Update (March 26 2019): Please note that any decision surrounding UK residents’ .EU domain names has been delayed until April 12 2019. Hover is monitoring the situation closely to bring you the most up-to-date information on your .EU domain name.
You may have heard by now but if you’re a resident in the UK, you may soon lose ownership of your .EU domain name due to Brexit. This could leave you, an .EU domain holder, feeling anxious about what happens next to your domain name and the websites you host on your .EU domains. The good news is that you have time to move your website onto a new domain name (and email!) before any big changes come into effect.
There are over 3.7 million domains registered with a .EU extension. The .EU domain is ranked as the 9th most registered Top-Level Domain (TLD) and the 5th most popular Country-Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) worldwide. Within the UK, the .EU extension has the fourth largest number of registrations – approximately 340,000 total. We know that many of our customers in the United Kingdom own a .EU domain name and will need alternatives once they lose ownership. In order to own a .EU domain, you must be located in a Member State of the European Union, Norway, Liechtenstein, or Iceland, so there are no work-arounds that Hover or any domain name registrar can provide customers. While there have been discussions regarding a change in the rules, nothing has been implemented at this point in time.
If you are thinking of renewing your .EU domain name between now and May 30 2019, we recommend renewing for only a year at a time, if you must. There will be no grandfathering of your domain, should the European Commission decide to revoke ownership entirely.
For now, it seems that UK residents will lose their .EU domain names by May 30th 2019. This is some good news – it means you have time to start associating your brand and website with your new domain name. There are quite a few generic, fun, and realistic options for any .EU domain holder who needs to make the switch.
Please note that you cannot use a fake address to get around ownership laws. The EU will be verifying .EU domain holders and you WILL lose your domain name if you have a false address attached to the domain.
Generic Domain Name Alternatives to .EU
.CO.UK has fewer restrictions than a .UK domain name. This domain is one of the most popular extensions, so it may be tricky to find your brand available. If your ideal name is taken, don’t panic! There are many other alternative domain names to your favoured extension.
The .UK domain name is available only to registrants located in the UK. There may be 12 million currently registered, but there is plenty of opportunity to secure your brand’s .UK web address. This address tells customers that you or your business are located in the United Kingdom and is a short and memorable alternative to .EU.
This extension was released in September 2018 and still has a lot of name choices available. If you’re running a Limited Liability Company, this is a great opportunity to switch from .EU to .LLC.
.BIZ is a popular choice, and is restricted to use by businesses or commercial purposes only. If you have an organization based out of the United Kingdom, a .BIZ is an alternative to .COM or other commercial-focused domain extensions.
Get Creative with your Domain Name
If your business is in a specific industry, then there are many interesting and unique domain names that are not only representative of your brand or company’s purpose, but helps you stand out from competitors.
If you operate a charitable organization, why not own a domain name that explains exactly what it is potential donors are navigating to? This extension was released in September 2018 and has many naming options available still.
If you’re in real estate, having a competitive edge online is key to your success. Don’t blend in with your domain when you can use it to stand out on all your advertisements. This domain name is also new, released in November 2018.
If you’re operating a successful tech venture or an exciting startup in the UK, own the space with a .TECH domain name. Show your audience that you’re focused in tech.
Start Marketing your Alternative .EU Domain Name!
Now for the fun part – you get to market your new domain! Host your website on your new domain name and start having your .EU forward to it until you need to cease ownership or the domain name expires. This will get customers used to landing on your new domain. It builds trust and limits confusion with customers during the process of switching domain names, as they see the new domain is associated with your business. Consider having a banner or a notice on your website that refers to your new domain name to alert customers to the change. As well, make sure to change your links on any social media accounts and send an email campaign to your customers to inform them that you’ve moved to a new home on the web.
It’s exciting to be able to put your new domain name out there. You could use this as an opportunity to refresh your brand, announce new products, or make a big change across your company. Let your new domain lead the way for something new for your company in 2019!