Your favourite questions for Nominet

3rd October 2016


Jonathan Watkins

One of the things we work hard at here at Nominet is providing top-notch customer service. Our busy Service Delivery team, based in Oxford, deals with over 9,000 calls and emails each month. We take pride in being recognised for providing good service —whether through awards, Twitter approval for our hold music choices (the Rolling Stones seem to be a particular favourite), or direct feedback from our customers. One caller who springs to mind asked, “Nominet are so good, can you take over running British gas please?” (We’re flattered, but we’ll stick to the internet industry for now.)

We think it’s important our customers know we’re there for them, and that their interactions with us are positive. This is borne out by research: a 2014 study found that 72% of people say that good service has a considerable influence on their loyalty to a company. Interestingly, British consumers are less tolerant of poor customer service than those in the US, with 50% saying they’d switch to a different company following a bad experience (compared to 44% in the US).

Something we’ve learnt is particularly important in an industry like ours, where complex technical systems and specific terminology are a matter of course for those working within it, is the importance of looking at things from a customer’s perspective. You can’t expect people to have a high level of technical knowledge about how the system works (although some do).

We have, more than once, fielded questions from people who’d confused us with a register office for births, deaths and marriages — while we’d love to help people register their weddings, unfortunately that’s not our area of expertise!  But the most common source of confusion is the role of Nominet, versus the role of domain registrars.

How is Nominet different from a domain registrar?

Nominet is the registry for .uk domain names, meaning that we hold the database of the 10 million (and counting) registered domains ending in .uk. We’re also responsible for managing the infrastructure that ensures that, whenever a person or machine looks up a .uk domain, they’re directed to the right place. There are about four billion of these Domain Name System queries every day.

But most people who register a .uk domain name don’t do so directly with us. They do this through a domain registrar (view a list of .uk registrars), who registers the domain with us on the customer’s behalf, and manages most day-to-day interactions with the customer. Often, a registrar will bundle this service with others, such as website hosting.

If you’ve registered a .uk domain, your registrar is your first port of call for domain-related advice and support. Nominet is here as back-up should you have a query or request that your registrar isn’t able to assist with.

Other common questions include:

Why have you sent me an email about renewing my domain name? I didn’t register with you.

As outlined above, when you first registered your domain name with your registrar, they came to Nominet to buy the domain name and register it on our database. We emailed you because your domain name is due for renewal, and if you want to keep using it, you or your registrar will need to renew it as soon as possible. Contact your registrar to ask them to do this for you.

I can’t get control of my domain! What can I do?

If the email address used to set up your account is no longer valid (or belongs to someone else, like your website designer), just ask your registrar to update it. Any problems, call us direct on 01865 332244.

I want to change my registrar – what should I do?

If you wish to move your domain name to a new registrar, you should contact your current registrar in the first instance. Because they have access to our registration and domain management systems, they can usually arrange to move a domain name for you very quickly.

If they’re unable to complete this change for you, you can move your domain name to a new registrar yourself. You’ll need to know your new registrar’s Nominet ID (known as their ‘tag’), so ask them for this first. Then, you can request the change by using your Nominet Online Services account. Requesting to switch to a new registrar costs £10 (+VAT), even if you’re moving more than one domain name.

Someone else has a domain name I’m interested in – what can I do about it?

If they’ll agree to change the registration to your name, it’s easy. Often, their registrar will be able to do this for them — in the first instance, they should contact their registrar and ask. Or, they can do a Registrant Transfer using their Nominet Online Services account. It costs £10 (+VAT) and takes about 5-10 minutes. If their registrar is unable to help, and they’re unsure about using Online Services, they can contact us on 01865 332244.

If they’re unwilling to give up the domain, you could try registering a similar alternative. Or, you could go with the new .uk suffix (without .co). It’s shorter and puts the emphasis firmly on your name, though in some cases existing domain name owners may have rights to this version.

For information on choosing and registering a new domain, visit

For more information on managing your .uk domain, visit our FAQ page.