.uk is the Internet country code top-level domain ( ccTLD
) for the United Kingdom . Today it is the fifth popular top-level domain worldwide
(after .com , .de , .net and .cn ), with over 6 million registrations.
The use of .uk domain names rather than .gb domain names 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.
It is prohibited to register a domain name directly under .uk (such as internet.uk ) and a second-level domain must be used (such as internet.co.uk ).
However, some domains delegated before the creation of Nominet UK remain. Examples
include parliament.uk ( Parliament ) and nhs.uk ( The National
Health Service ). 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 uk domain name with Nominet UK but it
is faster and cheaper to do it via a Nominet tag holder.
- .ac.uk - academic.
- .co.uk - commercial/general
- .gov.uk - government (central and local)
- .ltd.uk - limited companies
- .me.uk - personal
- .mod.uk - Ministry of Defence and HM Forces public sites
- .net.uk - ISPs and network companies
- .nic.uk - network use only
- .nhs.uk - National Health Service institutions
- .org.uk - non-profit organisations
- .plc.uk - public limited companies
- .police.uk - police forces
- .sch.uk - schools, primary and secondary education
.co.uk, .ltd.uk, .me.uk, .net.uk, .nic.uk, .org.uk, .plc.uk and .sch.uk are
managed by Nominet UK and except for .nic.uk are available for registration
by the public. The other second-level domains are managed by various government
agencies, and generally more strongly controlled. 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 .
.co.uk domain names are by far the most used of the domains, followed by .org.uk.
.plc.uk and .ltd.uk are only rarely used.
The intended restriction of .co.uk domain names to companies is purely nominal;
in practice it is open to any and all applicants. Likewise, whilst .org.uk is
for organisations, there are no restrictions on registering domains. While .me.uk
originally had no restrictions on registrants it has since been tightened up
to require registrants to be natural persons (i.e. not companies, etc).
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