Should I Register A .co.uk Or .uk Domain Name?

5th December, 2018 by

Choosing the perfect domain name for your website can feel like a daunting task. It generally involves a lot of domain search, checking, double-checking, and research. UK2.NET can help you in your quest for the perfect web address. For example, our helpful domain search quickly helps you locate availability and cost. However, choosing the exact wording and extension may take a little more thought.

When individuals set out to buy a domain, they can often get confused about the various web address endings, called top level domains (TLDs). When the internet began, there were limited options for TLDs. The World Wide Web was dominated by .com, .org, .gov, and other generic domains. Today, there are over a thousand TLDs to choose from, including web address endings like .club or .guru. However, many Brits stick to the .co.uk and .uk TLDs. In this post, we will cover the tough choice of whether you should choose a .co.uk or .uk web address for your next website.

The history of the .uk

If you have your eye on a .uk domain name, there are a few aspects of this unique domain extension that you should take note of. When ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved the .uk TLD, there were a few extenuating circumstances that led to precautions that had to be made before registering a .uk domain. ICANN wanted to be sure that those who had previously registered .co.uk domain names weren’t fighting off domain squatters trying to make a quid or two.

These .co.uk domains have a Grandfather clause that allows them first dibs on the .uk version of their domains. The requirements stated that the .co.uk domain must have been registered before 28 October 2013. This means that anyone who registered a .co.uk domain name today does not automatically reserve the rights to the corresponding .uk domain name. If the .co.uk domain name was registered before the cutoff date, the domain owner has the rights to the matching .uk domain for a term of up to five years. After five years, the domain then has open availability.

Many domain purchasers prefer the .uk domain because the domain is shorter and has higher availability. The international appeal of the .uk TLD conforms with the rest of the worlds two-letter geographic TLDs. However, there are many who prefer the traditional .co.uk domain names over the trendier British version.

The rise of the .co.uk

As the internet bloomed, .com somehow came to be the US domain of choice, while Brits clung on to the .co.uk. The domain extension grew in popularity, and became associated with businesses and individuals who met the following criteria:

  • Located in the UK
  • Accept the British Pound as payment
  • Have UK-based support
  • Would like to be seen in British search results

This, of course, doesn’t mean that the .uk TLD doesn’t appeal to the same users. In fact, according to experts, 81% of domain registrants would prefer to register a .uk domain.

How to choose your UK-based domain

If you are still stumped as to which TLD you should choose, keep in mind that best business practice is to register both the .co.uk and the .uk domains. By owning the rights to both versions of your domain, you can prevent others from squatting on a domain associated with your brand. Websites are easily spoofed and nefarious individuals will often recreate your website on a similar domain in an attempt to scam your website traffic. Depending on availability and cost, you may want to consider tossing both domains into your shopping cart. Odds are that you will thank yourself later.  

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