Domainmonster.com Domain Editorials
Nominet and the .uk TLD
Nominet UK is the registry of the ".uk" country-code top-level domain (ccTLD). It was founded in 1996, to replace the original registry, the "Naming Committee", which was unable to cope with the increasing demand for Domain Names. It is a non-profit company limited by guarantee. With the start of Nominet UK's authority as the .uk registry, fees for registering and renewing .uk domain names were introduced, to the chagrin of some .uk domain name owners.
Nominet manages a variety of second-level domains, including .co.uk, .net.uk and .org.uk. However, there are also several second-level .uk domains which it is not responsible for, including .gov.uk domains (which can only be registered by government bodies) or .ac.uk domains (which are only available to UK academic organisations).
One of Nominet's responsibilities is to arbitrate disputes over domain names due to trade mark infringement or alleged theft. Nominet itself does not usually administrate the .uk Whois database or register domain names itself; while it is possible to directly register a domain name with Nominet, the task is usually left to Nominet-accredited registrars such as DomainMonster.com, who then pay the registration fee to Nominet on the registrant's behalf. Registering a domain name through a registrar is faster and cheaper than going direct to Nominet.
Initially, the .uk ccTLD was intended to be replaced by .gb, but the use of .uk has now become entrenched and is unlikely ever to change. It is prohibited to register a domain name directly under .uk; a second-level domain must be used, as in ".co.uk". You do not need to have any connection with the United Kingdom to register a .uk domain name.
By Natalie Catchpole