If you have a domain name that ends in .UK, there is an important change coming this summer that you may need to know about.
Five years ago, Nominet launched a new shorter, domain ending, .uk, into the UK domain family, alongside .co.uk, org.uk etc. We decided that registrants of existing .co.uk domains, representing the vast majority of domains in our name space, would be given five years to decide whether they wanted the corresponding .uk domain. So, for example, the registrant of ilovedomains.co.uk would have five years to decide if they wanted to also register ilovedomains.uk. Registrants of other domains in the .UK family (.org.uk, .me.uk etc) may also be eligible if no equivalent co.uk existed when the rights were calculated.
In the intervening years, we have been in touch with registrants directly, and worked with our registrars to ensure rights holders are aware and can make an informed decision about whether securing the corresponding .uk domain name is important to them or their business. An additional awareness campaign over the coming months will help draw attention to the June 25th deadline.
On the 25th June, this decision period closes and any associated rights to corresponding domains cease. In early July, any previously reserved domains will become available to register by anyone.
For those who are unsure of whether this applies to them, or how it all works, we hope this short FAQ is helpful.
How can I check if I have a reserved domain?
You can check your rights to a shorter .uk domain by visiting our online checker or you can contact your registrar. Further support is available from our customer support team on +44 (0)1865 332244.
I qualify for rights and I’m interested. How do I register my second level domain?
You will need to register the .uk domain name yourself before 6am BST (UTC+1) on the 25th of June 2019. We suggest contacting your current registrar who will be able to help you with this.
What happens if I don’t register the corresponding shorter .uk domain?
When your rights elapse on 25th June, the ‘reserved’ domain will be available for registration by someone else.
If I don’t take up the corresponding .UK domain, what happens to my existing registration?
Your existing domain is unaffected and will continue as usual. Remember to continue to renew your registration each year.
I don’t have any rights but there is a .uk domain currently reserved for someone else I would register if available. When will all the second level domains for which the right to register has NOT been taken up become available?
The second level domains will be made generally available from 1 July 2019. If you are interested in a particular domain, please contact your registrar who should be able to help. Some registrars offer a service to ‘catch’ rights or domains as they drop. If you are concerned that other people might also want to register the domain name you are interested in, and your registrar does not already offer this service, consider finding a registrar who does. They will usually provide this service on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis or refund fees, in whole or in part, if the name is not secured.
Why would I want a second level domain name?
Nominet expanded the namespace to offer new and shorter options for those seeking memorable domain names, in line with the changing use and appreciation of domain names. You may also wish to secure your second level domain name as a brand asset or for brand protection purposes.
I registered my .co.uk domain name in the last five years – do I have a right to register the .uk equivalent?
No. Only domains registered before 23:59hrs on 28 October 2013 acquired the rights to the equivalent .uk domain. If you are unsure, please check below. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you registering the .uk domain name if it is available.
When exactly do the rights expire?
06:00 BST (UTC+1) on 25th June 2019.
Isn’t it a problem that someone else can register a very similar domain?
It is a feature of the global domain name system that the same set of characters before the dot – known as the ‘string’ – can appear in names with different suffixes. So for example, ilovedomains.co.uk, ilovedomains.org.uk, ilovedomains.uk.co, or ilovedomains.com might all be registered to different people. It is generally not problematic, and safeguards are in place so action can be taken if domains are used for illegitimate purposes.
I’m worried about someone taking a similar domain and using it to exploit my business. What can I do?
Those who breach our terms and conditions, including our abuse policy, will lose their registration. If you have any subsequent issues with the way in which any domain is being used, you can lodge a complaint with Nominet’s Dispute Resolution Service.
Have other country code top level domain (ccTLD) registries offered second level domain names?
Almost all country code domains allow registration at the second level. New Zealand and Japan are two examples of countries that, like .UK, previously didn’t allow registrations at the second level, but have recently opened up this area of their namespace.