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The UK has long been the poor relation in the Top Level Domains (TLD) area with a variety of options. Most common is the .co.uk but we also have org.uk, ltd.uk, uk.com, so it’s been a bit of a mess.
We were told the next big thing was .biz which disappeared without trace, and of course .eu which in my view is a very niche domain, but .uk is the real deal.
Most other countries have a simple .de or .it and now it’s our turn with .uk which was released on the 12th June 2014.
I firmly believe that in 5 years the .uk will the the prominent domain TLD for UK businesses that deal primarily in the UK, and .com for UK business that are international, as it is now.
If you own the .co.uk Nominet are holding the .uk version of your domain name for a generous 5 years before it’s going to be available to all comers, that’s June 2019. I’d get your .uk domain registered now and forward it to your .co.uk for the moment.
There are some other options for example.pub for publications, so if your business has it’s own domain it is worth taking a look at these as well.
I use 123Reg for my domains and they charged me £11.98 +VAT for my .uk for 2 years, but they only supply a .uk when you have your .co.uk registered with them and in my case I had to move it from elsewhere as my original host didn’t sell the .uk domains. The wholesale price is £3.50 so £11.98 is a little cheeky but I am sure they will come down to the .co.uk price in time.
So in conclusion you NEED to purchase the .uk version of your .co.uk but you have 5 years to do it. My advice is to do it now and forward it to your .co.uk As we see traffic increasing for the .uk it will be time to move your site onto the .uk domain. This is really easy so don’t worry but it will need doing.
If you need advice or help with this please get in touch. It’s really important you get this done and don’t forget, if you do your competitors will be registering your domain and who knows what pain that will cause.
Nominet have published a great Q&A here https://www.nominet.org.uk/how-participate/policy-development/IntroducingSecondLevelDomains/qanda
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