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.uk Rights of Registration

The .uk Right of Registration period ended on 25th June 2019 at 06:00 BST (UTC+1). 

All registrars who applied to be part of the release process and met the criteria to participate were contacted by Nominet via email on Wednesday 26th June with their allocation.  

The final list of domains was published on 26th June. Those domains were made available in batches from the 1st of July- 5th July to participating registrars. This phase of the release process is now complete.

Domains still available after the stage one release have become generally available. They were made available w/c 8th July for any registrar to register, including those using WDM. 

What is the ‘release’ process? 

It is the release of .uk domains where rights were not exercised by the deadline date and the domain can now be registered by someone other than the rights holder. 

What is happening to the unclaimed .uk rights? 

Reserved .uk domain names which were not registered by 25th June 2019 at 06:00 BST (UTC+1) were subject to a first phase release process that took place between 1st July and 5th July 2019.   

Participating registrars were informed. 

Any domains not registered during this period have been made available to all registrars via normal systems (EPP and WDM) from 8th July. 

If I participated in stage one of the release, when will any unused funds will be returned? 

Following the 8th August invoice run. 

Has Nominet run any awareness activity to registrants? 

We ran a series of awareness activities on the lead up to 25th June targeting a broad business and consumer audience, influencers and selected vertical sectors. Our awareness campaign included national press and radio, tube advertising, social media and PR. 

Has Nominet contacted registrants directly before the 25th June deadline? 

We contacted registrants during the reservation period, including some targeted outreach in recent months. We wanted registrants to be aware that they had a right to their corresponding .uk domain, without feeling pressured into registering a domain they did not want. 

Over the last five years our direct communications have included emailing or sending letters to rights holders. Most recently, we did this if we were unsure whether rights holders had received sufficient communication from their registrar.  

A series of promotions were available to registrars to encourage take-up, supported by toolkits to support registrar messaging.

Why have some domains that were in the original list not been ‘dropped’?

  • Firstly, as we approached the deadline and were cross-checking our data, there were a number of domains where we could not be confident they had received sufficient communication.
  • As this was spotted late in the day, we have informed the registrant that they will be registered for them, free of charge, for one year.
  • Secondly, in some cases registrants with rights were trying to exercise those rights with a different registrar.  Some were caught in the process as email confirmations could not be completed.
  • Similarly, we instigated a manual process to ensure all registrants who had expressed an interest within the timeline could complete their request and register their domain.

The following FAQs are all specific to stage one of the release process that happened between 1st July and 5th July 2019.

Can I sign up now?  

The deadline for participating registrars to meet the release process criteria for the main release phase has ended.  Unfortunately, registrars that did not sign up or meet the criteria were not be able to participate directly in the first phase of the release.  

Where a RoR domain name is not registered through the main release phase 1st – 5th July, it was made available to register through the standard registration systems seven days later. 

When will the release process take place? 

The rights period ended on 25th June 2019 at 06:00 BST (UTC+1). The domains begin to be available to register from 1st July 2019. 

What was the process for signing up to participate in the release process? 

Registrars were given the opportunity to sign up to take part from 8th April to 3rd May 2019. The sign up has now closed and only those who registered by the deadline and have met certain criteria were able to participate in the release. 

If I signed up to the release should I have received a confirmation email? 

Yes, every registrar who signed up should have received a confirmation email on Friday 10th May. The email was sent to the email address as indicated by each registrar during the sign–up process. All registrars who signed up to participate have since been emailed on 26th June to confirm whether they met the criteria, and if so, their allocation of registration requests. 

What is the mechanism for the rights release? 

Registration of released domains during the release period (1st – 5th July) could only be made through a separate Right of Registration EPP connection. Those registrars who have signed up to the release and have met the criteria to participate were able to use the Right of Registration EPP connection to register the .uk domains. 

EPP is instant and responses are received in near real time. As such we have chosen to provide an EPP mechanism that supports domains to be released in a manner that protects systems and ensures continuity of service for normal domain name operations. We provided advanced notice of the release mechanism so registrars who only use Web Domain Manager have had opportunity to arrange to use EPP.

What credit had to be met in order to participate? 

Registrars needed to ensure that they had sufficient credit available to qualify for their tier. Remaining credit can be viewed within Online Services via the Billing Summary.  

The amount of available credit also needed to take into account any normal registration and renewal levels. 

We asked that any funds added to an account to increase the available credit were done well in advance of the 21st June. If funds were added via BACS, we asked that registrars included a reference such as account number and ‘RoR’ so we could ensure it was allocated to the relevant account in time. 

Registrars were given the opportunity to also ask for an increase in their credit limit for the duration of the release to ensure that they could meet their anticipated demand. 

*This figure was in addition to registrar standard registration and renewal activity and only applied to Nominet members. Non-members were asked to deposit multiples of the £80 +VAT registration fee per domain, per two–year registration. Minimum available credit figures include VAT​. For those who don’t pay VAT, registrars were only required to have the amount on the account as specified minus VAT. 

How were allocations/registration requests decided? 

To ensure the stability and reliability of our systems a finite number of registration requests per minute were available.   

Our approach was to allocate a registrar to a tier that corresponded to the number of registrations they indicated they would be pursuing.  Registrars were asked to ensure sufficient funds were available to secure access to each tier.  

We applied a 5% tolerance to the credit limits (reflecting a registrar’s ability to delete up to 5% or 5 domains, whichever is higher, prior to invoicing), and where available credit still falls short, we allocated the registrar to the next appropriate tier. 

Are the requests per minute the same as originally set out? 

The allocations were subject to take up and the number of qualifying registrars.  For the top tier, the requests for registration per minute remained at 150.  For tiers 2, 3 and 4, they increased to 75, 12 and 9 requests per minute respectively. 

Is that different to the original approach? 

We specified that only registrars who met the following criteria would be able to connect to the release system via a dedicated EPP connection: 

  1. Had sufficient available credit on their account for their original allocated tier by Midday BST (UTC+1) on the 21st June​ 
  2. Connected to the .uk testbed and performed a login, contact create and a domain create operation against any domain 

Our team got in touch with registrars who applied to help as many as possible take part in the release. 

In what order were the domains released? 

All domains with rights that were not registered by the rights holder were put into five batches in alphabetical order. Each batch was released at 14:00 BST (UTC+1) from 1st July to 5th July 2019.  All domains in a batch became available at the same time (14.00 BST UTC+1). Once the domain became available during the release period it then remained available throughout the release period. 

The release date and time for each domain name with expired rights was available in Online Services on 26th June. 

The release schedule is as follows: 

Batch 1: Domains beginning 0-9, a-b  

Batch 2: Domains beginning c-f   

Batch 3: Domains beginning g-m  

Batch 4: Domains beginning n-s   

Batch 5: Domains beginning t-z   

Domains released in batch 1 (1st July) became generally available through the standard .UK EPP connection and WDM one week later, i.e. on 8th July between 14.00 and 14:30 BST (UTC+1).  Batch 2 on 9th July, batch 3 on 10th July etc. 

Keeping you up to date before, during and after each daily release

During the release we kept you updated via a one-way telephone line and status page.

A one-way telephone line was in place

The line was open from 13:50 BST (UTC+1) and provide frequent updates on the status of the release. The line closed after the release (approx. 14:10 BST).

A status page on Registrar Resources 

A status page was created and used to communicate batch releases each day and updates as required. 

How will the ~400,000 domains for a given day be made available? 

All the domains were released at the same time. They were scheduled in advance and the release happened as a result of the release time being reached. 

What was the allocation of registration attempts per minute be? 

The below tiers were confirmed 


Current provisional registration attempts per minute

Minimum available credit on account as of 21st June*




1,001 – 10,000



101 – 1,000



1 – 100



*A 5% tolerance has been applied

(The figures above are including VAT).

Each registrar who signed up to participate and met the criteria received confirmation by email of their tier and their allocation of registration attempts per minute on 26th June 2019. Registrars who are not able to participate were also informed. 

I applied for one tier but am in another. Why? 

If a registrar signed up but did not have sufficient credit (e.g. were not within 5%) for the tier they had requested, then they were moved to a tier matching their available credit.  

Why were some registrars not eligible?   

If a registrar had insufficient credit for any of the tiers, or was not able to technically participate via EPP, they were not eligible.    

Why did you mandate EPP? 

We wanted to minimise risk to our systems at a time of unusually high demand by having one rather than two different systems in play. 

Were there be any limitations placed on registrations during the release? 

The number of domain create attempts per rolling 60 seconds for each account was limited (the limit for an account is shared between all tags on that account). We provided provisional limits to all registrars who signed up.

What funds did you request and when will they be returned?  

Sufficient funds to cover expected registrations had to be added by midday on 21st June. If the additional funds are not used for registrations, or after some registrations have been made excess funds remain on account, we will refund this money after invoices for the registered domains have been paid, after the 8th August invoice run. 

How was access to the Right of Registration EPP system restricted/controlled? 

Registrars were able to make up to six connections to the Right of Registration EPP system in common with the main EPP system. We reserved the right to reduce this number as part of operational management during the release. EPP connections were based on tags that were in place at sign up. 

The number of domain create requests were restricted on a rolling minute by minute basis. Registrars were allocated a number of domain create requests per rolling 60 seconds. If this number was exceeded, then further requests were rejected until sufficient time passed to enable the quota to be replenished. 

For example, if the quota was 10 requests per rolling 60 seconds and requests were received as follows: 

  • 14:30:02 – 5 
  • 14:30:03 – 3 
  • 14:30:04 – 2 

Further create requests were rejected until 14:31:02 when a further 5 requests became available. 

Please note that all create requests were restricted whether they went on to be successful or not. For example, requests could fail if the domain requested hadn’t been released yet or if it had been registered. 

The EPP acceptable use policy was  in force on the Right of Registration EPP system. The exception was that attempted registrations of domains on the release list which had already been registered, were exempted from the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). 

Did the usual AUPs apply during the release period? 

For the standard .UK EPP the AUP remained unchanged during the release period.  For the Right of Registration EPP connection, the attempted creates of domain names on the release list which are rejected because they have already been registered will not count towards the AUP limit on the use of create commands on already registered names.  All other EPP AUP limits remained in place during the release period (1st – 5th July) for any domains that appeared on the release list. 

When were registrars able to access the production environment for the release? 

Access to the production environment was opened up prior to the first release on 1st July. Error messages were received until the batched releases started. 

Was the testbed environment switched off during the release process? 

Yes. The Testbed remained live until 08.00am BST (UTC+1) on the 1st July to allow registrars to continue to test in the run up to the start of the release. 

Which commands were supported in the release EPP connection? 

All commands were supported, but we recommended using standard .UK EPP for all commands other than creates on the domains being released. 

Were there any changes to the DAC responses during the release? 

Whilst there were no changes to the DAC responses, registrars needed to interpret ‘T’ differently depending on the scenario. 

  • Registrar not taking part in the release or using non-RoR EPP: interpret ‘T’ as not available 
  • Registrar that is part of the release and using the RoR EPP: interpret ‘T’ as refer to pre-published lists to determine when a domain became available 
  • For all registrars: Y flag indicates a name is registered therefore unavailable 

Could the normal DAC be used in conjunction with the separate RoR EPP? 

Yes.. Any registrations made on the RoR EPP were seen on the DAC straight away. 

Were there any changes to the WHOIS during the release? 

The response given by the website WHOIS was be modified as follows: 

Period Query Type Whois Response

Before “Rights are removed” 

Before 25.06.19 

Unregistered .uk domain with rights 

Domain name: 


Right of registration: 


WHOIS lookup made at 10:32:02 03-May-2019 

  Unregistered domain without rights 

No match for “unregistered-released.uk”. 

This domain name has not been registered. 

WHOIS lookup made at 10:35:00 03-May-2019 

Between “Rights are removed” and “Rights release” 

25.06.19 – 01.07.19 

Unregistered .uk domain with rights 

“unregistered-with-rights.uk” has not been registered and will become available for registration as part of the rights of registration release process.  More information can be found on https://www.nominet.uk/LINKDETAILSHERE 

WHOIS lookup made at 10:32:02 03-May-2019 

During “Rights release” 

01.07.19 – 08.07.19 

Unregistered .uk domain that had rights, domain’s batch is not released 

“unregistered-with-rights.uk” has not been registered and will become available for registration as part of the rights of registration release process.  More information can be found on https://www.nominet.uk/LINKDETAILSHERE 

WHOIS lookup made at 10:32:02 03-May-2019 

  Unregistered .uk domain that had rights, domain’s batch is released 

“unregistered-with-rights.uk” has not been registered and will become available for registration as part of the rights of registration release process.  More information can be found on https://www.nominet.uk/LINKDETAILSHERE 

WHOIS lookup made at 10:35:00 03-May-2019 

From “Rights become available on standard EPP” onwards 

08.07.19 onwards 

Unregistered .uk domain that previously had rights, is not yet available through non-RoR EPP but will be made available before 12.07.19 

“unregistered-with-rights.uk” has not been registered and will become available for registration as part of the rights of registration release process.  More information can be found on https://www.nominet.uk/LINKDETAILSHERE 

WHOIS lookup made at 10:35:00 03-May-2019 

  Unregistered .uk domain that previously had rights and has been released to general registration. 

No match for “unregistered-released.uk”. 

This domain name has not been registered. 

WHOIS lookup made at 10:35:00 03-May-2019 

The existing  AUP for WHOIS applied for the duration of the release period. 

Are we doing anything specific around cancellations and limits for domain names registered in the release? For example, were we expecting any Domain Tasting or similar practices to take place? 

As detailed in the AUP.  

After 25th June and before the domains with expired rights are released, what did a domain check command return? 

The release EPP, domain:check showed that domains were not available until the release time had passed, when they showed as available. 

The standard EPP, domain:check showed that domains were not available until w/c. 8th July when the release time had passed, when they showed as available. 

Will a registrar be able to perform all commands on a domain registered in the Right of Registration EPP on the standard .UK EPP?   

Yes, because both systems use the same database. The only difference between the two systems is the release system allows registration of the released domains and restricts the number of registrations allowed. 

How did the release EPP work? 

Domain names with expired rights were not be available for registration in the release EPP until their release time had passed. Once the release time had passed, they were available for registration using the domain:create command. The domain:create command was subject to registrar quotas. 

The domain:check command showed that domains were not available until the release time had passed, when they then showed as available. 

The EPP rights check command to check if a contact has rights to a domain name was removed. 

Did I need to whitelist the IP addresses (in online services) that I used to connect to the ROR EPP?

Yes – we used the same IP addresses as for main EPP. 

What was the hostname for the ROR EPP? 


Was a testbed available? 

The testbed remained live until 08.00am BST (UTC+1) on the 1st July to allow registrars to continue to test in the run up to the start of the release.  

The testbed was configured with the functionality of the release EPP described above and restricted registrar domain:create operations as per the proposed allocated tiers. Please note that the availability of a domain name on the testbed did not indicate availability on the production system. 

Will there be test releases? 

We have been running test releases each week on the testbed that follow the plan for the production release on 1st -5th July 2019. 

Release times were as follows:

Testbed release times

Domains to release

Monday, 14.00 BST (UTC + 1) 

Beginning 0,1,..9,a,b 

Tuesday, 14.00 BST (UTC + 1) 

Beginning c-f 

Wednesday, 14.00 BST (UTC + 1) 

Beginning g-m 

Thursday, 14.00 BST (UTC + 1) 

Beginning n-s 

Friday, 14.00 BST (UTC + 1) 

Beginning t-z 

Did you have a mechanism in place that enabled registrars to synchronise time on their systems with Nominet systems? 

Our servers are time synchronised with NTP.  We use multiple satellite and terrestrial Stratum-1 timing sources to align multiple local distribution units with oven-controlled crystal oscillators to ensure an accurate and stable network time. 

What happened to the queries submitted during the block period? Were they executed immediately after the block was lifted or were they simply ignored? 

Blocked queries were rejected and needed to be resubmitted when the block expired. 

Which EPP Port were you using? 

The standard, release EPP server uses port 700.  

What was done to prevent collusion between registrars such as selling access to a TAG with xx requests? 

We have AUPs for systems use and collusion of limits. Other than as specifically highlighted these remained in place. We monitored the systems used and looked for suspicious behaviors and took action as necessary. 

What was done to prevent the whole system from falling over at 2pm every day with a large number of registrars calling on the EPP server at the same time? If it did fall over would you have stopped the release and restarted it? 

Traffic to the RoR server was segregated from our standard EPP server to avoid any impact on BAU activity. Registration attempts were limited hence the need to allocate a finite number to participating registrars and throttle registration attempts in excess of the allocated limit. We sized the servers appropriately to handle the maximum traffic rates resulting from the full number of registrars going for the maximum number of create requests using all connections available. 

There was always a small possibility that the systems could be overloaded. To help mitigate this, we designed the solution so that traffic on the RoR server was separate from traffic for .uk usual registrations and other operations we run. 

Was there a webinar on the RoR release and how do I get access to it? 

Please email us at [email protected] Please bear in mind the final allocations have now changed. 

Was I able to use existing contact IDs to create domains in the RoR EPP instance? 

You needed to use an EPP contact ID to successfully register a domain name to an existing contact. A Web Domain Manager (WDM) Contact ID would have failed.

Please note that contacts created in the testbed were not available in the production ROR EPP instance available during the release period.

It was advised that you did a contact create before the release. Further information on EPP commands can be found on our EEP Commands page.

How did I know that I was registering new .UK domains to the correct EPP ID? 

If you were unsure of the EPP contact ID then you could perform a <domain:info> command to check the contact exists and is correct. The contact needed to be created in the production or live ROR EPP instance ahead of submitting the create command during the release period. Further information on how to perform the <domain:info> can be found  on our EEP Commands page.

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