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Register a .gov.uk Domain Name
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Register a .gov.uk domain name

If you know the rules (see below) for a .gov.uk domain name skip to the form for registering your chosen .gov.uk domain name. If you know the rules but still need advice, phone us on 01959 533 551 remembering that you must be the clerk if you are registering a .gov.uk domain name for a parish council.

.gov.wales or .llyw.cymru Domain Registration

These are available from January 2016. In the short term (until we create a unique Welsh page) use the form on this page to make a request to register a .gov.wales or a .llyw.cymru domain name. The rules are similar to .gov.uk domain names but HCI Data Ltd will help you through the process.

.gov.uk Domain Registration

Some of the information that follows is a brief summary of web pages from the Cabinet Office, including:

Who is Eligible to Register a .gov.uk Domain Name?

The only organisations which can register a .gov.uk domain name are:

  • UK government and devolved administration departments and agencies
  • local and regional government bodies, including town councils, parish councils and community councils
  • other associated and NDPB organisations and projects.

Making an Application to Register a .gov.uk Domain Name

  1. Review the .gov.uk domain naming conventions
    1. Group of Parish and Town Councils
    2. Individual Town Councils
    3. Individual English Parish Councils
    4. Individual Welsh Community Councils (Cyngor Cymuned)
  2. Review the and terms and conditions for .gov.uk domains
  3. Complete an application form
  4. E-mail the application form to HCI Data Ltd
  5. Answer any queries about the application
  6. Wait for a committee to decide on whether or not to grant the .gov.uk domain name
  7. Promote your web-site

Review the .gov.uk Domain Naming Conventions

.gov.uk domain names are not automatically issued and not on a first come first served basis.

The Cabinet Office (eGovernment Unit), through the national Naming and Approvals Committee is responsible for the policy governing the .gov.uk domain and for managing the rules. The UK Education and Research Networking Association (UKERNA) administers the .gov.uk domain on behalf of the Cabinet Office, by providing the name submission, name modification, approval and registration systems, in effect the Registrar

To preserve the integrity of the .gov.uk namespace the registration and ownership of .gov.uk names is limited to:

  • local and regional government bodies (including properly constituted town, parish and community councils)
  • UK government and devolved administration departments and agencies
  • executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies and appropriate projects

You must not use a .gov.uk domain name on promotional material, printed material or other media until it has been correctly applied for and formal approval given by the .gov.uk Domain Naming and Approvals Committee.

The Committee will not be responsible for any project costs incurred by breaching this rule. Failure to secure approval prior to printing or communication errors is not a ground for appeal if the name is rejected. Project teams and their Internet Service Providers must ensure that approval is secured before authorising the use of a name.

Domain names must:

  • comply with the Guidelines for UK Government web-sites and/or the Framework for Local Government web-sites;
  • not point to anything other than your organisation's home page on the .gov.uk domain or to your home page if it is held on one of the public sector domains;
  • contain only standard ASCII alpha numeric characters A to Z; numerals 0 to 9 and/or hyphens;
  • not contain less than three characters;
  • not begin or end with a hyphen (-);
  • not coincide with Internet protocols, such as, www, ftp, dns, whois;
  • not include postal codes, or pseudo abbreviations, such as, ltd, plc, gov;
  • not contain more than 60 characters (including the .gov.uk) but excluding the prefix www;
  • not imply a national (UK-wide) activity when in reality it is focused on or limited to a regional/geographic responsibility or activity;
  • reflect the legal name or registered 'trading name' of your organisation;
  • minimise risk of confusion with similar organisations, geographic areas or similar registered names and avoid the risk of inadvertent masquerading.

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
  • www.anyriveressex.gov.uk
  • www.anyriver-essex.gov.uk

Where districts or town have the same name then county/geographic clarification is required, for example town-county.gov.uk

Where the full title is not used the following suffixes may be used (with the hyphen):

  • '-bc' Borough Council
  • '-cc' County Council
  • '-dc' District Council
  • '-mbc' Metropolitan Borough Council
  • '-ra' Regional Assembly
For example:
  • www.anyriverboroughcouncil.gov.uk
  • www.anyriver-bc.gov.uk
  • www.anyriver-essex-bc.gov.uk

Group of Parish and Town Councils

Where a domain name is to operated by a 'higher authority' for collective web-site or e-mail management of, e.g., all the parish/town councils on a county-wide or other clearly identified geographic area then the following suffix can be used 'parishes.gov.uk'. For example: www.norfolkparishes.gov.uk

Individual Town Councils

Unless the full title 'towncouncil' is used the following suffix is required with the hyphen '-tc' For example:

  • www.anyrivertowncouncil.gov.uk
  • www.anyriver-tc.gov.uk

Individual Parish Councils

Unless the full title 'parishcouncil' is used the following suffix is required with the hyphen '-pc' For example:

  • www.anyriverparishcouncil.gov.uk
  • www.anyriver-pc.gov.uk

Cyngor Cymuned (Welsh Community Council)

Unless the full title 'CommunityCouncil' is used the following suffix is required with the hyphen '-wcc' For example:

  • www.anyrivercommunitycouncil.gov.uk
  • www.anyrivercyngorcymuned.gov.uk
  • www.anyriver-wcc.gov.uk

Review the terms and conditions .gov.uk domains

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, i.e., a page on a non-public sector domain. Abuse of this principle will result in the name being withdrawn.

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.

When your web-site goes live you must inform the .gov.uk Naming and Approvals Committee directly by e-mail to naming@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk confirming

  • the .gov.uk URL of your home page
  • the date that it went live as a public web-site
  • confirm that your web-site 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.

The recommended UK Government access key standard is set out in the Cabinet Office's May 2002 Illustrated handbook for web management teams.

Complete an application form

Domain Name and Owner
requested name
.gov.wales AND .llyw.cymru
.gov.wales .llyw.cymru
[domain name requested] (examples of different styles for recently registered .gov.uk domains are HighLeghParishCouncil.gov.uk, CharltonKingsParishCouncil.gov.uk, CharlwoodParishCouncil.gov.uk, NashmillsParishCouncil.gov.uk, StantonOnTheWoldsParishCouncil.gov.uk,
KentALC.gov.uk, SeWalesConsortium.gov.uk, CPRSP.gov.uk henllys-cc.gov.wales henllys-cc.llyw.cymru )
to represent [the project, initiative or organisation for which the domain is being registered] (e.g. My Parish Council, My Community Council or Joint Board for Town Councils)
domain owner [the name of the proposed domain owner organisation] (e.g. My Parish Council). This must be the name of the organisation that will be invoiced and the name that appears on the payment cheque.
Description of Owner
type of organisation [Status of the organisation] (for example, NDPB, central government, executive agency, borough council, parish council)
organisation role and objectives [Role and objective of the organisation] (for example, Providing local services to local taxpayers)
staff status [The status of staff within the organisation] (for example, civil servants, local government officials or employees)
source of funding [The source of funding for the organisation] (for example, central taxation, CMF, council tax)
accountable to [To whom the organisation is accountable] (for example, Secretary of State, local council taxpayers)
purpose of name in detail [Purpose of domain name] for example:
  • an information web-site
  • information and e-mail system
  • a transactional web-site
  • a campaign web-site (or discussion group)
  • an educational web-site, e.g., aimed at children/schools
  • a redirect page, or a name being used for 'defensive' or 'typosquatting' and being redirect to; you must included the address to which the redirect is going
  • for e-mail purposes only.
audience [Audience of web site] (e.g. educationalist, pensioners, general public, council tax payers)
Contact Details of Owner
See HCI Data Ltd's Data Protection Policy to see how your data is used
Contact Name and Position [Name and position within the domain owner organisation of the registrant contact] (for example Mrs Dot Gov - Clerk of MyTown Town Council)
telephone For Community, Parish and Town Councils, these details must be the contact details of the clerk to the council. Other contact details (e.g. web designer) should be placed in the "Additional Information" section below.
fax (optional)
Additional Information
Notes [Additional information that may assist this application] for example:
  • URL (address) of existing web-site
  • Details of Statutory Instrument creating the government body

E-mail the application form to HCI Data Ltd

A .gov.uk domain name needs to be renewed every two years. Please see the initial cost and renewal cost of a .gov.uk domain name.

I have read and accept the Terms and Conditions
I have read and accept the initial cost and renewal cost of a .gov.uk domain name.
I have read and accept the Data Protection Policy

Answer any queries about the application

It is likely that there will be additional information before the application is processed. Any questions will be sent to the registered contact's e-mail address.

Wait for a committee to decide on whether or not to grant the .gov.uk domain name

It can take some time for the domain application to be processed by UKERNA. Please allow at least two weeks before chasing up your application.

Promote Your .gov.uk Web-site

Your organisation should consider the following additional techniques to draw visitors to the .gov.uk web-site:

  • Provide the URL on all stationery and business cards;
  • Printed versions of document should carry your appropriate URL;
  • Printed versions of documents should record the URLs of documents on your web-site;
  • Media advertising for information campaigns should carry an appropriate URL;
  • Links should be exchanged with other sites in related subjects.

Your organisation should also consider the following:

  • How to launch new web-sites, e.g., a press release;
  • Getting the site reviewed in technology, ICT supplements and other journals;
  • Advertising the site in conventional media likely to be seen or read by your target audience;
  • Putting the web address on stationary such as:
    • Letters
    • Compliment Slips
    • Business Cards
    • Invoices
    • Receipts
  • Mentioning the web address on the telephone:
    • Answering Machine Message
    • On-Hold message
  • Fax cover page
  • Snail-Mail
    • Put your web address on the outside of the package or envelope
    • Address labels
    • Christmas Cards
    • Envelopes
  • E-mail
    • Signature (in e-mail programs like Outlook Express)
    • Return e-mail Address
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Leaflets
  • Cheques
  • Notice Boards

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Last Updated: 05-Nov-2020
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