Gone are the days when the Internet consisted solely of websites with domain names ending '.com', '.net' or '.org'. At the time of this article going to press there were around 1,900 successful applications for new gtlds (generic top level domains) with over 700 already online. These cover a wide range of areas including geographic location (i.e. ".london") to specific jobs and areas of employment (i.e. '.army') to the downright bizarre (i.e. '.sucks'). One of the more successful of these has been '.uk'.
'.uk' domains were introduced in March of 2012 as a successor to the more cumbersome, '.co.uk' domains that are more related to business and industry. The suffix is "shorter and sharper" and can be used by any organization. After '.com', '.de' and '.net', they are the fourth most successful domain name suffix globally, with over 10 million registrations. While the registration process is not dissimilar to that of any other domain name, there seems to be a level of confusion regarding these particular domains.
If you already registered a '.co.uk' name, starting 10 June 2014 you should have been given the first choice of registering an equivalent domain with the new '.uk' extension. If, however, this is the first time you have ventured in the world of '.uk' domains, your first step will be to choose a domain name.
Preferably a domain name should be something short and meaningful that's easy to remember, or something that reflects your area of interest or particular business well, or even your business or organization's name. Then, of course, you need to register the domain, and that really is going to start with a choice of which registrar to use.
There are plenty of domain registrars to choose from, but the one you choose should probably be a member of Nominet UK - the '.uk' domain name registry. Non-profit company Nominet has a range of domain registrar members. Some of these registrars offer services directly to the public, while others operate through resellers.
Nominet does not recommend any particular registrar over another, but it has laid down a number of guidelines on how to choose a registrar. In essence they recommend looking for a registrar that offers the range of services you need from a domain name provider.
Nominet advises that "the cheapest price is not necessarily the best deal" and that people buying domains should check registrar's contracts for 'hidden' charges. Specifically, they recommend asking for copies of a registrar's 'Terms and Conditions' before making a decision on which provider to use. Specifically, a registrant should ensure that when the registration takes place it will be made under his or her name and not that of the provider or any other 'third party'. They also recommending establishing any restrictions on or costs related to transferring a domain to another provider. In addition, they suggest getting advice from people who have previously used a registrar's services and establishing whether a registrar has "has signed up" to any industry codes of conduct.
Once you have found the domain name your require, and found the registrar you wish to use, you can register the domain for a period of between one and ten years. Essentially, it will simply be a matter of using a credit card to make a payment via the registrar's website, or making a bank transfer if you are in the same country as a provider. Once registered, you will need to use the registrar's interface to point the domain's DNS record at the web hosting service you are utilizing, and then upload your website. At that point your website will be operational under your new '.uk' domain.