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Britain gets .uk domain name

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.uk sign at Heathrow

From today, Brits can register websites under the .uk domain name.

The shortened form takes its place alongside the traditional .co.uk for the first time.

The news was announced by web registrar Nominet, which also revealed the identity of the very first person to secure a .uk domain name. It’s none other than national institution Stephen Fry.

"As one of the world’s most well-known tech commentators, Stephen Fry’s decision to switch from a .com reflects the appeal of shorter, sharper .uk domains among those at the forefront of digital Britain," reads the press release.

In a blog post on the newly formed stephenfry.uk, Mr Fry says that having to press those extra three keys "has been a nuisance these twenty years or so."

"Fret no more, people of Britain," he adds. "The day of .uk is upon us. And team stephenfry.com — as with all things — is proud to be ahead of the curve, or at least cresting it."

As Fry points out, it’s a little odd that we in Britain have had to put up with such a convoluted domain name when our European neighbours received such snappy suffixes as .de (Germany) and .fr (France).

It seems as if the UK public is ready for a change, too. Nominet reckons that three quarters of British internet users prefer .uk to .co.uk. But then, we are a pretty lazy nation.

Elenor Bradley, COO of Nominet, expects there to be a rapid uptake of the new .uk domain name given Britain’s tech-savvy nature. "The UK is the world's most internet-based major economy and it's certainly one of the most active and fast-changing too – 67% of our current registrations are less than five years old," she revealed.

Her company has even rolled out the world’s biggest sign at Heathrow airport (pictured) to advertise the new name change.

Ten million existing UK domain holders will be given first dibs on a switch to the .uk equivalent. They’ll be given five years to decide whether they want to take it in addition to or instead of their existing domain name.

You can now register for a .uk website from any normal web domain name registrar.

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