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A new era of gTLDs is coming

0 min read
6/26/2024
a new era of gTLDs is coming

ICANN, the governing body of the domain industry, has announced plans to open a second application window for new gTLDs during the spring of 2026. Organizations and communities around the world will be able to apply to form and operate their own gTLD registry while existing registries will be allowed to apply for new extensions as well. In this article, we summarize everything we know about this new round of applications so far – plus our predictions on what types of TLDs will be most popular during this round.

A brief history of new gTLDs

A top-level domain (TLD) is the last part of a website address that comes after the dot. The two most common types of TLDs are country code top-level domains (ccTLDs), such as .nl and .de, and generic top-level domains (gTLDs). Generic top-level domains encompass the largest group of TLDs on the Internet and include many well-known domains, such as .com, .org, and .net.

Historically, the number of gTLDs on the Internet has always been low compared to the number of ccTLDs, leading to limited options for website owners.  Knowing that the Internet will only continue to expand, ICANN launched the so-called new gTLD program to diversify the supply of domain extensions on the Internet.

This first round of this program opened in 2012 and received over 1900 applications for new extensions. Out of these, ICANN approved over 1200 – which together have significantly transformed the Internet over the past decade. Some popular examples of new gTLDs that have become very popular are .xyz, .online, .top, .site, and .shop

However, not all approved new gTLDs are open for registration. Some are restricted only to use by certain niches or even just by one company. Examples of such “brand TLDs” include .google and .bmw.

Another subset of generic top-level domains that have been rising in popularity over the past years are so-called geoTLDs and cityTLDs. From .abudhabi to .yokohama, a growing number of cities and regions around the world now have their own domain extension, which are well-used by local businesses and regional government entities. If you are curious about this, click here to find out the top 10 most popular cityTLDs.

The new gTLD program: the next round

Due to the popularity of the first application round, ICANN is planning to open a new application window, called The New gTLD Program: Next Round. This application window is expected to start in Q2 of 2026.

According to ICANN, the next round of the new gTLD program will give businesses, communities, and others the opportunity to apply for new top-level domains tailored to their community, culture, language, business, and customers. The new application window will allow businesses in countries, entire sectors, or niche markets to develop a unique label on the Internet. 

ICANN also sees the new application round as a great opportunity 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. 

Practical considerations

The New gTLD Program: Next Round is predicted to open in April 2026 and stay open for around 12-15 weeks. If you want to stay up to date with the latest developments towards the opening of the new application window, we recommend visiting ICANN’s website about the new gTLD program. The website is regularly updated with the latest news.

Organizations that apply to the program need to show that they have both the technical and financial ability to run their own registry. As part of proving that they have adequate financial resources, the application fee for the program will likely be quite high. The exact fee has not yet been determined, but as a point of reference, the application fee for the 2012 round of the New gTLD Program was $185,000 – a number we can safely expect to be higher now.

New gTLDs are currently accepted in 26 different scripts: Arabic, Armenian, Bangla, Chinese (Han), Cyrillic, Devanagari, Ethiopic, Georgian, Greek, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Hebrew, Japanese, Kannada, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Latin, Malayalam, Myanmar, Oriya, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu, and Thai. 

Applications for new gTLDs in a script that is not yet supported are allowed, as long as that script has common and widespread use. In these cases, your application will be put on hold until the community using the script can formulate a panel and develop a proposal.

New gTLDs: our predictions

We asked our product managers about their predictions for the next round of the new gTLD program. Marianna Siouti, our lead product manager, has observed significant success with location-based TLDs, particularly geoTLDs, such as .tokyo. She anticipates a surge in applications from cities and regions that have yet to acquire their own TLDs.

In particular, Marianna highlighted that many large cities across Asia currently do not have their own geoTLD and could greatly benefit from having one. Additionally, many cities in Europe and the Americas have enough citizens and local businesses to support high registration numbers.  Moreover, there are promising opportunities in emerging markets, including Africa and the Middle East, underscoring the global potential of new geoTLDs.

Meanwhile, our product manager Mohit Kambli believes that, when looking at current market trends and emerging industries, TLDs related to technology, sustainability, health, and finance might particularly be in demand. He is also expecting a rise in geoTLDs, community TLDs (such as .developer, .teacher, or .swimmer), extensions related to security, and more Web3 TLDs that are also integrated within the DNS, such as .vana.

In general, the ongoing demand for short and memorable domain names will continue to push users to look beyond .com and .net and into a growing pool of new gTLDs. We are excited to see how the 2026 application round will change the domain landscape!

New gTLDs at Openprovider: 1,900+ choices are already available!

If you are looking to resell new gTLDs, Openprovider is your best choice. We have over 1,900 TLDs in our portfolio, including all new gTLDs that are open for general use. By partnering with Openprovider as a domain reseller, you can offer the widest range of new gTLDs to your customers and help them find catchy, unique domain names at an affordable price. To learn more about partnering with Openprovider as a reseller, click here.

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