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Domain Name FAQs

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      1. What is a domain name and why should you register one?
      2. What does it cost to register a domain name?
      3. Who are the domain name registrars?
      4. Are there restrictions over who may register a domain name?
      5. Are there restrictions over the structure of a domain name?
      6. What do I get when I register a domain name?
      7. What details do you need to register a domain?
      8. How long does it take to register a domain name?
      9. Can I transfer my domain name elsewhere?
      10. I already have a domain name registered - can I transfer my domain to you?
      11. Why should I not just register the name directly with the registrar?
      12. Nominet charge £80 for a .uk domain name, how can you include their charges and sell it for £30?
      13. Why is it more expensive to register .com, .net or .org domain names?
      14. I have seen another ISP that charges much less than you for domain names, why?
      15. Once a domain is registered, who "owns" the domain name?
      16. I am a web designer registering a domain name for a customer - who should be the "registrant"?
      17. Are my registration details "private"?
      18. Why do you bill our credit card for domain name registration "before" the domain is actually registered?
      19. Why can a domain name registration fail?
      20. How will I know if a domain registration has been accepted and is complete?
      21. Once registered can I use my domain immediately?
      22. When my domain is due for renewal what will it cost?
      23. How do I change the details or transfer a domain name?
      24. Can I cancel a domain name?
      25. Will I receive a domain registration certificate for my domain?
      26. Which domain name should I choose - .com or .co.uk?
      27. What are the different domain types for?
      28. Can domain names contain "upper case" characters?
      29. I cannot find the domain I want - can you help me find one?
      30. If I register a domain name is it mine for life?
      31. What can I do if my name has been registered by someone else?
      32. What is my domain name worth?

 

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What is a domain name and why should you register one?

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A domain name is a "unique" name used to identify and locate computers on the Internet. Internet domain names provide a system of easy-to-remember Internet addresses which are translated by DNS (Domain Name Servers) into numeric IP (Internet Protocol) addresses used by the Internet.

An Internet domain name is unique and allows you to have an "identity" on the Internet.

A domain name adds value to your Internet presence and is therefore of great value to your organisation. Remember domain names are not just for businesses or organisations - many people register names for their own personal use.

If you register a domain name you could be:

Web site address: http://www.your-domain-name.com
Email addresses: name@your-domain-name.com

If you DO NOT register a domain name you would be:

Web site address: http://www.your-isp.com/users/your-name
Email addresses: your-name@your-isp.com

small_arrow To register a domain name please click here.

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What does it cost to register a domain name?

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The costs for the different types of domain names vary, for a full list of the domain names we can register and their prices please click here.

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Who are the domain name registrars?

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A domain name registrar is an organisation that holds the central records (database) and top level authority for all the domains they administer, a single registrar is normally only responsible for 1 or 2 domain extensions (.com or .uk). These registrars are coordinated and partially regulated by ICANN.

The domain names that we register are done through one of the following registrars:

  • OpenSRS / Tucows
  • Nominet
  • UKERNA
  • CentralNIC
  • JANET

Although it is sometimes possible to register your name direct with the central registry you will find that domain registrars do not usually provide the other "required" services you need to go with your domain name. They normally deal with maintaining the central domain name database ONLY and you need an ISP to provide these other services (DNS setup / service).

small_arrow To register a domain name please click here.

In addition an ISP is able to provide the next level of services for your domain such as email and web hosting.

small_arrow To see the additional services that we offer please click here.

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Are there restrictions over who may register a domain name?

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Yes - some domain names have restrictions on who can register them for a full list of the domain names we can register and their restrictions please click here.

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Are there restrictions over the structure of a domain name?

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Yes - some domain names have rules on how they are constructed:

Domain Type Rule
ALL Domain names must consist only of letters (a-z) and numbers (0-9) - they may also contain the hyphen (-) symbol but may NOT contain special characters like the "and" symbol (&) or exclamation mark (!).
ALL Domain names may not contain spaces or start or end with a hyphen (-).
ALL Domain names cannot be more than 63 characters (excluding the .com, .co.uk domain extension.
ALL All domains are lower case.
.uk The .uk domain names must be more than 2 "letters" long - ab.co.uk would not be allowed but domains with 1 letter and one number - i.e. 1b.co.uk or b1.co.uk would be allowable.
.uk Top level domains are not allowed as third level domains - i.e. net.org.uk or com.co.uk would not be allowable.
.ltd.uk
.plc.uk
For both .ltd.uk and .plc.uk domain names the domain name must exactly reflect your company name - for instance if you were called "Allied British Carpets Ltd." you would have to register either "allied-british-carpets.ltd.uk" or "alliedbritishcarpets.ltd.uk" - you could not register "abc.ltd.uk".
.gov.uk
.ac.uk
Registrations under either of these domain types are subject to approval and should be related to the registrant organisation.


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What do I get when I register a domain name?

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When you register a domain name the following will be included:
  • The name will be registered with the domain name registrar, normally for a minimum of 2 years.
  • DNS Hosting (Click here for details)
  • Domain name management.

Please note that a domain name registration "on its own" does NOT include any web or email services, for details on the services we offer please see here.

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What details do you need to register a domain?

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We need the name, address and contact details of the person or company the domain name is to be registered to.

We also need to take your payment details (credit card, cheque etc.) so we can process your registration. Payment by credit card is preferred since we can process the domain name immediately.

If you are a Limited (LTD) or Public Limited Company (PLC) and wish to register a .ltd.uk or .plc.uk domain we will also require your company registration number.

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How long does it take to register a domain name?

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During business hours domain names are normally registered within 2-3 hours and active within 24 hours, outside business hours they can take slightly longer.

Some domain names with restrictions can take longer as they have to be manually processed by the registrar:

  • net.uk - 2 - 3 days
  • gov.uk - 5 - 7 days
  • ac.uk - 5 - 7 days

Sometimes registration of a domain name can take longer although this usually only occurs for the following reasons:

  • When either the central registries are very busy
  • Insufficient information has been provided with the order
  • Your payment was unsuccessful

Once registered it can take up to 24 hours before your domain is fully visible across the Internet.

It is important to note that the application to register a domain name does not guarantee reservation of that name and the application will only be processed following payment.

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Can I transfer my domain name elsewhere?

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Yes - you can transfer your domain name at any time - we would hate to lose you but there is no charge to transfer.

We will need to know where you wish to transfer the domain name to and we need to know the details of at least 2 DNS servers that will hold your domain records.

For more details on transferring a domain name see here.

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I already have a domain name registered - can I transfer my domain to you?

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Yes - you can transfer a domain name to us. The cost to transfer any domain name is £25 + vat and this covers the domain name until its next due date (If within 2 years).

In some cases moving the domain name to us can extend the registration by 1 year free of charge.

small_arrow To transfer your domain name to us please click here.

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Why should I not just register the name directly with the registrar?

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Many registrars will allow you to register a name directly but in most cases they will actually charge you more than we do and they do not include additional services such as DNS hosting and domain name management.

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Nominet charge £80 to register a .uk domain name directly - how can you include their charges and sell it for £30?

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If you register your name directly with Nominet they will charge you £80 + VAT (also covers the first 2 years) - in addition they will not provide the primary and backup DNS services you must have.

As members of Nominet we register many domain names and we are responsible for gathering payment of registration fees - for this we get a discount on the normal £80 + VAT you would pay to register a name direct with them!

This allows us to charge only £30 + VAT to process your registration and payment, setup the DNS servers and web placeholder page and host your records for 2 years and pay the registrars fees for you!

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Why is it more expensive to register .com, .net or .org domain names?

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These domain names are registered through different registrars and the varying prices reflect the varying wholesale prices of domain names.

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I have seen another ISP that charges much less than you for domain names, why?

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There are companies that charge less than we do and there are also companies who charge more, this can be for a number of different reasons that you need to be aware of:

  • They do not include DNS hosting.
  • There are hidden fees for things like transferring your domain name.

We offer a reliable and professional registration service at a competitive yet realistic price.

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Once a domain is registered, who "owns" the domain name?

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No one "owns" a domain name any more than someone "owns" a telephone number.

The domain name "registrant" is the person or organisation listed at the top of the WHOIS database record. To lookup the owner of a domain name see here.

The "registrant" is the individual or organisation that has registered a specific domain name. This individual or organisation holds the exclusive right to use that specific domain name for a specified period of time, provided certain conditions are met and the registration fees are paid.

This person or organisation is the "legal entity" bound by the Terms and Conditions and Domain Name Registration Agreements.

The administrative, technical and billing contacts are individuals who the organisation trusts to handle issues involving the domain name record.

Care must be taken to avoid infringing the rights that a third party might have in the name, intentionally or otherwise. This applies to both businesses and individuals. Although companies may have traded with the same or similar name for many years only one can use it as a domain name.

If a company believes that the registration of their company name, brand names or registered trademarks as a Domain Name by a third party constitutes an infringement of trademark or an act of passing off we advise that they seek qualified legal opinion.

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I am a web designer registering a domain name for a customer - who should be the "registrant"?

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You should register the domain against the "end user" company - if a company is paying for you to register the name it would normally be registered under their name.

Transferring domains at a later date is a time consuming process and may incur additional costs.

You should also make them aware of their obligations - the registrant is the "legal entity" bound by the Terms and Conditions and Domain Name Registration Agreements.

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Are my registration details "private"?

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When a domain name is registered we have to submit certain details to the central registrar for that domain name type including:

  • Registrant
  • Registrant status (Individual / Company / Legal Entity)
  • If you are a registered company or charity, your registration number
  • Registrant postal address
  • Contact name
  • Contact details

The amount of these details that are publicly available on the Whois Database varies from registrar to registrar but in some cases all of the above could be published plus additional information such as:

  • Registration date
  • Registration expiry date
  • Last date domain name record was altered
  • DNS Servers

If you do not wish to have your details published we may be able to either opt your details out of the record for your domain name or set them C/O our address. If this is the case please contact us.

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Why do you bill our credit card for domain name registration "before" the domain is actually registered?

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We bill your credit/debit card as soon as we have done a basic check that the domain is available - this is for the following reasons:

  • We need to ensure the card details are "valid".
  • As we include the domain registrars fees in our domain registration costs we need to know that we will receive the payment from you (otherwise we could be liable to pay for domains registered falsely).
  • Registering a domain name, the DNS setup and other configuration is time consuming. The total cost of registration includes both our fees for submitting the registration and the setup/hosting of DNS records as well as the fee payable to the registrar.

If a domain name registration "fails" we will promptly refund the charges for the registration to your card or if you paid by another method we will send you a refund by cheque.

We cannot process your domain name application unless the payment details you entered were correct and payment is accepted.

To check the domain name you want is available - click here to do a FREE online search.

It is important to note that the application to register a domain name does not guarantee reservation of that name and the application will only be processed following payment.

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Why can a domain name registration fail?

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It is important to note that the application to register a domain name
does not guarantee reservation of that name and the application will only be processed following payment.

Very few registrations fail (less than 1%) - common reasons for failure include:

  • Someone may beat you to the registration or the domain may be already registered to someone else.
  • Domains can sometimes appear to be free or available if they are actually in the process of being registered or if they have been suspended - this is usually due to technical reasons such as an incorrect DNS setup or non-payment of the domain name registry fees.
  • Your credit card or payment details were invalid / incorrect or for any other reason the credit card company refused to accept the details you submitted. This is mostly due to a simple error when inputting your details - we will contact you to confirm the correct details.

We cannot process your domain name application unless the payment details you entered were correct and payment is accepted.

We cannot confirm any registration until we actually receive notification from the registrar.

If a registration fails you will receive notification and the fee charged for the domain name registration will be refunded.

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How will I know if a domain registration has been accepted and is complete?

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We cannot guarantee or confirm any registration until we actually receive notification from the registrar, this is normally within a few hours.

You must not rely or advertise your new domain until we have confirmed the registration was successful!

A registration should only be considered as successful and complete when you have both:

  • Received confirmation from us (usually sent via email) that the domain registration was accepted and is complete.
  • Verified the details on the central WHOIS database (a web link will be provided in the email confirmation you will be sent). You can also check the status of "any" domain by using our WHOIS database search here.

If a registration fails you will receive notification and the fee charged for the domain name registration will be refunded to you.

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Once registered can I use my domain immediately?

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Once you have confirmed your registration was successful your domain name is ready to use.

However, due to the nature of the DNS system it can take up to 24-36 hours for all the DNS servers across the Internet to "learn" and be able to "see" your domain.

Although it can take up to 36 hours it is typically much less than this (usually around 12-24 hours).

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When my domain is due for renewal what will it cost?

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Our charges for domain name registrations normally cover the domain for 2 years and include the central registrars fees.

When your domain is due for renewal we charge the registration rate at that time for the next period (typically 2 years) - For details on the current prices click here.

If we do not handle the billing for your domain name we will charge £25 to cover the DNS hosting of the domain for up to 2 years.

Please note these charges are for the domain name registration only and do not include any costs for web, email or Internet access services you may also have and all prices exclude UK VAT at 15% unless otherwise stated.

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How do I change the details or transfer a domain name?

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For details on how to make changes to your domain name click here.

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Can I cancel a domain name?

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Once you have submitted your domain name for registration, your payment will be processed and your domain submitted for registration. It cannot normally be cancelled without still paying the standard registration fees - this is because as soon as we have submitted the domain the registrar will enter it on the central database and invoice us for the central registry fees.

Of course once you have your domain name - if you decide you no longer need the domain you can cancel it at any time before it comes due for renewal (usually 2 years) and will not then be liable to pay renewal fees on that domain name.

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Will I receive a domain registration certificate for my domain?

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No, other than invoices from us you will not receive any written or printed documentation for your domain name.

For all domain types we register you can view the authorative WHOIS database records by looking up the domain name here.

In the case of domain names ending in .uk - As well as confirmation from us you will receive a letter from Nominet confirming the registration and providing logon details to their website where you can download and print off a certificate of registration.

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Which domain name should I choose - .com or .co.uk?

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There are no restrictions on registering either .com or .co.uk domains .You could register a .com domain or .co.uk domain or indeed both (many people do!).

The choice is really down to your preference - .com is often seen as "International" whereas .co.uk is seen as "UK only" but it depends on the target market.

If you mainly deal with companies in the UK and wanted to register just one domain then a .co.uk domain may be the best choice. The .co.uk instantly identifies you as a UK company and often, given a list of URLs in a search engine, people will choose a domain / URL with their country code.

On the other hand .com is the most widely recognised domain, is slightly easier to type and is more at risk from someone else registering it!

Registering both .com and .co.uk domain names is actually a very good idea - it stops other people registering YOUR name and leaves it ready for you to use either right away or in the future.

Many companies are now actually registering more than the two main .com and .co.uk domains - registering the .net, .org and .org.uk variants of their name. The reasons for this are many - most importantly it would allow you to use them for marketing etc. and also stops other people from registering them!

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What are the different domain types for?

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Originally domain name types reflected their intended use for example:

Domain Type Original "Intended" Use
.com US / International Commercial Organisations
.net US / International Network Devices / Internet Service Providers.
.org US / International Organisations - for use by individuals and not-for-profit companies.
.co.uk UK Commercial Organisations.
.org.uk UK Organisations - for use by individuals and not-for-profit companies.
.ltd.uk UK Limited (Ltd.) Companies.
.plc.uk UK Public Limited (PLC) Companies.
.net.uk UK Internet Service Providers
.gov.uk UK Government departments and government funded organisations.
.ac.uk UK Academic institutions.

Please note that although this was their original "intended" use - as many more domain names were registered the rules have been relaxed and now there are restrictions only on a few domain types - see here for more details.

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Can domain names contain "upper case" characters?

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No - all domain names are registered as lower case.

However, many people may choose to display their web address as upper case or a mix of upper and lower case - i.e. http://www.GetOnline.co.uk - this is not normally a problem as most browsers will change it back to lower case.

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I cannot find the domain I want - can you help me find one?

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Of course - although many domain names have already been registered there are still many options left!

Here are some hints that should help - to check any of these use our online Domain Name Search.

  • Domain names can now be longer - up to 63 characters.
  • If the .com or .co.uk domain names have gone consider the .net, .org or .org.uk domains - there are no restrictions - anyone may register these as well!
  • If you are a UK Ltd. or PLC. company you can register a .ltd.uk or .plc.uk domain name.
  • You can separate characters in a domain name with hyphens - if you wanted "domainname.com" - perhaps "domain-name.com" is available?
  • Register a "generic" name - if "your-company-name.com" or "your-company-name.co.uk" have been registered you can always register a name that describes your products and services or perhaps the area you live / work in?
  • Try using a thesaurus to find similar names - for instance if you wanted a domain with the word "shop" but it had gone then options may include "store", "mall", "market" or "mart".
  • Words like "for", "to" or "you" can be changed for characters like "4", "2" or "u" - so if "foodforthought.com" had gone - maybe "food4thought.com" is available?
  • You can also prefix or suffix domains with other words - just because your-name.com has been registered perhaps yournameuk.com, yourname-uk.com or yournameonline.com would be suitable?

Some examples of common words you could use are:

Prefix / Suffix Examples
online domainonline.com
onlinedomain.com
uk domainuk.com
domain-uk.com
gb domaingb.com
domain-gb.com
full country names domainaustralia.com
domaingermany.com
other country codes e.g. fr, it, ca, us.
domainfr.com
domain-us.com
your town, city or area domainlondon.com
domain-new-york.com
ltd / limited / plc yournameltd.com
yournamelimited.com
yourname-plc.co.uk
partners / partnership yournamepartners.com
other corporate identifiers e.g. sa, gmbh, inc
domaingmbh.com
domain-sa.net
the thedomain.com
net domainnet.com
web domainweb.com
technology terms e.g. wap
wapdomain.com
cyber cyberdomain.co.uk
co domainco.com
company domaincompany.com
group domaingroup.com
europe domaineurope.com
world domainworld.com
service / services domainservice.com
solutions domainsolutions.co.uk
consultants domainconsultants.com
city domaincity.com
guide domainguide.com
search domainsearch.com
e / e- e-domain.com
edomain.com domain-e.com
i / i- i-domain.com
idomain.com
domain-i.com
planet domainplanet.com
planetdomain.co.uk
systems domainsystems.com
my mydomain.net
central domaincentral.com
about aboutyourname.com

 

Please note the domain examples shown above are for illustration only and you could combine some of these together - e.g. theyournamepartnership.com or londondomainsolutions.co.uk

We hope we have given you a few ideas - now click here to return to the domain name search or if you have any questions please contact us for more details!

Care must be taken to avoid infringing the rights that a third party might have in the name, intentionally or otherwise. This applies to both businesses and individuals. Although companies may have traded with the same or similar name for many years only one can use it as a domain name.

If a company believes that the registration of their company name, brand names or registered trademarks as a Domain Name by a third party constitutes an infringement of trademark or an act of passing off we advise that they seek qualified legal opinion.

 

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If I register a domain name is it mine for life?

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When you initially register a domain name it is usually registered for an initial period of 2 years. For more details of costs and registration periods see here.

When the domain name nears expiry you will normally be given the chance the renew the registration for a further period (usually 1-2 years).

Please note that if you change your telephone number, postal or email addresses it is important you let us know, if you do not and we cannot contact you to advise you the domain name is due for renewal it may be deleted and released for re-registration by other people!

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What can I do if my name has been registered by someone else?

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If someone else has registered a name you would have liked there are several options available to you. Firstly you can try to buy the name from them or if you feel you have better reason to have that domain then legal action to retrieve it may be an option?

It should be noted that neither of these are guaranteed and both can be expensive, often it may be better to simply register an "alternative" domain name.

To find a domain name or lookup details of an existing registration use our Domain Name Search.

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What is my domain name worth?

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Unfortunately it is not really possible to suggest an accurate price for the value of your domain name as it is a unique item and really depends what its "worth" to someone else.

Also it really depends if you are just trying to sell the domain to recover your costs and the costs incurred / hassle of transfer.