What To Do With Your EU Domain Name When The United Kingdom Leaves The European Union
BREXIT is upon us
Unless you've been living under a stone for the last 3 years you'll know that the United Kingdom is about to leave European Union. Exactly when? TBC. One unexpected consequence of this is that UK businesses will no longer be allowed to own an EU domain if that domain remains registered to a UK address after the big "B" event itself bumbles on in.
What's an EU domain?
WEll... an EU domain is what's known as a Top Level Domain (TLD) as is a (dot) COM. EU domains have been available for people and organisations to buy across the world's largest single market since December 2005.
Why Do Companies Buy them?
Owning an EU website potentially makes it easier for a businesses to grow across national borders, which is the very essence of having a single market. A EU domains helps to indicate a company's pan-European status, which can provide greater trust to their customers and trading partners because it displays a legal adherance to the European Union's trading and consumer laws. The European Union itself claims that the EU domain has contributed to the development of the EU's digital economy, establishing a European Digital Single Market.
So What happens after Brexit?
"Soon, as a consequence of the United Kingdom's imminent exit from the European Union, it was announced that "as of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organisations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU, and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names or, if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date". WIKIPEDIA
Basically this means that British residents and companies will no longer be allowed to use the an EU domain (under the current rules) once the UK has withdrawn from the European Union - whenever that may be! It means they cannot apply for a new EU domain or renew an existing EU domain. And that their EU domains could well be be ...revoked!
Who will this affect?
Some 304,133 UK businesses currently own an EU domain name.
Keeping your EU domain name
If you own an EU domain name (one you want to hang onto) and your company has access to an official EU postal address, use it as your domain's admin contact. It may already registered in this manner. If not, just update the admin details on your EU domain name record. Or, simply transfer ownership of the domain name to an EU subsidiary.
Moving your website off an EU domain
If you don't own (or have access) to either an EU postal address or a subsidiary address then it's time to think about MIGRATING your company website over to a generic TLD. In fact, The UK government has formally advised that British citizens with a EU domain should buy a (dot) COM, .UK or a .CO.UK replacement as soon as possible.
What we recommend you should do
If your business website is currently sitting on an EU domain (and you don't have access to options outlined above) you should set up an alternative domain as soon as you can, transfer your EU domain to a generic TLD equivalent (see above) before - or very soon after - Brexit takes effect at the end of March this year. Only problem being it could be quite difficult to find one that fits nowadays. The EU registry contains 3.75 million registered domain names. The .UK registry already contains almost 12 million. While the DOT COM registry boasts some 140 million. Meaning your desired name might already have been taken! When it's gone, it's gone. So you'll have to get creative and find a new one, getting as close to an exact match as you can.
Simple edirection will no longer be possible if an EU domain is totally revoked. So the sooner you start to find a solution the better it will be for you. Otherwise your search engine optimization (SEO) will be negatively affected for certain. You'll also have to inform your customers of these changes. And modify the domain name details on all your marketing colateral.
Migrating your website
Shifting a mature WordPress website from one domain to another (especially if there's a big database involved) is never very easy. Even when you've done it hundreds of times before.
Need some help?
We've been moving WordPress websites around the interweb for over 10 years now. We're also very good at imagineering new domain name ideas for our clients. So if your pefrect .COM, .CO.UK or .UK name has already been claimed we're be sure to find you'll be proud a new one to call your own.