Guide to UK domain registration
We will discuss the most common mistakes non-expert business owners make during domain registration, and the potential pitfalls to avoid.
Summary of this article:
- Domain registration mistakes; →
- Pitfalls to avoid; →
- Domain name related scams; →
- If you already have a .co.uk domain; →
- Why UK domain for a UK based business; →
- Why is it recommended to choose different providers for domain name registration and web hosting? →
- What you can do if you're unable to control your UK domain name. →
Typical domain registration mistakes by business owners
Issues with domain ownership:
We have seen numerous cases where our clients asked their former web designers to register their domains. Unfortunately, the domains were not registered under the clients' business names, which led to many problems later on. An extreme example of this occurred when a web design company dissolved in the meantime. In such cases, it becomes even more difficult to recover the domain. Of course, there are ways to do this, but if possible, this situation should be avoided when registering a domain.
Neglecting domain renewal:
Forgetting to renew your domain can result in losing ownership, causing your website to go offline and potentially damaging your business reputation. To prevent this, keep track of your domain's expiration date and enable auto-renewal with your domain registrar.
Choosing an overly complicated domain name:
A domain name should be short, memorable, and easy to spell. Avoid using hyphens, numbers, or unusual spellings, as these can make it difficult for customers to find your website.
Ignoring trademark laws:
Registering a domain that infringes on an existing trademark can lead to legal disputes and damage to your business reputation. Before registering a domain, conduct a trademark search to ensure that you're not violating any existing trademarks.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Free domain for a specific time period:
Some web registrar companies may offer a free domain registration for a limited time as part of their package. While this may seem like a good deal initially, it's important to consider the long-term costs and potential issues associated with this type of offer. Once the free period ends, you may be charged a higher renewal fee.
Registering only one domain extension:
To protect your brand, consider registering multiple domain extensions (.co.uk, .uk, .com, etc.). This prevents competitors from registering similar domains and helps ensure your customers can find your website easily. You may think that your company is small and therefore this isn't important to you. You may be right sometimes, but you should be aware of this option.
Domain name related scams:
Beware of unsolicited offers to register or renew your domain at discounted rates, as these may be scams designed to steal your domain or charge you exorbitant fees. Always use a reputable domain registrar and be cautious of any suspicious offers.
The opposite is true when you get inquiries that someone has tried to seize your domain name somewhere in the Far East, e.g. with a "cn" domain extension. These inquiries are mostly deceptive and should not be dealt with unless you really want to expand your business in that country later. These offers are usually overpriced and based on fear mongering.
In addition, be aware that the number of domain extensions available is over 1500, so it's obviously unlikely that you can cover all the domain extensions that exist.
The advantage of already owning the .co.uk domain
- Rights of registration:
Nominet, the organization responsible for managing the .uk domain namespace, introduced the .uk domain extension in 2014. As part of the launch, they offered a reservation period for existing .co.uk domain holders to claim their matching .uk domain names. While the initial reservation period has passed, if you registered your .co.uk domain before October 28, 2013, and it has been continuously registered since then, you may still have exclusive rights to register the corresponding .uk domain. This makes it much easier for you to secure the .uk version of your domain name without worrying about competition from other businesses.
- Streamlined registration process:
Since you already have an existing relationship with your domain registrar, registering the .uk version of your domain name can be a more straightforward process. Your registrar will already have your contact information and payment details on file, which can help expedite the registration process.
Why UK Domain for UK Businesses?
Local trust and credibility:
Having a UK domain, such as a .co.uk or .uk, signals to your audience that your business is based in the UK. This can help establish trust and credibility with your target audience, making them more likely to choose your products or services over competitors.
Improved search engine visibility:
UK domains can help improve your search engine ranking for searches performed in the United Kingdom, making it easier for potential customers to find your business online.
Availability of domain names:
There's a higher chance of securing your desired domain name when you opt for a .co.uk or .uk domain, as they are less saturated than the more common .com domains.
Why choosing different providers for domain name registration and web hosting is a smart move?
Domain registrars and web hosting providers have different core competencies. Domain registrars specialize in registering and managing domain names, while web hosting providers focus on providing server space and resources to host your website. By choosing separate providers, you can benefit from their respective areas of expertise, ensuring that both your domain registration and hosting are handled by professionals who are well-versed in their fields.
Quality of service:
Domain registrars don't always provide high-quality web hosting services, mainly because their server resources can be overloaded. When server resources are stretched thin, it can negatively impact website performance, speed, and uptime. By selecting a dedicated web hosting provider, you can access a wider range of hosting plans and features, allowing you to choose the one that best meets your needs and budget, and ensuring optimal resource allocation for your website.
When you have separate providers for domain registration and web hosting, you can take advantage of specialized customer support for each service. This means that if you encounter issues with your domain name or hosting, you can reach out to the respective provider's support team for expert assistance. In contrast, when you use a single provider for both services, you may not receive the same level of specialized support.
Using different providers for domain registration and web hosting gives you the flexibility to change hosting providers without impacting your domain name. If you're unhappy with your hosting service, you can easily switch to a different provider while retaining your domain. On the other hand, if you have registered your domain through your web host, transferring your domain to a new provider can be more complicated and time-consuming.
By keeping your domain registration and hosting services separate, you can minimize the risk of losing access to both services in case of provider-related issues. For instance, if your web hosting provider goes out of business or faces technical problems, your domain name will still be safe with your domain registrar.
What to do if you're unable to control your UK domain name
Contact your domain registrar:
Reach out to the company with which you registered your domain name, and explain the issue you're facing. They may be able to provide assistance or guidance on how to regain control of your domain. Ensure you have your account information, such as login details and registration emails, readily available to verify your identity.
As the organization responsible for managing .uk domain names, Nominet can assist in resolving disputes and issues related to domain ownership. Visit their website (https://www.nominet.uk) and review their dispute resolution service, which provides guidance on how to proceed with domain-related problems. You may need to file a formal complaint or use their dispute resolution service if your issue remains unresolved.
Seek legal advice:
If you believe your domain name has been hijacked or registered by someone else without your consent, consult with a legal professional experienced in intellectual property and domain disputes. They can provide guidance on your rights and the appropriate steps to take in order to reclaim your domain.
Register an alternative domain:
If you're unable to regain control of your original domain, consider registering an alternative domain with a different extension or a slightly modified name. While not ideal, this can allow you to maintain an online presence and minimize disruption to your business.
Registering a UK domain for your business is an important step towards building a strong online presence. By being aware of common mistakes and potential pitfalls, you can make informed decisions that will protect your brand and help your business thrive in the digital landscape. Always choose a reputable domain registrar, keep track of renewal dates, and opt for a clear and memorable domain name.