It was originally not possible in the United Kingdom, to register a <.uk> domain name, and only third-level extensions existed, such as <.co.uk>. However, the extension in <.uk> became the official ccTLD of the United and became available for reservation on June 10, 2014.
Following the creation of this new extension, owners of domain names having <.co.uk>, <.org.uk> and <.me.uk> as CCTLDs have a five-year priority period to register their domain names under the <.uk> extension. This priority period will end on June 25, 2019.
The priority period: what are the conditions?
The reservation terms for the <.uk> extension during this priority period depend on the date of the domain name’s registration.
- For <.co.uk> domain names registered before October 28, 2013: domain name owners of <.co.uk> extensions acquire by default the rights in the corresponding <.uk> extension, if no other domain name under <.org.uk>, <me.uk>, <.ltd.uk>, <.plc.uk> or <.net.uk> extensions is registered. In case of a conflict between these different extensions, the <.co.uk> prevails over the other extensions.
- For <.co.uk> domain names registered between October 28, 2013 and June 10, 2014: domain name owners of <.co.uk> extensions have priority to acquire corresponding domain name in <.uk>. In case of a conflict, the <.co.uk> no longer prevails. In this case, it is the domain name which was first registered that will prevail for the <.uk> extension.
The owner of domain names in <.co.uk> has priority for registering corresponding domain name with the <.uk> extension. In other words, a person wishing to register <ipzen.uk>, while there already is a <ipzen.co.uk> domain name, will not be able to register this new domain name because only the owner of the <ipzen.co.uk> domain name is allowed to do so for a period of 5 years.
Why is it important to reserve a <.uk> domain name extension?
Registering a <.uk> domain name for the owner of a <.co.uk>, <.org.uk>, or <.me.uk> domain name, is a guarantee of security. Indeed, such a measure aims at preventing third parties to register the domain name on their own account, and this lowers the risk of misuse by cybersquatters.
In addition, reserving a <.uk> domain name allow establishing a local digital presence in the United Kingdom and to foster a relationship of proximity and trust with consumers.
Registering the <.uk> domain name corresponding to the <.co.uk>, <.org.uk> and <.me.uk> domain names before 25 June 2019 is therefore recommended.
From July 1, 2019, <.uk> domain names benefiting from this priority period that have not been registered will be available for the public. Therefore, they may be registered by any interested third party.