.gb Domain Names

Why are there no .gb domain names?

Each country has an Internet Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). These are two letters long, and most of them correspond to the country codes defined in the ISO 3166-1 standard. For the UK, this code is GB not UK.

This occurred for historical reasons, as many early domain names were defined using the JANET NRS (Joint Academic NETwork Name Registration Scheme) which used UK rather than GB.


The JANET NRS (Joint Academic NETwork Name Registration Scheme) was developed for use on the academic and research networks in the 1970s before the Internet domain name server definitions had been fully defined.

These names differed in that they were:

  • written only in uppercase letters
  • started with top level (UK), then second level, then 3rd level

When changing from the JANET NRS to the ICANN domain name system, the .uk was kept for convenience. The planned change to .gb never happened.

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