back to article Nominet forgets what the first .uk domain name was

Twenty-five years ago somebody registered the first .uk domain name, and now Nominet, the .uk registry manager, wants to know what that domain was. Speaking at the organisation's annual registrars' meeting at the Science Museum in London on Thursday, Nominet director of marketing Phil Kingsland appealed for information about …


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  1. /dev/null

    To be specific...

    Are we talking about the first .uk domain in the DNS, or the first UK. name in the JANET NRS? The latter would come first, I think, but the early history of the NRS is not well documented. For those too young to remember, here's a presentation on the pre-Internet days of wide-area networking in the UK....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Dumb Question

    Why would we have been given a TLD of .gb rather than .uk? Considering the name of our country is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    1. /dev/null


      There is an international standard for 2- and 3-letter country codes (ISO 3166), and, like it or not, the UK's 2-letter code in ISO 3166 is "GB". ccTLDs are based on ISO 3166. The fact that .gb is an almost entirely unused TLD is largely due to the pre-Internet JANET NRS naming scheme ignoring this standard.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      because GB is the standard accepted abbrieviation, you'll see it used all over the world from passports and car number plates, to phone directories.

      (note in the passport the unique ID number is prefixed with the country code GB although it does have the full wording of UK of GB & NI on the front)

      I too, have always found this unusual though as in some caes it includes Northern Ireland, but in others it does not and as you say the United Kingdom is of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which seems to preclude NI from being part of GB but both are encompassed by UK.

      Perhaps we need to campaign for GB to be updated to UK in all other cases to include NI correctly, afterall its the US not just A.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        geography != politics

        > seems to preclude NI from being part of GB but both are encompassed by UK.

        Technically GB is a geographical term, referring to "the big island off the coast of Brittany". We can probably blame the Normans and their descendants. They had Bretagne (what English-speakers now call Brittany in what we now call Northern France), and having taken over a goodly chunk of the island next door they referred to it as Grande Bretagne (Big Brittany), which could perhaps have been better translated as "Greater Britain", in the same way we talk about Greater London, rather than Great Britain. Ireland came along into the political fray a bit later, and the whole idea of the UK much later again.

        By the time ISO got involved they should certainly have used UK, not GB, but then the French think that "Angleterre" means the whole island anway, and most are barely aware of the existence of Welsh or Scots, let alone the complexities of we Norn Irish.

        C'est la vie.

        1. rpjs

          Uh not quite

          The island has "always" been Britain for values of "always" back to at least pre-Roman times, hence Latin "Britannia" and modern Welsh "Prydain" from older Celtic variants.

          When the Romans withdrew from Britain in the early fifth century and the Anglo-Saxons started to invade, some Romano-British Celts moved from south western Britain to the Armorica peninsula in the north-west of what was then still-Roman Gaul. That area became known as Brittany/Bretagne, as it was now inhabited by Britons/Bretons. Until Cornish died out iin the late 18th century it was at least partially mutually intelligible with Breton.

          As you say, the French then started to call the island Grande Bretagne to distinguish it from their Bretagne, but the island had the name first.

        2. Vulch

          Other way round

          The Romans called the big island Britannia. When they withdrew and the Saxons started moving in a lot of the Romano-British moved across to an area of northern Gaul which became known as Little Britannia, or Britanny. 1600 years later and areas with a large immigrant population from a single area are still referred to as Little X.

      2. skellious

        My EHIC card...

        says UK...

        My driving licence...

        says UK...

    3. Bob H

      All hail the ISO

      The answer to your question lies in ISO 3166 according to RFC1591:

      "The IANA is not in the business of deciding what is and what is not a country. The selection of the ISO 3166 list as a basis for country code top-level domain names was made with the knowledge that ISO has a procedure for determining which entities should be and should not be on that list." - Jon Postel (RIP)

      Google is your friend... I'll get my coat.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

    5. Vulch

      As the story says

      By following the convention all other cc tlds use.

      The ISO two letter code for the country is gb, not uk.

    6. Richard Gadsden 1

      Why should we be .gb?

      ICANN, when issuing ccTLD delegations use ISO 3166 as the standard for defining the ccTLDs.

      ISO 3166's position on this is:

      Why is the United Kingdom (of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) coded GB in ISO 3166-1?

      The codes in ISO 3166-1 are - wherever possible - chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code. Since name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity. The name components United and Kingdom are not appropriate for ISO 3166-1. Therefore the code "GB" was created from Great Britain and not "UK" for United Kingdom. Incidently, GB is also the United Kingdom's international road vehicle distinguishing sign - the code on the oval nationality stickers on cars.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .gb not .uk

      Because the ISO 3166 country code for United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is GB?

      The ISO code is GB because of some twaddle about the code being "chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code" and "name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity".

      The fact that the The UK is commonly referred to as "The UK" doesn't seem to matter to ISO. The United States of America gets to be "US" though.


    8. Mike007 Bronze badge

      re: dumb question

      perhaps because our countries 2 letter code is GB not UK? (and 3 letter code GBR) which would be why you stick a "GB" sticker on your car, and why international events list us as "GB" (when we're not cheating by entering multiple teams anyway)

      I suspect you have no issues at all with the kingdom of norway simply being NO? after all kingdom is the type and norway is the name, like united kingdom is the type and great briton and northern ireland is the name... ok that doesn't quite work but you get the point!

      but then i can't really complain about you not knowing our code is GB, at least you knew the countries name, that's probably better than half the population...

      1. xj25vm

        Correcting the correction

        "but then i can't really complain about you not knowing our code is GB, at least you knew the countries name, that's probably better than half the population..."

        Hmm - that seems to include you:

        "like united kingdom is the type and great briton and northern ireland is the name... "

        How about "Great Britain" - not "great briton"?

        You've got to love it ...

    9. Chris Miller


      There is an ISO standard for 2 and 3-letter country codes that is followed by the country-code domains, with one big exception. Look up the ISO-codes for "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and you'll find it's GB/GBR, not UK. This will not be news to those old enough to remember X.400 addresses*.

      Rumour has it that in the earliest days of the international Internet, it was decided to use .uk because .gb might offend citizens of N Ireland, and since no-one was using UK as an ISO-code, no problem. Then the USSR fell apart and Ukraine needed a country code - they had to settle for UA.

      * Strapline: you're not a real man unless your email address is too long to fit on your business card.

      1. Grendel

        Email too long?

        ... but the only reason my email doesn't fit on my business card is all these bloody bang-hosts:



    10. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

      ISO and the Ukraine

      The Ukraine also wanted UK, so the people deciding ISO 3166 decided no-one got it. The UK got GB, the Ukraine got UA, and the good folk of Northern Ireland got something else to be miffed about.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: ISO and the Ukraine

        Can everyone stop responding to 'Dumb Question' now please? Ta!

    11. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward rather than .uk?

      That's the official code under ISO 3166. It's used (with ISO 639) for defining locales - in computing you'll be familiar with "en_GB", and you'll also see it as a sticker on cars. I expect there weren't any Northern Irish around in Brussels or Geneva or wherever, on the day the ISO standard was set.

    12. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon


        @Peter Snow.

        Look up member states of the EU and let me know if you see 'England' on there will you?

  3. JimC

    Before Nominet....

    ******y commercialised domain registrars were one of the big mistakes... Look at what they led to cybersquatting, billions of spam domains, difficulty in identifying holders...

    In 1994 when I registered [countyname] it was just one techie emailing another (the late Duncan Rogerson - a great guy then at Janet HQ) and things were much more civilised... By then it was all well established of course, we weren't early adopters...

    1. Ian Yates

      Can't believe I know this...

      Almost all other countries are named after their ISO 3166-1 2-character code.

      While I agree "uk" is a better code for the, well, UK, the ISO states we are technically GB.

      And yet, Northern Ireland doesn't have even have their own 2cc... so that's not even an accurate code...

  4. Martyns

    Not such a note-worthy event really

    In November 1996 I bought, I paid £250 for the year, after phone calls and emails trying to get the DNS setup I was told "We have decided not to allow two letter domain names".

    A few years later appeared and it reminded me I still had not received a refund so I contacted them again, this time there was no phone number and I never received a reply.

    And thus the great names extortion began.

    1. foo_bar_baz

      As usual

      Some are more equal than others.

    2. Matthew Robinson

      2 letters

      o2 was allowed because it was a letter and a number - not two letters. Two letters were reserved for cc's

      I sat on the old UK naming committee :)


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The IE Domain Registry got the same back hander

      About 6 weeks before O2 launched, the IEDR, which was in the midst of a long running dispute with "the community" about a lack of transparency, suddenly announced a rule change.

      "Domain names with 2 characters may be permitted provided that not both are letters. Two letter domains are still not permitted. "

  5. Pen-y-gors


    Surely if they'd used gb instead of uk then users in N.Ireland would have had a bit of difficulty - whilst many would happily use .ie others might object, and it would get very complicated?

  6. RichyS

    If we were .gb...

    ...then what about Northern Ireland?

    Adopting .ie is a bit 'republican', and .ni is already in use by Nicaragua.

  7. Bleepme
    Paris Hilton

    Who cares?

    No, really, who cares? What a silly article!

    --Paris, cos I work there.

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Who cares?

      Comments on stories that ask this question are my favourite thing about the whole internet.

      1. Steve X

        Sorry, but it's your own fault

        It's what you get for posting an article like that on a Friday afternoon...

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Sorry, but it's your own fault

          Who cares?

          1. blackworx

            Re: Sorry, but it's your own fault

            Really Sarah, who cares who cares? Not me anyway. Not even enough to finish writing this co

            1. Ted Dannington

              Tod Donnongton

              >Really Sarah, who cares who cares? Not me anyway. Not even enough to finish writing this co

              You are instantly and permanently* my new favourite person ever.


              1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

                Re: Tod Donnongton


          2. Anonymous Coward

            who cares?

            who cares if the moderatrix cares?

            fuck it. discussing this has to be a better way of spending friday afternoon until it's beer o'clock.

          3. Hollerith 1


   did it feel to be on the dishing-out end? :)

          4. CapitalW


            As I sit here my coffee on this windy sunny Sunday morning, I find myself wondering this:

            Who cares who cares?

            Now back to my irregularly scheduled programming, coat and all. And, no. my coat pockets never contained any ISO guides to read and get anally pedantic about.

    2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      No stinking title!

      I did care until I read all those replies above from sad sods who study ISO standards for nit-picky details about correct country codes! Please lads and lasses, get yourselves down the pub this afternoon, eh? Relax a little?

  8. Pirate Peter

    possible irony

    would it not be ironic if they where the first name register, and could not remember

    it would seem logical that they would be one of the first, if not the first??

    so like all other businesses like this, accurate record keeping is not their thing

  9. GrahamT


    I have no evidence, but, because of JANET's early implementation of networking standards, I would assume that domain names would have been somewhere near the beginning.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Why GB and not UK?

    Actually GB is the official ISO standard - although in real use UK is widely used instead.

    Why GB? ... from ISO site:

    The codes in ISO 3166-1 are - wherever possible - chosen to reflect the significant, unique component of the country name in order to allow a visual association between country name and country code. Since name components like Republic, Kingdom, United, Federal or Democratic are used very often in country names we usually do not derive the country code elements from them in order to avoid ambiguity. The name components United and Kingdom are not appropriate for ISO 3166-1. Therefore the code "GB" was created from Great Britain and not "UK" for United Kingdom. Incidently, GB is also the United Kingdom's international road vehicle distinguishing sign - the code on the oval nationality stickers on cars.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Redundant nationality stickers on cars

      In my household we laugh at people who have stuck the EU oval nationality stickers on their car when it already has a European number plate. I pointed it out to my kids to demonstrate how many idiotic people there are in the world.

      As above, the ISO decided on GB for the UK because Ukraine wanted the two letter code too -- so they gave UK to neither and lumbered us with naff sounding GB.

      1. arwel

        GB's a lot older than the ISO

        GB has been the UK's identifier since long before the ISO was created - it's been the car identifier since at least the late 1940s, while aircraft registrations have begun with G- since the dawn of aviation.

        1. Number6

          Not just G

          We don't only have G, but M and 2[A-Z] allocated for such purposes. Ships and radio amateurs are other users of identifiers in these categories.

        2. Grendel

          But aviation = callsigns

          ... but if you're going to bring up aviation then that takes us on to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and callsigns for which the UK was assigned the prefixes '2' (as in "London calling... 2LO calling"), 'G' (as used on all aircraft, telex numbers, ham radio callsigns) and 'M' (less used).

      2. xj25vm


        I see. Nothing to do with it being a requirement in many European countries - and getting fined by traffic cops when you are abroad if you don't have the said redundant oval sticker then?


        1. Rafael Moslin

          Oval Sticker fine?

          Not true, Euro style number plates with the country code on the left have been legal since 2001 in all of the European Community member states and therefore tandem oval stickers are not required. I would ask for your money back if you got fined!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bit Daily Mail

    "Nominet forgets what the first .uk domain name was"

    ...does not equal...

    "Nominet was not created until 1996 ... by then there were already 26,000 .uk domains, so records prior to that date are incomplete"

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Bit Daily Mail

      It's tongue-in-cheek. Have you been here before?

  12. Nick Kew


    First .uk domain I accessed the net from wasn't .uk. It was in JANET form, starting with Switched to [....] in about 1991.

    Before that, forms of address were provider-specific. I recollect in the late '80s - when networks ran on infrastructure like 'prestel' and 'telecom gold' - an address in telex form for my online self.

    1. MrT

      I remember...

      ... a brief comment given by Tim Berners-Lee when he spoke to a group of us staff at University of Leeds back in 1994/5 that he would have prefered the WWW naming convention to be like JANET, but since the Internet naming conventions had been shaken out by the time WWW hit the wires it was left following the model. There was a transition time from one to other, but by the time JANET had become SuperJANET the uni's were on

      1. Chris Fox

        Lost in translation

        I remember when the conventions were in the process of being changed. The translation was ambiguous if the subdomain was also a valid country code. On at least one occasion my email to the Eurotra project (, JANET style) ended up being routed to Ethiopia. The solution was to spend a day calculating a BitNet bang path -- which routed the email along a manually determined path through mutually accessible servers -- and hope none of the individual links were down. Lovely. Perhaps this is one reason why two letter subdomains later came to be discouraged.

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      I remember...

      when my email address was ;)

  13. Anonymous Coward

    perhaps it was



    Created equally

    " that the country was assigned .uk, rather than the .gb " - No, two TLDs were assigned to Blightly - .gb and .uk. .uk was a mistake because it was derived from the earlier JANET system. .gb was still created at the same time, but sadly fell into disuse. It would be nice to have a specific timeline, but I have not found one, yet.

    bash-3.2# nslookup

    Using /etc/hosts on: y7-059

    looking up FILES

    Trying DNS

    Non-authoritative answer:



  15. Leeroy

    We were not around

    To be honest, i dont have much faith in Nominet and why is dealing with .uk names a pain in the ass compared to .com's etc ?

    Even if they were around when the first name was registered i am quite sure they would have lost the paperwork years ago.

  16. David Precious
    Pint should have been first, one would assume

    My guess would go for

    1. Anonymous Coward

      From whois...

      Relevant dates:

      Registered on: before Aug-1996

      Last updated: 16-Nov-2004

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If you fancy a laugh, take a look at

  17. Anonymous Coward

    No irony

    @Pirate Peter - no irony. Nominet wasn't set up until 1996, so there is no chance that their domain was first (although the WHOIS does list it as a pre-Nominet name).

    @Martyns - two letter domains have been treated differently to number-letter or letter-number ever since, so is different to Nominet are only now releasing the two letter domains.

    As for using ISO codes, that was Jon Postel (as IANA) trying to avoid politics and ICANN has stuck with that. UK would normally go to Ukraine, I think. .gb is still around (registered to UKERNA) as security.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    GB makes so much more sense than UK

    When the House Of Windsor is finally made redundant* there will no longer be a kingdom, united or otherwise. It therefore makes good sense to use GB. Britain already uses GB for major sporting events such as the Olympics.

    *It could be successfully argued that it already is.

    1. DRendar

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Don't be silly.

      The royal Family bring BILLIONS of pounds worth of tourism to this country every year. Outstripping what they 'cost' the taxpayer by an order of magnitude.

      What the hell else is there for dumb tourists to come to the UK for to gawp at? The weather?

      Get rid of the Royal Family, and this country would be truly fucked. It's not like we actually export anything* anymore is it?

      * In Significant quantities

  19. Z80

    @Pirate Peter

    It won't seem so logical if you read the article.

  20. blackworx

    Comic Book Man

    Worst. Comment thread. Ever.

  21. jake Silver badge

    PIPEX and/or Demon

    Shirley ... Unless I missed one in the late '80's or early '90s BIND rush ;-)

  22. andy 45

    ..wait for it...

    "It's well-known that the first .com domain was, originally registered to a now-defunct Lisp computer maker in March 1985, but less information is available about the origins of .uk."

    ...I think somebody's talking symbolics....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      There had to be a symbolic link


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    MoD or UCL

    I believe .uk was the third top level domain to be established after .edu and .us. This predated dns and would have been in 1982 or 3.

    .uk was run with a hosts.txt file and the first sub-domains being either ucl or mod.

    dns came in in 85 or 86 and the first sub-domains in that were copied from the UK NRS from the X.25 world (, and so there probably wasn't a first dns sub-domain for uk.

    This work was done by UCL CS and at least 2 people directly involved are still there.

  24. Jonathon Desmond

    What about .oz?

    Reading these comments has reminded me about the death of ".oz"

    And I thought I'd let that pain pass years ago......

  25. Jim Morrow

    so much bollocks, so little time

    Domain names started in the UK long before Nominet or the Naming Committee which spawned it.

    DNS names in the UK were originally handled by GBnet, the ISP which had its orgins in the UKnet UUCP business which was spun out from the University of Kent.

    And prior to that, there was a UK domain name space which didn't use the DNS at all. It hadn't been invented then. The earliest UK domain names were in the NRS which was run from the University of Salford. It had for academics and for commerce. The NRS name space was imported into the .uk DNS name space until everyone saw the light and Internet protocols prevailed. Then this Naming Committee was set upand Nominet was formed.

    Amid other bollocks posted here is the same old shite about Ukraine and UK. There has never been an issue here. The 2 letter ISO code for Ukraine has existed for as long as the UK's ISO code. ISO gave them UA and us GB. They didn't care about the 2 letter string UK, probably because the ISO list preceded the invention of the computer. Even if the ISO list only started 20-30 years ago, ISO still would not have cared about computer networking or allowed that to influence their decisions. This explains why CS has returned 10-15 years after it went away when Checkoslovakia split.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: so much bollocks, so little time

      "... the same old shite about Ukraine and UK. There has never been an issue here. [Ukraine] didn't care about the 2 letter string UK, probably because the ISO list preceded the invention of the computer."

      Or perhaps because they use Cyrillic script and there is probably *no* pair of Latin letters that does their country name justice.

  26. Kai Lockwood

    LOL, silly Britons

    You twits are more concerned about the country code than the fact that all records of your internet history ARE LOST!!

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      not lost ...

      ... they're on a train somewhere

      1. GrahamT

        No, not lost...

        We just put them down somewhere and can't put our hands on them at the moment.

  27. MR W B Jones
    Thumb Up

    What is and what is not the UK

    This is always handy to work out the uk

  28. Richard 120

    To answer the question.

    Do any Reg readers know what the first .uk domain was?


    1. GrahamT

      True, but...

      conjecture is so much more fun than plain, dry facts.

  29. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @MoD or UCL

    As a young student at UCL 25years ago I was sent to the computer centre to find somebody to get our department's new Sun3 hooked up to this Janet stuff.

    I forgot his name, but it was explained to me - just go and find the guy with the white beard and sandals = not the most useful description for the UCL computer centre back then.

    1. jake Silver badge

      We have a winner!

      I just dug a routing table out of my archives ... dated March 5th, 1982 (very early on in TCP/IP time, there are fewer that 40 nodes total listed!) ... Shows UCL at, with UCLNET behind it, listed as, and no other direct-to-GB links. Granted, this was before DNS (or even HOSTS, if I remember correctly; most of us used Jon Postel's list for connectivity (RIP, Jon)) ... But I think it's safe to make the assumption.

  30. Michael Jennings

    Australia used the wrong domain name too, but shifted.

    When I first started using the net in Australia (late 80s) most traffic to and from Australia used the store and forward network ACSNet. At that time, Australia used the top level domain .oz, although the correct ISO 3166 code is .au . When Australia got a more full time connection to the internet (AARNet) in 1989, we switched over to the ISO 3166 code .au, and the existing domains became second level domains within this, so (for instance) uow.oz became, and other second level domains were set up alongside this. Many sites used two names alongside one another for a while (so and would both work) and in most instances the domains were eventually dropped. There are still a few in use though - for instance gets you the Computer Science department at the University of Melbourne, who were the people who put most of this together in the first place.

    British e-mail addresses were once the other way round to the rest of the world, too (so, for instance would have been correct), but that is a different story.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely a safe guess.

    1. 601759

      miles away!

      this was at least 8 years after the first DN, so nu puoints for that one, greg the guy who has it now has got some amazing generics and drops though! :-)

  32. The Nameless Mist
    Paris Hilton

    When is a UK not equal to a GB

    It all boils down to terminology.

    GB = Scotland England and Wales

    The main island landmass as a geographic and political entity.

    UK = GB + Northern Ireland

    The main island plus northern island, so its a POLITICAL entity.

    The BRITISH ISLANDS = UK + Isle of Man and the Channel islands

    The BRITISH ISLES = GB + the islands + the entire IRISH Island (Eire and Northern ireland)

    Thats a Geographic Entity.

    Paris - because ..well just because

  33. Robert E A Harvey
    Thumb Down

    how can they not know?

    Surely their only purpose is to keep records? If they've not done that then how can they settle disputes about ownership of domains?

    If they don't know then shut 'em down and give the job to someone who owns a filing cabinet.

  34. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Janet addresses

    The Janet format "" makes a lot more sense if you are writing a router - you just keep matching parts of the name with your local name until something doesn't fit.

    One of the reasons that 2 letter domains weren't allowed (along with domains beginning with a number) was that when DNS came along there were a lot of bits of hacked together scripts trying to guess which way round your address was and how to translate it to the other format

  35. John Savard


    If the ISO country code is "gb" instead of "uk" on the basis that "United Kingdom" is a generic form of government designator, like "Republic", then why is it that the country code for the United States of America is "us" instead of "am"?

    That designation would make more sense than designating the United Kingdom as .gb, because Brazil was once (it isn't now) Los Estados Unidos do Brasil, on the one hand, while no one else is a United Kingdom, and, on the other hand, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland definitely includes a place that isn't part of Great Britain, it is only the Americas, and not America, that is bigger than the United States of America.

    However, I am forgetting one thing. While the distinction between "the Americas" and "America" is hard and fast and utterly ambiguous in English, in the Romance languages it is nonexistent. And, of course, ISO is an international organization. So I can see why they would strongly resist .am while not caring about .gb .

  36. -tim

    So much history lost in time

    The uk was used in uucp bang addresses so I expect a quick look at a historical uucp map might let you know which address was first. I think the universities were first with to use .uk but the first might be a English branch of a American company.

    Mines the one with .oz email address in the pocket.

  37. Tatsky

    Surely when the system was tested...

    The first domains setup would have been along the lines

    several tests later...

    ok, I need a new joke book this christmas.

  38. BitBotherer

    Norn iron

    How about

  39. Slx

    Who cares what the ISO says? :)

    .uk is far more recognisable than .gb, which could be Gibraltar or Gabon

    Ireland got stuck with .ie / IE which is only correct in French!


    EI would have made more sense *EI*re as per the aircraft call signs.

  40. Stephen Usher

    It was probably

    Seeing as the first ARPAnet node in the UK was based in the basement of the Computer Science department at UCL, this was probably the first to get a DNS entry.

    From what I remember being told in the late 80s, it was in a secure location as ARPAnet at that time was still a secure network, at least for nodes outside the USA.

  41. CapitalW

    Well, duh!

  42. tref

    One domain only

    I was chatting to Nominet CEO about this very question at the Parliament and Internet conference recently. What is amazing is that you were only allowed one domain name in those days and it had to be submitted before a committee before being approved!

    More here

  43. Anonymous Coward

    most likely one thats still well known

    given that in the 'big change' we lost the chance of ever having a TLD .uk address like the rest of the world all names must be a sub-realm of,, etc then I'd say its a fair change that one of the early prehistoric .uk was the first... eg

    there are only about 6 such domains

  44. Anonymous Coward


    This whole UK/GB debate reminds me of the finlands countre sticker for cars which used to be for years SF, from Suomi Finland. Some wise asses claimed it was for Soviet Finland. Nowadays its FIN, even tho there is no risk for it being mistaken for Soviet. Not even a token respect for the finnish language.

    On the bright side, nowadays wiseasses say it's for the dumb swedish toll officers. Now they know where the car ends.

  45. Zebad

    Probably one of the domains on this list?

    I recall my workstation ( - a Sun IPX, hosting some plant path electron micrograph images - along with being my general use development & games-playing system!) being the 92nd advertised web server in the uk - I can't remember which list it was on, way back in the mists of time - I do recall that at that time, wasn't around (or at least I can't remember it).

    This list has 422 known servers in the UK, 389 in the domain, with 100 unique domains - so this list was created a while later - but it's the only one I can now find that lists my workstation, so it's a starting point.

    There's a high probability that the first registered domain will be among these 100.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nominet = shambles

    I tried to register a city name under the "old" system (just before the switch to Nominet). Was told it was rejected (old system didn't allow city names). A few weeks later we got charged (£200?) and complained at which point we learnt that we HAD got the domain. If I recall correctly the old naming committee didn't charge, Nominet did.

    Turn the clock forward a decade and Nominet wrote to us to say thay had no record of ownership and it was up to us to prove the domain was ours or we'd lose it (now with our website and email using it and a substantial commercial resale value). I would have thought that the fact we had been actively using the domain for 10 years was quite a strong indication that Nominet or the predecessor committee had decided that we owned it. Under the old system the fee was a one off, we'd paid that and never been asked for the Nominet renewal fees. We were able to find sufficient old documentation to prove ownership but the episode did nothing to engender any confidence in Nominet's competence.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Surely uk. ?

    I remember the JNT addresses were all backwards i.e. of the form <person>

    (and an humorous article by an Irish academic mocking the fact that the rest of the world had it the other way around). Look up rec.humor.funny "British Prime Minister quits over Domain Ordering."

    So the question might be instead, what was the first uk. address?

    Mine's the one with old geek written on it.

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