preferred language or script.

Universal Acceptance (UA) of all domain names and email addresses, including new longer TLDs and those formed with IDNs, will facilitate the development of a multilingual Internet. Ensuring the universal acceptance of these domain names and email addresses by all Internet-enabled applications and systems, and resolving the technical issues around UA, is important to delivering the benefits of the Internet to the billions of current and future Internet users.

Universal Acceptance: Enabling Digital Inclusivity

Be UA-Ready!

All applications developers and online service providers are encouraged to ensure their systems are updated to support all valid domain names and email addresses. Find out more about making your systems UA-ready.

What's the Status of the Next Round of New gTLDs?

ICANN continues to work toward opening the next round of applications for new gTLDs. The ICANN organization published the implementation plan for opening the next application round of the New gTLD Program to the ICANN Board of Directors on 27 July 2023. The plan includes an overview of project details including requirements for cost and resources, systems and tools, communications, and dependencies.

Policy Implementation work is a crucial driver of the overall timeline for the opening the next round of applications for new gTLDs. This work will culminate in the completion of a new Applicant Guidebook. The Implementation Review Team (IRT) serves as a resource to staff, providing the background and rationale for the recommendations and ensuring that the implementation of the new Applicant Guidebook conforms to the intent of the policy recommendations contained in the Final Report. The first meeting of the IRT took place in May 2023. This work is estimated to require two years, concluding in May 2025.

ICANN org expects the operational work to open the New gTLD Program: Next Round to take three years overall. Two years of this work can be conducted in parallel with Policy Implementation work.

After completion of the Applicant Guidebook, ICANN org expects it will take one year to complete operationalization work, including systems development and testing, which enables the application round to open in Q2 2026.

Announcements, Blogs, Press Releases, Webinars, and More

To read recent news and view webinars about the next round of the New gTLD Program, please visit New gTLD Program: Next Round News.


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Resources for Further Information

History of the New gTLD Program

ICANN has maintained a longstanding commitment to introducing future rounds of new gTLDs, in line with the ICANN Bylaws core value to foster "competition in the registration of domain names where practicable and beneficial to the public interest as identified through the bottom-up, multistakeholder policy development process."

Read more about the history here.