Last update: April 2021
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Are you creating a brand new website, and unsure whether to register a .com or a .co.uk domain name? Read on to find out which is best for you!
When you’re building a new website (whether it is for your small business or a personal blog), one of the most important questions you’ll have to answer is “should I use a .com or a .co.uk?” 🤔
Unfortunately there isn’t a clean answer.
The reality is, there are advantages and disadvantages of picking each. The key question to ask is which is best for you?
Let’s get in to it and look at:
- What is the difference between .co.uk/ .uk?
- How much do .com and a .co.uk domains cost?
- Who should you use to buy and manage your domain name?
- How to get one for free!
A bit of background to .com and .co.uk (and .uk)
The .com domain name com is what we call a “top-level domain” (aka a TLD). Its name is derived from the word ‘commercial’.
The original intent was for commercial organisations, but it was later opened for general purposes.
It soon became the de facto choice for US-based (despite them having .us domain names) websites and the TLD most of the general public understood and expected.
.uk is the Internet country code top-level domain (aka a ccTLD) for the United Kingdom. Originally there were only three domain extensions available:
co.uk was also originally intended for commercial entities and purposes, but quickly evolved in the de facto first choice for any type of website – You’ll be hard-pressed to find a website ending in me.uk anymore!
This focus on co.uk meant there were less and less .co.uk domains to choose from. In 2014 Nominet (the organisation that managed UK domain names) released .uk.
Their hope was for it to become the UK’s version of .com.
This hasn’t quite happened, and co.uk is still the dominant extension.
Does my choice of .com or .co.uk matter?
TL;DR: Yes it does – but get both if you can!
OK, so I should register both, but which should I actually use to host my website’s content? The key question to ask is.. Is your target market global or specific to a certain geographic locations?
- Global: Consider choosing the .com, but certainly buy the .co.uk as well. If you have a global target, “.com” is a good option for a global TLD.
- Country-specific: If you are targeting a specific geographic region then the .co.uk is certainly the better choice. However, if the .com is available to register, register that as well!
Why buy both? If you choose to ignore the .com or .co.uk, someone else could snap it up. They can then domain squat or build a competing website to piggy-back on your brand.
Will I get higher rankings in Google if I buy a .co.uk? ❌ No, Google uses ccTLDs as a geo-targeting signal, but not as a ranking signal for SEO.
How much do .com & .co.uk domain names cost?
The next big question is… “where is the best place to purchase a domain name and how much do .com and .co.uk domains cost?”
Just get a domain name
If you want to just buy a domain name with no web hosting, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone cheaper than 20i.
20i sell .co.uk domain names for £5.99 per year and .com for £9.99 per year. Compare that to 123 Reg who charge £11.99 for a .co.uk and £15.99 for a .com.
Most only apply to the first year of a multi-year registration and the prices are quite high from the second year onwards.
If you intend to keep the domain name for years, choose always low prices over short term price promotions.
Get a free domain name with web hosting
If you’re going to use your domain name and build a website, you could get a free domain name thrown in.
Select web hosts include a year or two free domain registration with their hosting plans. Some never charge for as long as you have your hosting with them.
At the time of writing, these web host include a free domain name with their web hosting plans.
All very nice, but check their terms and conditions for the length of that term and how much it will cost when it stop being free!
Hopefully you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch.