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Knowledge base Choosing a UK domain

You can order a domain name, and associated services (DNS, email, web pages) either on their own or to use with our broadband or other services. For our units based broadband services, we include a UK domain with associated standard DNS, email, web space. Contact sales to pick a domain if you have a units based broadband service, one per site. For Home::1 and Office::1 no domain is included, but we would generally recommend a .uk domain for anyone based in the UK.

Firstly, it is important to realise a domain can only contain letters (a-z) numbers (0-9) or hyphens, and no part can end or start with a hyphen.

When picking a domain, consider carefully how it will be used, and how you will print it on business cards, and so on. It is also important to think how it will be spoken when telling someone your web site or email over the phone. Domains names usually involve running words together with no punctuation, so consider ways the domain name could be mis-read as a different sequence of words (e.g. Pen Island pens has the domain penisland.net).

The .uk domain space has a number of second level domains that have specific meaning, and it is sensible to try and pick a domain ending with the appropriate second level part. E.g. a non profit organisation would not want a .co.uk domain as that suggests that you are a normal company. Some of these second level domains have specific meaning and registration is controlled and restricted.

.uk It is now possible to obtain a domain name just ending in .uk, e.g. example.uk, which adds some confusion. If you wanted to register example.co.uk as appropriate for your company, you should really register example.uk as well so as to avoid someone else registering it and causing confusion. Similarly, if you like just using the .uk, and register example.uk, you may want to also register example.co.uk to stop someone registering that, and to avoid confusion, especially as the simple .uk domains are quite new.
For some years the registration of domains directly under .uk are reserved for people who have the same name under .co.uk or in some cases other second level domains.
.co.uk This is probably the most well known. It is intended for companies although there is no formal restriction or checking to stop you registering it for personal use.
.org.uk This is intended for non profit organisations. Again, there are no formal restrictions - but using an org.uk would give the message that you are a non profit organisation. Some people will register an org.uk the same as their co.uk to avoid confusion, redirecting web traffic and email for the .org.uk to the .co.uk and not publishing the org.uk domain itself.
.me.uk This is intended for personal use, and is typically yourname.me.uk or yoursurname.me.uk. Remember, if you get your surname then you can create subdomains for no charge, e.g. firstname.surname.me.uk and set up mail, e.g. firstname@surname.me.uk. As such .me.uk is ideal for personal use. Being quite new there are many names available. Businesses should not register .me.uk domains as there are specific rules that make such registrations "abusive" and could mean your domain is challenged.
.ltd.uk This is specifically for UK limited companies (not plc's) and the domain has to exactly match your company name at companies house. Invalid characters such as spaces and brackets can be ignored or have a hyphen instead. However the domain is manually checked before it is registered and the rules strictly applied.
.plc.uk As ltd.uk for plc's.
.net.uk This is only available to ISPs. Unlike .net where it is intended for ISPs but there is no formal checking, .net.uk is specifically for ISPs and applications are checked. You need an AS number or an LIR tag to register (if you don't know what these are then you are not an ISP). You also have to convince nominet that you are genuinely an ISP.
.ac.uk This is for colleges and universities. The rules are a bit complex and we can submit a request if you are a university or a college. Some societies which do training and education qualify.
.sch.uk This is for UK schools only and the name is picked for you by the LEA. We provide .sch.uk domains to schools free anyway.
.police.uk Forget it unless you are a police force
.gov.uk Goverment bodies
.mod.uk You can guess this one I am sure
.nhs.uk And this one
.parliament.uk And this one
.nic.uk Nominet (who manage the .uk name space)

You can check any UK name availability at http://www.nic.uk/ and if it is free, ask us to register. A name reported as "DETAGGED" is not available, it must be not found.