There are conditions and conventions attached to the .gov.uk domain and the following paragraphs are intended to assist you in choosing a name and the conditions attached to the use of that name.
a. The applications (Web, email, etc) using a .gov.uk domain name must comply with current UK legislation and support channels that provide accessibility for disabled people, members of ethnic minorities and those at risk of social/digital exclusion. Legislation includes Copyright, Data Protection Act and Disability Discrimination Act. Abuse of will result in the name being withdrawn.
b. The acceptance of the name is conditional on that name being used specifically and exclusively for the organisation on whose behalf it is registered. The Naming and Approvals Committee expects that the use of an approved domain name on a web server will lead directly to the home page for that organisation and not to that of its ISP/hosting service or any other agent, ie, a page on a non-public sector domain. Abuse of this principle will result in the name being withdrawn. See Appendix A. Code of Practice for withdrawal of a .gov.uk name.
Note: In practice this means that if you have a .gov.uk domain name it should be your principal domain name and not used simply as a redirect to a non–public sector domain (eg, .co.uk, .org.uk, .info, .com). Of course the protective registration of a name in other Top Level and Second Level Domains that redirects to your .gov.uk name is common and the accepted practice.
c. When you are using a .gov.uk domain name to deliver a web presence you are reminded that websites should comply with the e-Government Interoperability Framework, the Guidelines for UK Government websites and Framework for Local Government particularly on such issues as use of metadata, PICS labelling, accessibility and security.
d. Having a .gov.uk domain name means you (the Registrant) have exclusive right to its use. Your organisation does not own the domain name outright, periodical renewals have to be undertaken to retain the right to use it.
e. If after registration the original status of your organisation or project changes to, for example, charity, voluntary or commercial status, then your eligibility for a .gov.uk address ceases. You must inform us at email@example.com and negotiate a timescale for termination of the name.
f. Protectively marked information must not be published under your domain name.
g. A registration fee is levied on your Internet Service Provider. This covers a period of two years, after which a renewal fee is payable for each subsequent two year period.
h. Registering a domain name does not mean that it is automatically a trademark. Refer to the Patents Office website at
i. When your website goes live you must inform the .gov.uk Naming and Approvals Committee directly by email to firstname.lastname@example.org confirming (a) the .gov.uk URL of your home page, (b) the date that it went live as a public website, and (c) confirm that your website complies with and will continue to comply with the accessibility recommendation for public sector sites, that is, W3C WAI Level AA. Failure to comply with this may result in the name being withdrawn.
j. It is recommended the managers of individual .gov.uk domain names establish and maintain a generic website team email address, for example:
webmaster@****.gov.uk or where appropriate.
220.127.116.11 Withdrawal of a .gov.uk name
The following summarises conditions that may result in withdrawal of a .gov.uk domain name. See Appendix A. Code of Practice for withdrawal of a .gov.uk name.
a. Non-conformance with the principle and practice of the rules and conditions.
b. Persistent failure to maintain an accessible and functional website. For example, obsolete and de-commissioned domains – where there is persistent delivery of, for example, a code 404 page or a not found during the DNS lookup.
c. Failure to renew the name.
d. Change of status of the organisation or project that the domain name represents or change of status of the domain name owner. If you inform us at email@example.com a suitable timescale for withdrawal can be negotiated.
18.104.22.168 Choosing a .gov.uk name
22.214.171.124.1 The principles
This summarises, for e-communicators, web managers, web developers, corporate branding designers etc, the principles for determining what name your organisation may adopt:
a. Registration criteria
Domain names must:
b. Internationalised Domain Names are currently not supported and xn- - names are not registerable. Where names contain letters that cannot be reproduced in standard ASCII – they can be reproduced by conventionally accepted spelling.
c Project names may be registered where they are genuinely pan-departmental or of national significance, for example to facilitate ‘joined-up government’ and where considered unsuitable as a sub-domain of the sponsoring or parent body (refer to paragraph 126.96.36.199).
d. Generic names should be avoided for local, regional or intradepartmental initiatives, and used only for genuinely pan-governmental activities sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Office or the Cabinet Office.
e. Registered trademarks, trade names and third-party business names can sometimes mistakenly be used as generic terms. Apart from giving unnecessary publicity there is a risk of it being illegal. Where a trade name, trademark or business name is to be used then written proof of your authority to use the name or mark must be submitted. It may be useful to check the searchable Register of trademarks registered by the UK Patent Office and the searchable Company Names Index from Companies House:
f. Reserved names – to reduce risk of public confusion the Naming and Approvals Committee has reserved some names and expressions for specific use. A copy of the current list is available on email request to – firstname.lastname@example.org
g. Email use only – if the domain name is to be used only for an email system you must say so within your application.
h. Typosquatting – is a name infringement that relies upon the common misspelling of your domain name to, for example, directs users to an alternative or inappropriate website or indeed simply delivers an error page. In maintaining the integrity of government information and websites the proactive registering of common misspellings of your key ‘names’ is recommended. Such domain registrations must redirect to your primary .gov.uk home page. This is also a useful practice when dealing with 'machinery of government' changes to names and organisations.
i. Using other languages – the use in a domain name of a transliteration of an ethnic minority language must be avoided. Refer to the Guidelines for UK government websites – section 2.7 Use of other languages
188.8.131.52.2 Using abbreviations
Three and four letter abbreviations or acronyms (TLAs/FLAs) will generally be considered only if:
The .gov.uk Naming and Approvals Committee will be the final arbiter of what is considered to be an acceptable TLA/FLA.
184.108.40.206.3 Naming conventions
Requests for registration are required to observe the following conventions:
a. Scotland. Civil Service departments, agencies and services within Scotland, frequently mirror national departments and services, eg, in ‘Whitehall’. In order to minimise the risk of confusion to the public and to avoid inadvertent masquerading then geographic clarification must be considered.
For example: www.gaidhealtachd.gov.uk
b. Northern Ireland. Civil Service departments and agencies within Northern Ireland, frequently mirror departments and services, eg, in ‘Whitehall’, are required to use a geographic/regional indicator, for example this suffix (with or without the hyphen) ‘–ni’.
For example: www.niproperty.gov.uk
c. Wales. Domain names should be in English. In order to minimise the risk of confusion and to avoid inadvertent masquerading then geographic clarification must be considered by departments, councils and agencies providing a service to the public in Wales.
For example: www.welshhousing.gov.uk
d. Local authorities within the UK. Local authorities generally use the format ‘area.gov.uk’, unless there is the possibility of confusion with another authority or service (for example, national, devolved, regional, county or city) then geographic clarification will be necessary.
For example: www.anyriver.gov.uk
For example: www.norfolkparishes.gov.uk
For example: www.anyrivertowncouncil.gov.uk
For example: www.anyriverparishcouncil.gov.uk
220.127.116.11.4 Using suffixes
Certain types of public sector organisations are required to use a suffix (unless the full title is used) (with or without the hyphen). These are:
18.104.22.168.5 Using prefixes
Certain types of public sector organisations are required to use a prefix (unless the full title is used). These are: