How do you transfer ownership of a .co.uk domain?

Posted on December 29, 2010

 

One of the most common problems we come across with regards to business websites is where a domain name, a .co.uk domain name, has been registered to an individual who no longer works for a company and the business in question wants to do something with the domain. The problem is that the person whose name is on the registration for a .co.uk domain is the legal owner, and ownership cannot be transferred away from them without their permission.

This means that whenever a business registers a .co.uk domain name, which is governed by Nominet, the business itself should be listed as the legal owner, not one of the directors, the person in charge of IT or the web design or SEO company. If the domain is registered to one person, and they leave the employment of the company, they can take the domain name with them.

Even if you do manage to persuade the registered owner of the domain name to transfer ownership, it’s not that easy. With a .com domain name for example you can edit the Whois info at any time, changing the ownership easily (so long as you have access to the registrar of course). A .co.uk domain however is more complicated, and certain ‘hoops’ have to first be jumped through.

Firstly, the person who owns the domain (remember, it’s the person who the domain is registered to, not necessarily the person who paid the bill or the company who owns the website) must contact Nominet for a login to their website. They do that by going here.

Once they have logged in, they will see any domains that they have registered to them. They can select ‘Your Domains’, and then select ‘Registrant Transfer’ from the website’s menu.

They then choose the domain that they wish to transfer, and enter the email address of the new owner. There will be a fee to pay (currently £10) but they don’t have to pay that as they can select the option that forces the new owner of the domain to pay it instead.

They can then initiate the transfer. The new owner will receive an email containing instructions on how to complete the transfer, where they can also select the registrant type (such as individual, limited company etc). Ensure this is entered correctly as changing it is not easy.

Of course, this is all assuming that the current owner of the domain agrees to it being transferred. They may not.

Remember that even if you have a .co.uk domain name in your account with your registrar, and if you pay the renewal fee each year, it doesn’t mean you own it. The owner is the person whose name is listed on the Whois.

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