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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 14:55 GMT
Renew or lose

Up until now, anyone with a website address ending in dot uk has been able to hang onto it indefinitely.

If for any reason the business stopped trading, or an individual no longer used the site, their web address would just hang around in the internet ether, clogging up the system.

But as of November 1st, owners of these website addresses will need to be much more proactive.

If they don't actively re-register their address ownership every two years, they'll lose it - and someone else can snap it up.

Improved

This is because of a new policy being enforced by Nominet UK, which is the national registry for all domain names ending in dot uk.

It does not regulate the domain name industry, nor does it offer registration services for any domain names other than dot uk.

It says the new rule is necessary to tidy up the current system, and customers have been asking for something to be done for some time.

"In response to people that are after names that are not renewed or are no longer wanted, we've improved our processes to make sure that names are released much mnore speedily back into the pool for other people to register." says Lesley Cowley, managing director of Nominet UK.

Going, going, gone

What will happen, is that owners will get a reminder to re-register their domain name and pay for their next two years.

If payment is not received within 30 days of that reminder, then a 60 day countdown will kick in.

During that 60 day period, the website address in question will not work - and if there is no payment by the 60th day, the address will be gone.

Lesley also assures people, that "You will be able to renew your dot uk domain name up to six months in advance of the expiry date, so people who are worried about maintaining their internet presence can now guarantee that their domain name is renewed."

Cost

The domain names that this affects are:

  • .co.uk for commercial enterprises
  • .me.uk for personal domains
  • .org.uk for non-commercial organisations
  • .plc.uk and .ltd.uk for registered company names only
  • .net.uk for internet service providers (ISPs)
  • .sch.uk for schools

    The cost of registering your domain name can vary depending which provider you use, but in general it is not too expensive.

    You will need to register for for two years, which costs:

  • 18.00 www.fast-name.co.uk
  • 9.95 www.cheapdomains.uk.com
  • 9.50 www.easyspace.com
  • 7.50 www.lowcostnames.co.uk
  • 5.90 www.ukreg.com
  • 3.98 www.oneandone.co.uk



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