When the .UK domain extension was released, the rights were reserved for owners of existing UK domains (.co.uk, .org.uk etc.) to claim their equivalent .UK domain. This meant, for example, if you were the owner of mycompany.co.uk, then ‘mycompany.uk’ was reserved for you and was unavailable to anyone else until 10th June 2019. This is known as .UK rights of registration.
Although rights of registration for .UK domains have now mostly expired, there are plenty of reasons to lock down your .UK domain name for your brand.
Why register a .uk domain?
In previous years, having a domain extension that showed your customers where your business operated was a vital ranking factor for search engines. Google would see that a website had a .UK domain name and boost its rankings for UK-based searches. Although domain names are no longer a search engine ranking factor, choosing the right domain extension is still just as important and there are many reasons to register a .UK domain name, especially if you already own the equivalent .co.uk version.
Represent your locality
Even though Google stopped considering a .UK domain extension important for UK searches, there’s still value in owning a .UK domain if you’re a UK business. For instance, if a UK user sees a .UK domain extension, they know the information they’re reading is relevant to them. Or with an online store, for example, they’ll know they don’t have to worry about international shipping fees on their purchases because they can see the website is for a British business.
If you own the .co.uk version of the domain name it’s possible that customers might mishear or mistype your domain name when looking for your website and end up on the .UK version instead. Registering a .UK domain in addition to your .co.uk domain means that you can ensure you catch those customers that incorrectly head to the .UK domain.
Not doing this can run the risk of falling prey to domain squatters – those who buy up alternate domain extensions of existing brand names, and use them for fraudulent purposes – such as setting up a phishing website for those that think they’re on the brand’s real website, or just sending visitors to a site containing malware. Domain squatting can mean disaster for brand reputation, so consider locking down your extensions.
While there are still plenty of .UK domain names available, back when the extension was released, those who owned a .co.uk or .org.uk domain name had the equivalent .UK domain reserved for them for five years, to give them a chance to secure their brand.
Although that protection expired in 2019, releasing the unused domain names to everyone, if you had a .co.uk or .org.uk with Fasthosts, you could still be eligible for its equivalent .UK domain name. We made sure to keep those .UK domains on hold for a further year, to make sure all of our customers had a chance to secure their own.
However, our protection is running out in June 2020, so if you’re a customer of ours who hasn’t yet claimed their .UK domain, you have a little time left before it becomes available for everyone.
If you’re interested in registering a new .UK domain, visit our domain checker page to register your new .UK domain name.