Domain names are the addresses you use when navigating the internet or sending emails
They work a little like phone numbers, enabling computers using the internet to find specific locations (such as a website or an email inbox). A domain name can be used in the place of a string of numbers called an Internet Protocol address – commonly known as an IP address. In a web address, the domain name is the words that come after www., and in an email address it comes after the @ symbol.
Just as in a telephone directory, there needs to be a system in place to make sure each address connects to the place it should. This is where the Domain Name System (DNS) comes in, by putting in place a set of rules to ensure each domain name is unique.
What are the rules?
When you register a domain name, you enter into two separate contracts: one with Nominet UK and the other with your registrar.
Our Terms and Conditions & Rules of Registration are binding – so make sure you read them through carefully and understand them before registering. Registration entitles you to be a domain name holder, i.e. to use a domain name for an agreed time period. You would not, however, become the owner of the domain name. Which means, if you don’t renew your registration when the agreed time period comes to an end, the name becomes available for other applicants to use.
We don’t have any part in contracts you make with your registrar. So it’s really important to make sure you understand your rights and obligations under this contract – particularly what would happen if commercial dealings between you and the registrar break down. Find information and advice about choosing a registrar.
Make sure your contract says that the domain name is registered in your name, unless agreed otherwise.
We require all registrars to follow our Registry-Registrar Agreement. This sets out how we expect them to behave in terms of how they use our registration systems, their commitments to domain holders (registrants) and their responsibility to maintain data and follow our payment terms.
If you have a complaint or any concerns you would like to raise about a registrar who may have broken the Registry-Registrar Agreement, please follow our complaints procedure.
Protecting the integrity of your .UK
We strive to make .UK a safe place to be. A key part of this is ensuring all the information we hold for the registrant of a domain name is true and up to date. And we’re not alone. Registries around the world are increasingly focusing on their ability to provide accurate registrant data so they can stop people using domain names fraudulently.
Having the right registration data is so important to us that, if you want to register a .UK domain, it’s a requirement of your contract to supply us with complete and accurate data.
If you are listed as the registrant, we’ll consider you legally responsible for the domain name. This means it’s essential that we have the correct contact details for you, so we can get in touch with you if there’s ever a problem with your domain name. This includes making sure we have an up to date email address for you, as this is the main way we contact registrants.
To make sure the information we hold is true and up to date, we will attempt to match all registrant name and address details with third party data sources when you register, or when you change your data. We do this by checking the information you supply us with in your application against a number of different databases, including:
In each case, we look for a valid individual, business and address we can identify as matching the information we hold. Information for applicants from overseas is also checked against equivalent address sources, and where possible against the business registry in the host country.
You can use the WHOIS tool to check if we’ve been able to match your information against the data sources listed above. If your data has been validated, you’ll see the following status:
Nominet was able to match the registrant’s name and address against a 3rd party data source on DD-Month-YYYY
If we haven’t been able to validate the name and/or address, you’ll receive the following reply:
Nominet was not able to match the registrant’s name and address against a 3rd party data source on DD-Month-YYYY
If an Accredited Channel Partner validates the registrant’s data, WHOIS will show this message:
The Registrar is responsible for having checked these contact details
If we can’t match your data, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s incorrect. Because our domain register includes over 10 million names, we have to use an automated validation system which is not always 100% accurate.
In some cases, it could be that although you’ve submitted the right details, they aren’t listed on the public sources we use to check them. For example, if you’re not currently listed on the electoral roll, or your organisation has only recently been registered with Companies House.
If this happens, we can try to match the data manually by asking applicants to submit appropriate documents. If we do get in touch with you about validating your details, it’s important that you act on this as soon as you can – if your details aren’t verified your domain name could be suspended.
Depending on whether we’ve been unable to validate your name and/or address, we accept any example of the following:
In some cases, we can’t match data because a domain may have been registered to someone who didn’t give their full name, or is under a trading name that doesn’t correspond with a registered company. In these cases, we’ll ask registrants to update or complete their personal information.
If your details are out of date or incorrect, you can update them through your Online Services account.
As well as .UK, we run the registry for .cymru and .wales domain names. These spaces provide the perfect opportunity for you to express your Welsh identity – and join Wales’ growing online community.
Find out more about the new domain names for Wales, including how to register your .cymru and .wales domain names at ourhomeonline.wales. If you’re registering a .cymru or .wales domain name, you can read up on your rights and responsibilities on the ICANN website.
The policies and disputes process for our Welsh domains are slightly different to our .UK ones. Follow the links below to learn more.
Before registering your .cymru or .wales domain name, read through these policies to make sure you can get the name you want – and avoid future disputes.
You can resolve disputes over the registration of .cymru and .wales domain names in one of two standardised dispute resolution procedures:
Neither of these procedures prevents someone taking a domain name dispute to court – which they have the right to do. Where we can, we will try to assist in effecting orders from courts of competent jurisdiction regarding the registration of .cymru and .wales domain names.