GovWire

Detailed guide: Use your .gov.uk domain name

Cabinet Office

October 7
09:57 2019

Ask your registrar or domain name system (DNS) provider to correctly set up your domain name.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) may withdraw your domain name if your organisation does not follow the terms of use or fails to keep domain name administrator contact details up to date.

Terms of use for your .gov.uk domain name

Your proposed .gov.uk domain name must not:

  • host a website with persistent errors or security issues

  • redirect to a non-public sector domain like .co.uk, .org.uk, .info or .com

  • pose an immediate security threat or interfere with the secure and stable operation of the .gov.uk domain or the GOV.UK ecosystem

  • infringe on the intellectual property rights of another individual or entity

  • advertise products, commodities or services for private individuals, firms or corporations

  • be used for party political purposes

  • violate any UK laws, regulations or policies

  • violate the privacy or publicity rights of another individual or entity

Protect your domain name

A newly registered domain name is not protected by default. It is your responsibility to configure your DNS to protect it.

Follow the National Cyber Security (NCSC) guidance on managing public domain names.

Protect your domain name by keeping up to date with the NCSC security alerts and taking appropriate action.

GDS also recommends you follow best practices outlined by ICANN to protect domain name registration accounts.

You must monitor and maintain your DNS records properly otherwise your domains are at risk. For example, issues often happen when Canonical Name Record or Alias Records (CNAMEs) are used to point to third-party domain names, which, if not controlled by you or allowed to expire, could become compromised.

The .gov.uk registry supports Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) and GDS recommends that you consider this for your domain to protect your users. GDS also recommends you evaluate whether DNS Certification Authority Authorisation (CAA) records are appropriate for you to use with your domain names.

Monitor your domain name

Your registrar or hosted DNS provider may offer monitoring services.

If you operate a critical domain, consider monitoring:

  • domain transfers

  • WHOIS data changes

  • nameserver changes

  • changes to records related to critical services, for example mail exchanger (MX) records

You should regularly audit who can contact your registrar or access their control panel to make changes to your domain name.

Standards you must follow when running your .gov.uk domain name

Once your domain name is active, all digital services and applications including websites and email which use the .gov.uk domain must meet the:

Keep your contact details up to date

You must make sure the contact details of the domain name administrator are up to date with your registrar. GDS may contact your organisation at any time to confirm that contact details are up to date. This helps to make sure domain names are securely managed.

If your contact details are not kept up to date your domain name may be referred to the Naming and Approvals Committee for review and withdrawn.

Published 7 October 2019

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