What you need to know about .uk domain names

.uk image
[caption id="attachment_1893" align="alignright" width="152"]Your right to a .uk domain name email An example of the email .co.uk domain owners have been receiving (click to see a larger version)[/caption]

If you own any .uk domain name – that means a .co.uk, .org.uk or anything else ending in .uk – then the chances are you will have received an email offering you the chance to buy the newly-released .uk domain name.

We’ve had a few clients get one of these and ask about it, so here’s what you need to do.

What does it mean?

.uk domain names only recently became available. Briefly, it means that instead of your website address being www.mybusiness.co.uk it can now be www.mybusiness.uk .

Is the email genuine?

While there are a few scam emails regarding domain names that appear from time to time, this one is absolutely legit.

It’s from Nominet, the UK domain registration authority, and essentially they are trying to get you to buy another domain name.

Why would they do that?

Because they want your money.

Here’s what Nominet’s gushing PR prose says about it: “The new .uk domain will be defined by the people who grab it and use this exciting new territory. If you are fearless, forward-facing and ready to be part of the new UK online, this is the domain for you.”

Can anyone else register the .uk version of my domain name?

No. At least not until 2019, when it becomes a free-for-all.

If you have owned the .co.uk version of a domain name since before June 2014, the .uk version has been reserved for you and no-one else can register it until June 2019, when it will become open to anyone to register.

Why would I want to do that?

Some people have already jumped in, including Stephen Fry, and Nominet themselves. In the case of Nominet, they are doing what most people will do with this – point their .uk domain name at their existing website.

So the idea is you buy the .uk domain name and if anyone types it in, they will be re-directed to the .co.uk.

What are Moghill doing?

Nothing. Frankly, we don’t see the point spending £40+ in buying the domain name that no-one else is allowed to buy. However, we’ll put a note in the diary for the end of 2018 to remind us to buy it before it becomes available.

Of course it’s up to you what you do, but we would advise doing the same.

What if I still want to buy the .uk version of my domain?

We can buy it on your behalf and point it at your site.

.uk domain names cost £5.99 + VAT per year (plus our admin fee of £10)

Contact us – a support ticket is fine – and tell us which domain you want. We can register it up to 10 years ahead for you.

More information

You can find out more on the Nominet website.

 

Our support service – and what it means for you

We use a system called Freshdesk to manage our support services, prioritise them and ensure we meet our support delivery time guidelines as much as possible.

It also means that if you have asked for help from us you can log in at any time and see the progress of your request and even add comments..

This service is for you if you have a problem with your website, or if you need something changed or updated.

What difference does that make to you?

In truth, not a lot. If you have an urgent query or support request in office hours, then still the best option is to phone us.

But if you need help out of office hours or it isn’t that urgent, then you can open a support ticket in one of three ways:

  • By clicking on the tab marked Open a support ticket on this website  – this opens a support form
  • By sending an email to help[at]moghill.co.uk (replace the [at] with @

How do I use it?

Any of these methods will generate a support ticket via e-mail. You can then respond to or add to the information in the ticket just by replying to the email or logging in to our support portal.

Sometimes, if you phone us with a non-urgent query or problem, we will create a support ticket for you to keep track of the issue.

The first time you use the system, you will receive an email with activation instructions that you should follow to be properly set up, however, if you prefer you can respond to tickets by replying to the email.

Service standards

Service is important to us, and we have been busy setting up new systems in order to serve you better. That’s why we now have target times for responding to and dealing with support requests:

[table id=1 /] [caption id="attachment_1558" align="alignright" width="423"]Give us your feedback Give us your feedback[/caption]

There’s a lot more information on support and how we do it in our Support Policy.

We want your feedback!

When we resolve your issue, whatever it may be, we will send you an email telling you so. If you need to, you can re-open your ticket by replying to the email.

At the bottom of the email you will see three faces and a link asking you to rate our support service.

Please give your feedback and help us improve our service to you.

 

Directories for free SEO – use with caution

Links are the lifeblood of the internet, which is why Google likes to see sites that are linked to from others. Therefore if there are no links pointing to your site, then your site will not do well in searches.

However, linking must be done with caution, thanks to years of people trying to trick Google into ranking sites higher than they should. Thousands, hundreds or even a few dozen links from random websites can seriously count against you – Google may penalise your site (or even remove it from search results entirely) if you get it wrong.

[box]

Website Health Warning!

Adding your website to multiple directories used to be a great way to improve visibility in searches, but not any more.

Since we first wrote this post, Google has progressively downgraded directories themselves and penalised sites that appear on poor quality directories (i.e. most of them) and this post was edited in 2017 to reflect that.

There will be a full post on directories soon on the main Moghill site. [/box]

What Google is looking for

thedroidswerelookingfor450Google (which accounts for 90 per cent of UK searches) is looking for three main things: Relevanceauthority and quality.

Google also wants to know your business is genuine – which is why sites on newly registered domain names tend to take a few months before they reach their natural position in searches.

A technique that we have found works is to list websites on a handful of well-chosen directory sites such as Yell.com. Despite downgrading of directories in search results, Yell still seems to score well.

Just go to Yell.com, create an account and set up a free listing for your business, not forgetting a link to your website.

We don’t recommend paying for Yell’s services, or any directory for that matter. Yell, like others, use their directory for lead generation, so be prepared to receive at least one sales call offering an enhanced listing and probably a new website, too.

Don’t be tempted – just take the free services and run!

Don’t overdo it!

Please don’t go mad and submit to multiple directories, as too many listings could be flagged by Google as being suspicious.

There are also a lot of spammy directories who have themselves been blacklisted or marked down, so there is a big difference between directories.

Always consider whether a directory is relevant to your line of work before submitting.

Find your niche

You may also know of directories specific to your line of business, and listings on these could be useful for what you do, for example directories run by a professional association.

Local directories – at least in Shropshire -are a complete waste of time as most, if not all, don’t appear in search results.

photo credit: Stéfan via photopin cc

Why does my website ask if I’m human?

This Captcha page blocks automated brute force attacks

If you have admin access to your website, you may have encountered something like the picture on this page when you try to log in to your admin area.

This is a security measure placed by our hosting company to defend your website against hacking attacks.

Note: Sometimes you need to refresh the page after entering the Re-Captcha code – do this if you get a blank screen.

[caption id="attachment_1328" align="alignright" width="400"]This Captcha page blocks automated brute force attacks This Captcha page blocks automated brute force attacks[/caption]

In April 2013 a new threat emerged, bombarding the login pages of popular content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and many others with automated login attempts. This is known as a Brute Force Attack.

Thousands of requests were hitting each log in page per second, which caused websites to crash. It is believed the attacks were intended to get in to the website admin areas by guessing commonly used usernames and passwords. It is not known what the hackers planned to do once they got in, but you can bet it wasn’t anything good.

The solution

Heart Internet’s solution is to place a page in front of the WordPress login page with a Captcha box that the automated attacks cannot read – therefore they can’t get through and slow down the affected site.

The protection isn’t there all the time, but it appears the attacks are continuing sporadically and when a new attack is launched, the Captcha page re-appears.

It also appears if Heart detects suspicious activity from one IP address and we’ve been caught out on this before when moving from site to site to do updates.

So while it may be a pain to get past, it’s far better than the alternative.

It also underlines the importance of using strong passwords for your WordPress login.

And it should be pointed out that there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that made it a target for these attacks (as long as it is kept up to date, which we do). It’s more to do with the popularity of WordPress, and the tendency of some website owners to use insecure passwords and not keep it up to date.

More information

 

 

Using strong passwords to keep your site and email secure

WordPress login screen

If you have back end access to your site, it’s vitally important to use secure, unguessable passwords – something like this: eA8iZvXoMi7w

The same is true of email accounts.

Why do I need secure passwords?

[caption id="attachment_1066" align="alignright" width="350"]WordPress login screen WordPress login screen[/caption]

Today it’s common for website login pages to be bombarded with automated attacks that ‘guess’ passwords and try them against common user names. It’s relatively easy for these attacks to gain access to the website’s user names, so secure passwords are the only way to stop them.

This password guessing is known as a dictionary attack, where the hacker runs a list of common passwords against your website. If that doesn’t work then the next stop is a Brute Force attack, which tries generating random passwords to get in.

In our WordPress sites we never use the default ‘admin’ user name, and we generate secure passwords.

What is a secure password?

A secure password should include both upper and lower case letters, numbers and even some punctuation – but the letters must be random.

The number of characters in your password is also important – eight characters can be cracked quite quickly, while 12 increases security dramatically.

Don’t be tempted to use a word that appears in a dictionary (in any language) or a name, even if you substitute some of the letters for numbers – for example, replacing an e with a 3: Hackers are clever people and they have already thought of that!

How to generate secure passwords

The best way to generate secure passwords is to use an online password generator. There are plenty available but here’s one example.

How Big is Your Haystack provides a nice way to test your passwords against known ‘brute force’ methods used by hackers.

Better still is to use a service like LastPass, which stores your passwords safely in an encrypted ‘vault’, prompts you went you need to enter your passwords, and will also suggest secure passwords when you are creating a new login. LastPass is free for most users, with a paid for version for extended functionality.