Whats the difference between .UK and .co.uk

On the 10th June 2014, Nominet launched a new shorter .UK domain. Into the UK domain family. So in addition to your .co.uk, .org.uk etc, you can also register the .UK version of your domain name. Nominet decided that registrants of existing .co.uk domains, would be given five years to decide whether they wanted the corresponding .uk domain. Therefore, up until the 25th June 2019 you couldn’t register the .UK version of a domain if the co.uk version had been registered before midnight on 28th October 2013. Known as Grandfathering, this allowed owners of existing .co.uk domains time to decide whether they wanted to keep the .UK version of their domain.

What is the difference between .UK and a CO.UK?

If you are searching for a domain name will often see that the .UK version is available to register whilst the .co.uk may be taken. But what is the difference between a .UK and a CO.UK?

The real answer is no significant difference. The .UK was launched to expand the UK domain registration options, allowing for new and shorter options for those seeking a UK domain name. Partly in reaction to the opening up and usage of gTLD (short for generic top-level domain), the .UK domain was released to go in line with the changing use of domain names. The .UK domain is ideal for those looking to register a UK based domain name a punchy, very versatile alternative to the options that were currently available.

Is a co.uk domain the same as a .UK?

Both the .co.uk and .UK are official domain name extensions for the UK. Therefore you can own the domain name Yourwebsite.co.uk or Yourwebsite.uk, or both if you wish. 

Prior to 2014, (with a few exceptions) you could only register one of the second-level UK domains such as .co.uk, .ltd.uk, org.uk, me.uk and so on. 

Now that you can register a UK domain directly under .UK, you are no longer required to have the second-level part of the domain if you choose.

Why are so many .UK domains available?

The .UK is newer, therefore, less of them have been registered. Currently .co.uk and .com are still generally the first choice when choosing to register a domain name.

So which domain extension should I register?

If you like the short punchiness of the .UK its definitely a winner. However, many still prefer the .co.uk as their first choice. As it’s more established so more recognisable. Therefore those creating a serious business website than registering all the major extensions would the ideal choice:




The .UK will gain momentum as more people register and promote the .UK version so ensuring that you have all options covered allows you to future proof your site. In fact, many companies are changing their sites already. Heart Internet already redirects the .co.uk of their site to the .UK you can read their reasons for making the move to the .UK domain.

Does this mean more expense for .co.uk domain owners?

Before, anyone that registered a co.uk domain name before the 10th June 2014 will have their domain name reserved for free up until the 25th June, 2019. After this point the .UK versions will available for anyone to register. If you want to protect your brand identity this will mean potentially registering the .UK version of your domain name. This will lead to additional expenses for website owners.

How do I register the .UK version of my co.uk domain?

As of Tuesday, 25th June 2019 for those wishing to register a .UK domain name can do so using any domain name registration service that offers .UK domain name registration. Before this date, there was a ‘grace’ period for anyone that had registered the .co.uk version before midnight on the 28th October 2013.  

Tip : If you are looking register a .UK domain name you can compare .UK domain registration services using our handy tool.

I registered my .co.uk domain before 10th June 2014, will it still be reserved?

If you registered your domain name before 10th June 2014, unfortunately, it will no longer be reserved. Therefore it will be open for anyone wishing to register. 

What are the benefits of a .UK domain?

There are numerous reasons why you may want to opt for a .UK domain over other extensions.

  • You may wish to build UK focused branding that your audience will identify with.
  • Protect your online identity from competitors or domain squatters
  • You may prefer the clean, short punchiness of the .UK domain


Whatever you choose a .UK or CO.UK, both will become and remain commonplace in the UK web space. So choosing which one to opt for is down to your personal preference and how you want to brand your website and business.

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4 thoughts on “Whats the difference between .UK and .co.uk”

  1. It’s funny how domain sellers are pushing .uk as the all new, super-popular, punchy, more memorable UK domain, yet they DON’T USE IT THEMSELVES!! They are still using .co.uk for their own website!!

    • @Peter it’s because changing or migrating domain brings in a lot of problems. For example, the emails that they were using for example peter@hostfind.co.uk not they will have to migrate to peter@hostfind.uk or redirect the new emails to their old email.

      – Plus a lot of issues and work are required for domain rebranding.
      – Also there is the SEO fluctuations with a domain migration. If domain migration is done incorrectly then the domain migration could backfire


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