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Introduced 1985
TLD type Country code top-level domain
Status Active
Registry Nominet UK
Sponsor Nominet UK
Intended use Entities connected with the
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Actual use Very popular in UK, especially subdomain - as of December 2008 there were 7,277,700 registrations [1]
Registration restrictions None for,, and; other subdomains have differing restrictions
Structure At third level, beneath generic-category 2nd level domains, except under where registration is at fourth level; no second-level registrations (a few old registrations grandfathered)
Dispute policies DRS Policy

.uk is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for the United Kingdom. As of July 2008, it is the fifth most popular top-level domain worldwide (after .com, .cn, .de and .net), with over 7 million registrations.[2]

The use of .uk rather than .gb for the top-level domain is due to its pre-existing use in the (now obsolete) JANET Name Registration Scheme in which the order of address components were reversed. .uk was made available in DNS to simplify the translation to and from these addresses. There were plans for eventual transition to .gb to accord with correct usage, but this never occurred; the use of .uk is now entrenched as it is impossible to register a .gb domain.



As with other ccTLDs in the early days it was originally delegated to an individual by Jon Postel. In time, it passed to Dr Willie Black at the UK Education and Research Networking Association. Originally, Domain requests were emailed, manually screened by and then forwarded to the UK Naming Committee before being processed by UKERNA. Membership of this Committee was restricted to a group of high-end ISPs who were part of a formal peering arrangement.

The Naming Committee was organised as a mailing list to which all proposed names were circulated. The members would consider the proposals under a ruleset that insisted that all domain names should be very close if not identical to a registered business name of the registrant. Members of the Naming Committee could object to any name, and if a small number of objections were received, the name was refused. In addition to the 'matching' requirement, there was also a restriction that any company should only have a single domain name.

By the mid-1990s the growth of the Internet, and particularly the advent of the World Wide Web was pushing requests for domain name registrations up to levels that were not manageable by a group of part-time voluntary managers. Oliver Smith of Demon Internet forced the issue by providing the committee with a series of automated tools, called the "automaton", which formalised and automated the naming process end to end. This allowed many more registrations to be processed far more reliably and rapidly, and inspired individuals such as Ivan Pope to explore more entrepreneurial approaches to registration.

Various plans were put forward for the possible management of the domain, mostly Internet service providers seeking to stake a claim, each of which were naturally unacceptable to the rest of the committee. In response to this Dr Black, as the .uk Name, stepped up with a bold proposal for a not-for-profit commercial entity to deal with the .uk domain properly. Commercial interests initially balked at this, but with widespread support Nominet UK was formed to be the .uk Network Information Centre, a role which it continues to this day.

The general form of the rules (i.e. which domains can be registered and whether to allow second level domains) was set by the Naming Committee. Nominet has not made major changes to the rules, although it has introduced a new second level domain for individuals.

It is prohibited to register a domain name directly under .uk (such as and a second-level domain must be used (such as

However, some domains delegated before the creation of Nominet UK remain. Examples include (Ministry of Defence), (Parliament), and (the British Library), (the National Library of Scotland), (The National Health Service), and (UKAEA as operator of the Joint European Torus experimental fusion tokamak). No new 'normal' registrations at the second level are accepted although there is a system for allocating new second level domains to expand the capacity of the system. Such allocations are rarely made.

It is possible to directly register a domain name with Nominet UK but it is faster and cheaper to do it via a Nominet tag holder.

Second-level domains

Rejected second-level domains

  • - proposed for Social and Society use.
  • - A domain for Wales; it did not have support of the Welsh internet community, with a .cym domain being proposed.
  • - A domain for Scotland; it did not have the support of the Scottish internet community, with .sco domain being proposed.

Individual institutions

Inactive second-level domains

  • - former government domain, now deleted and replaced by
  • - former non-profit organizations domain, now deleted and replaced by
  • - local education authorities; since fallen out of use.
  • - the Ministry of Defence have always used for their external domain, but use on their private network. exists only as a CNAME (alias) for in the .uk zone file.
  • - National Engineering Laboratory (now TÜV NEL) - now deleted.,,,,,, and are managed by Nominet UK and except for are available for registration by the public (though they all carry various degrees of restrictions). The other second-level domains are managed by various government agencies, and generally more strongly controlled.

Accessing the .uk zone file

The information in this entry on current domains under .uk can be verified by direct examination of the .uk zone file, which is open to ordinary DNS transfer using AXFR as an intended policy of Nominet UK.

Allocation of domain names

Allocations are on a strict first-come, first-served basis to qualified applicants. There are no territorial restrictions: applicants need not have any connection to the UK. is by far the most used of the domains, followed by and are only rarely used.

The intended restriction of to companies is purely nominal; in practice it is open to any and all applicants. Likewise, whilst is for organizations, there are no restrictions on registering domains. While originally had no restrictions on registrants it has since been tightened up to require registrants to be natural persons (i.e. not companies, etc).

However, registrants in must be, and remain, private limited companies incorporated under the UK Companies Acts. In addition, names can only be registered if they correspond (in accordance with the algorithm in the rules of registration) with the exact company name, as recorded at the companies registry at Companies House. The same conditions apply for, but for public limited companies. Neither of these domains are widely used. is more open, but the Nominet regulations still mean that a registrant must be an ISP, or a similar body, and that the domain is not used for providing services to end-users., however, is limited solely to domains operated by Nominet. domains are intended for the use of higher education institutions (beyond compulsory education age), and are also used by some academic support bodies such as the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (, public research establishments, and learned societies such as the Royal Society ( Primary and secondary education uses

Unusually, domains are allocated at the fourth level, with the third level being taken up by the name of the local authority (LA, previously LEA or Local Education Authority) e.g. For example, The Campion School in Hornchurch has the domain name [4], and West Exe Technology College in Exeter has the domain name Previously applications were made in the normal way, but after Nominet came to an arrangement with the education authorities, one domain per school was issued automatically.

See also

External links


  1. ^
  2. ^ (German) DENIC eG - Comparison of international Domain Numbers
  3. ^ The registration process and a list of domain names for the domain was released by the National Policing Improvement Agency under a Freedom of Information request on 10 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Campion School Havering". Archived from the original on 2009-06-01.,5hDNCEOm6. Retrieved 2009-05-30. 


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also UK, uK, and ük



Wikipedia has an article on:


. + ISO 3166-1 country code for United Kingdom, uk.



  1. The ccTLD for United Kingdom (code "exceptionally reserved" by ISO 3166-1) (see also .gb) as assigned by the IANA.

Country code top-level domains
Active:  .ac  .ad  .ae  .af  .ag  .ai  .al  .am  .an  .ao  .aq  .ar  .as  .at  .au  .aw  .ax  .az  .ba  .bb  .bd  .be  .bf  .bg  .bh  .bi  .bj  .bm  .bn  .bo  .br  .bs  .bt  .bw  .by  .bz  .ca  .cc  .cd  .cf  .cg  .ch  .ci  .ck  .cl  .cm  .cn  .co  .cr  .cu  .cv  .cx  .cy  .cz  .de  .dj  .dk  .dm  .do  .dz  .ec  .ee  .eg  .er  .es  .et  .eu  .fi  .fj  .fk  .fm  .fo  .fr  .ga  .gd  .ge  .gf  .gg  .gh  .gi  .gl  .gm  .gn  .gp  .gq  .gr  .gs  .gt  .gu  .gw  .gy  .hk  .hm  .hn  .hr  .ht  .hu  .id  .ie  .il  .im  .in  .io  .iq  .ir  .is  .it  .je  .jm  .jo  .jp  .ke  .kg  .kh  .ki  .km  .kn  .kp  .kr  .kw  .ky  .kz  .la  .lb  .lc  .li  .lk  .lr  .ls  .lt  .lu  .lv  .ly  .ma  .mc  .md  .me  .mg  .mh  .mk  .ml  .mm  .mn  .mo  .mp  .mq  .mr  .ms  .mt  .mu  .mv  .mw  .mx  .my  .mz  .na  .nc  .ne  .nf  .ng  .ni  .nl  .no  .np  .nr  .nu  .nz  .om  .pa  .pe  .pf  .pg  .ph  .pk  .pl  .pn  .pr  .ps  .pt  .pw  .py  .qa  .re  .ro  .rs  .ru  .rw  .sa  .sb  .sc  .sd  .se  .sg  .sh  .si  .sk  .sl  .sm  .sn  .sr  .st  .su  .sv  .sy  .sz  .tc  .td  .tf  .tg  .th  .tj  .tk  .tl  .tm  .tn  .to  .tr  .tt  .tv  .tw  .tz  .ua  .ug  .uk  .us  .uy  .uz  .va  .vc  .ve  .vg  .vi  .vn  .vu  .wf  .ws  .ye  .za  .zm  .zw

Reserved/unassigned:  .um  .bl  .eh  .mf       Allocated/unused:  .bv  .gb  .pm  .sj  .so  .yt       Phaseout:  .tp  .yu       Deleted/retired:  .bu  .cs  .dd .zr

See also: Generic top-level domains

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