You may already know that every school in the UK is entitled to a free .sch.uk domain name, but what are the benefits of using one, what are the things you should consider and how do you go about registering one for your school?
In this article, we’ll aim to tell you everything you need to know about .sch.uk domain names, why you need one and how to register yours.
Every school in the UK is entitled to a free .sch.uk domain name
All schools in the UK (including academies and nursery schools) are eligible to register a .sch.uk domain name of their choice. These domains follow the format below:
For example a .sch.uk domain name could look like this:
Why should your school website use a .sch.uk domain name?
First of all, it’s free! There are no renewal fees for .sch.uk domain names, so the only cost you’ll pay is the £3.75 + VAT registration fee. This is not the case for a normal .co.uk or .com domain name where you’ll pay a renewal fee, usually every 2 years.
Your .sch.uk domain name can be used for both your website and your school email accounts strengthening your school identity and branding.
Using a .sch.uk name will also bring your school into line with thousands of other schools all across the UK who already use one, and immediately identify your school to both website visitors and email recipients alike.
How to pick your .sch.uk domain name
Your .sch.uk domain name should follow the format below:
If you’re not sure what area your school falls under for this purpose, you can check the full list of school domain areas here.
Now it’s time to think about how your school’s name will appear in the domain name. For example, if your school’s name is St. Frederick’s Academy and your school is in Bedfordshire, your domain name could be any of the following:
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to deciding how your school’s name will appear, but the normal rules of domain registration apply – your domain should be memorable, not too long and easy to say out loud.
If there are multiple options then it’s always a good idea to circulate among your senior leadership team to make sure there’s agreement before registering the domain.
How to register your school's .sch.uk domain name
All .sch.uk names are registered through Nominet and you can find full instructions for how to register your domain here.
You’ll need to send Nominet the following details as a signed request on your school’s letterheaded paper:
ID number (your DFE number)
Contact email address
Preferred domain name (the domain name you’ve decided on)
Registrar’s (hosting ISP’s) tag
Choosing a domain registrar for your .sch.uk domain name
All domain names need a domain registrar who provide a control panel to manage your domain. Not all registrars support .sch.uk domain names though and some will charge a renewal fee when this is not required by Nominet.
We use Heart Internet to register our .sch.uk domain names. If you’d like to use Heart Internet to manage your .sch.uk domain name then you’ll need to specify the “Registrar’s tag” as “HEARTINTERNET” in your signed request.
Once you’ve submitted your request to Nominet, you’ll then need to create a user account with Heart Internet.
Then once your domain has been registered with Nominet it will transfer into your Heart Internet account where you’ll be able to manage it.
What should I bear in mind when switching my school website and email over to a .sch.uk domain name?
Once you’ve registered your .sch.uk domain name it’s time to start using it for your website and email accounts! There are a few things to keep in mind though when switching your website and email over from your old domain.
First of all you’ll need to transfer your website over to using the new .sch.uk domain. How to do this varies depending on the platform which runs your website but your website provider should be able to do this for you.
Then once your website is set up on your new .sch.uk domain, you’ll need to redirect your old website domain to point to your new domain. This ensures that anyone going to the old website address will automatically get forwarded to the new website address, and means that parents who don’t know the new address yet will still be able to find your website.
For example if your old site was at stfredericksschool.co.uk then you’d need to set up a web forwarding rule to redirect all web traffic from this old domain to your new .sch.uk domain. This can usually be done quite easily with your old domain’s registrar.
You’ll also need to update your domain on any printed material used in your school including your school prospectus, letterhead paper and anything else which lists your current domain.
When it comes to email accounts, it may take a little longer to get everything switched over as switching your domain is a much more involved process here.
The steps you’ll need to take will depend on which provider you use for your email accounts, but a phased approach may work best in this situation as there may be a lot of management involved in getting the new accounts set up, giving everyone their new login details and getting everything set up on users’ devices.
Can you manage my .sch.uk domain?
Yes we can manage your domain for you and make any adjustments to your domain settings (DNS). This is an extra service we offer to all of our WebsiteCare plan clients so that your website, hosting and domain name are all registered in the same place and easy for you to keep track of.
We can also help you get your domain transferred over to our provider – you will still own the domain though and we’ll make sure it’s registered using your name & address.