.UK domain extension opens for registration soon

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On June 10th, 2014, the United Kingdom finally catches up with the rest of the world and gets its very own top level domain. The .UK domain will open for registration and join the existing UK domains that include .CO.UK, .ORG.UK, .ME.UK, and .LTD.UK. You’re bound to have some questions and I’ve tried to answer them below. So many words you cry, but it’s all relevant info that you’ll need, so grab a cup of tea and take a look.

UK gets its own TLD

Nominet, the registry behind the UK domains, talked about unlocking the .UK domain extension way back in 2012. Now, after a few hiccups, they are ready to go.

Why was there no .UK before?

There was originally, but with the number of domain names increasing every year – the UK Naming Committee decided to make things easier. In the UK it was decided in the mid-nineties to go with a hierarchical structure. An extension, or top level domain (TLD), such as France’s .FR, doesn’t reveal anything about what a website is about. The UK wanted to make things easier so chose to use second level domains such as .CO.UK for companies, .ORG.UK for non-profit organisations, .ME.UK for personal names, and so on.

Before the Internet becomes flooded with the new .UK domain, you can find some websites with a .UK domain name that registered in the early nineties such as The British Library (bl.uk), nhs.uk, and police.uk.

So, questions and answers – ask away...

Why do I need a .UK domain name?

Because it comes with benefits...

  • It’s shorter so your brand name is more prominent.
  • It’s only two letters and users prefer to use less key strokes.
  • Whilst in Britain the .CO.UK is familiar, customers overseas are familiar with country code domains like .DE, .CA and .FR.

I already have a .CO.UK, will someone be able to register my name with .UK?

They can try but they will fail. All .CO.UK domain name owners will receive an email offering the .UK version of their domain name. To give you time to decide whether you want to register the .UK version or not, it will be kept in a safe place for free for five years. You can register it at any time during this period as long as your existing .CO.UK name is still registered in your name..

I own a .ORG.UK domain name but someone else has the same name registered with .CO.UK, who wins?

The owner of the .CO.UK domain name will be offered the .UK version first. They have five years before they need to register the .UK match. When they try to register, if they are an overseas resident they will be asked to provide a service address in the UK or one of the British Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man), PO boxes will be unacceptable.

If the .CO.UK owner can’t supply an acceptable address and you can, the .UK domain name will be yours to register – yay!

What happens if my .CO.UK name is cancelled or expires after I’ve been offered the .UK version?

Yikes, if you lose your .CO.UK you also lose your right to the .UK version. I would suggest you set up auto renew to avoid this from happening.

Should I pre-order a .UK domain name? *

If you already have a .CO.UK, .ME.UK, .ORG.UK, or .LTD.UK domain name, then no, you are already at the front of the queue.

But if you don’t own any UK domain names yet, you’re in luck. Simply register any .CO.UK domain name before June 10th using our special form and place your guaranteed .UK pre-order at the same time.

Does this mean the .CO.UK, .ORG.UK, etc., will cease to be?

No way! The rest of the UK domain extensions will carry on and still be available for registration and renewal.

Let’s talk money – I’m entitled to the five year reservation period, when do I have to pay and how much?

Anytime you like during the five years, it’s entirely up to you. But, if you want to get online immediately the.UK is released, you’ll have to pay immediately.

The cost of a .UK domain name will be the same as the .CO.UK version is now.

I’ll be eligible for the .UK version of my domain name but I don’t want it, what should I do?

It’ll still be reserved for you for five years, should you change your mind. After this period it’ll be set free and anyone can try and register it. (The five year period ends on June 10th, 2019.)

If you are 100% sure you don’t want it and you know someone who does, you can sell it. All you need to do is register the .UK name, then you're free to sell it on, and there are no restrictions.

But, make sure you really don’t want it, these names are like gold dust and once sold you may not be able to get it back.

So, do you want a .UK domain name?

I’ve answered the questions that we’ve received so far but if you have more, please get in touch with our whizzbang sales team.

I think the .UK domain is a long time coming and I welcome it with my open British arms. Yes it’s short, but take it from me, high heels work wonders.

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* The .UK domain extension is now in General Availability and pre-orders are no longer available.

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