Are you ditching .co.uk?

Britain is getting a new national web address of ‘.uk’ from today in what is being described as the biggest shake-up in the internet for 30 years.

Typing .co.uk can be such a hassle sometimes, so we can now thank the internet infrastructure gods for the arrival of the .uk web domain.

The change means businesses and individuals can choose to drop the familiar ‘.co.uk’ and ‘.com’ suffixes from their web addresses in favour of the short and simple ‘.uk’.

In launching a .uk generic top level domain, the UK becomes the last European county — including Germany (.de) and France (.fr) to offer a more succinct URL that ditches the “.co”.

So now the British will be able to demonstrate their national affiliation with ‘.uk’.

If you aren’t already convinced, Nominet has wheeled out Stephen Fry to endorse the new domain. He said in a statement:

“Three whole keystrokes. It doesn’t stack up to much when compared to other howling injustices in the world. The length of time poor students and tourists have to queue to get an Abercrombie and Fitch polo shirt for example, but nonetheless it has been a nuisance these twenty years or so.” He’s put his money where his mouth is with stephenfry.uk.

The introduction of ‘.uk’ is one of a number of new domain name options that have become available with a major shake-up in the web address system, which include ‘.london’, ‘.bbc’, ‘.cymru’ and ‘.company’.

Nominet is rolling out the world’s largest welcome sign – reading ‘welcometothe.uk’ – at Heathrow airport to mark what it claims is the biggest change to the UK internet infrastructure since it began.

welcome to the uk

Visible from as high as 35,000 feet, and measuring nearly 10,000 square feet, the welcome sign is positioned on the approach to the main runway at London Heathrow airport, to greet those arriving.

Research by Nominet found three quarters of British internet users prefer sites ending in ‘.uk’ when searching or buying online. Some 93 per cent preferred the short and simple ‘.uk’ to other options.

Customers who already have an address that uses either .co.uk or .org.uk will be able to have first dibs on the shorter equivalent of their URL. There will be a five-year free reservation period to allow businesses to take up the new domain name at a convenient time — for example, when the next stationery change is due.

People can sign up for the new ‘.uk’ domains through one of a number of domain name registrars, alongside existing domains such as .co.uk or .org.uk. The wholesale price is the same as for a ‘.co.uk’ at £5 for two years.

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