Support – Buying your domain

Have a question about setting up your own website? Want more information about a .UK domain? Not sure what to do next?

Below are some common support questions along with some handy articles and guides.

A domain name is the name people use to find your website online.

All computers connected to the Internet have unique numerical addresses, a bit like international phone numbers. These are called IP addresses.

When you set up a website, a brand new IP address will be created. It’s a lot easier to remember names than a long string of numbers, so people will register a domain name which can act as an online address in the form of a URL. This can be used in place of your IP address.

For example, our domain name is

The Domain Name System (DNS) will store your IP address and domain name, so that anyone who searches for your domain name on the Internet will be sent to your URL.

Our URL is

Domain names are also used in email addresses so customers can easily contact you through a professional, trusted and recognised address that matches your website.

We’ve explained what a domain name is in more detail in our blog here.

Operating at the heart of the internet infrastructure, Nominet is the proud guardian of the .UK domain name registry, protecting and connecting over 10 million .UK domain names for over 25 years. Maintaining 100% uptime since inception, our critical national infrastructure supports the UK’s online economy, connecting .UK, .cymru and .wales.

Our social impact programme aims to improve the lives of one million young people, providing support and opportunities to tackle some of the most important digital issues facing young people in the UK today. Nominet is driven by a commitment to use technology to improve connectivity, security and inclusivity online.

Having a website isn’t just about selling online, it’s about helping more customers find you over your competitors. Being online offers lots of exciting opportunities and allows you to maximise customer relationships and strengthen brand awareness. We’ve produced a handy guide that takes you through the benefits of having a website and the easy steps to get started.

There are four main .UK domain endings (also known as top-level domains) for you to choose from within the .UK domain family. The choice will largely come down to the purpose of your website, and availability of your desired domain name.

  • is the most established of our domains and an ideal choice for businesses wanting something familiar and trusted.
  • .uk is punchy and very versatile. Consider .uk if you’re looking to move your business online, start a new venture, or create a portfolio.
  • is perfect if you’re looking for an online home for a charity, club, or not-for-profit organisation.
  • is a great choice if you’re looking to build a site that’s all about you. This might be an online CV, blog, or personal branding site.

Find out more about which domain ending is right for you.

We also have a whole page dedicated to helping you choose the perfect domain name here. When you’ve decided on a domain name that you like, you need to check that it isn’t already registered by another user. This is really easy to do using our domain name search tool.

Having a .UK domain is a great choice for so many reasons. We’ve listed a few them below:

  • .UK domains add local relevance to your online identity. Users, and customers, will immediately be able to see that you’re a UK brand
  • .UK domains may rank higher for searches made in the UK
  • When buying online, 70% of people prefer to click on a .UK domain*
  • 91% people associated with safety*

*Trust & Awareness Research 2021, conducted by Yonder on behalf of Nominet

‘Registrars’ are the online retailers you can buy your domain name from. The organisation (registrar) essentially reserves the domain name for you, from us, until you tell your registrar you no longer want it. By doing so, you secure your domain name and no-one else can register it or use it for their website or email.

There are thousands of registrars to choose from, offering a range of different services.

While we cannot recommend one registrar over another, we have put together a page with advice on choosing a registrar that’s right for you. Or you can visit our domain search tool to find a registrar.


The first step is making sure that your domain name is available. You can do so with our domain search tool.

We recommend that you register your domain name through a registrar. When you search for a domain, we’ll provide you with links to registrars through whom you’ll be able to purchase the domain.

In addition to registering the domain name, most registrars will offer services such as hosting your website, and creating email addresses. But it’s important to know that you don’t have to host your website with your registrar if you don’t want to.

For more information, take a look at our page on choosing a registrar.

If the domain name you want has already been registered by someone else, you have a couple of options (other than coming up with another domain name).

You can use the WHOIS lookup tool to find out who currently owns that domain, and then get in touch with an offer to purchase the domain from them. Make sure you do your research first to determine whether the domain name is currently being used, and if it has an associated brand identity. This will influence whether the owner will be open to selling and how much for.

If you feel you have a right to the domain, potentially through a registered Trade Mark or contract agreement, then you can use our Dispute Resolution Service. You can find more information on this service on the Nominet website.

.UK domains can be registered for between 1 and 10 years at a time. Speak to your registrar for advice on what would best suit your needs.

If you want to keep using your domain, you’ll need to renew your domain before it expires. This will mean it remains yours for as long as you want, and no one else will be able to register it.

There are thousands of hosting companies to choose from, and on a top level they offer a very similar service. Similar to mobile phone companies, there are different tariffs available depending on your needs.

Differences between web hosts and tariffs might include bandwidth and storage requirements, data center location, shared vs dedicated hosting, and access to customer support. UK-based company, Venture Harbour, explains these considerations in more depth in their web host guide.

If you start a domain search you’ll find a list of different companies that you can host your domain with.

You enter into a contract with your registrar, and this contract incorporates Nominet’s terms and conditions. See the terms and conditions for domain registrations to find out more.

If our online ‘Help Centre’ doesn’t have the answer you are looking for, you can contact our dedicated UK based support team for more assistance.

on +44 (0)1865 332244

or send an email to [email protected]

Our business hours are Monday – Friday, 08:00 – 18:00 UK time.
Please note our offices are closed on UK bank holidays.

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