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What Are the Rules for Buying European Domains




6:33 pm on Apr 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

What are the rules and guidelines for buying domains in Europe when you are a US Company? Anyone know where I might find this info?


9:18 pm on Apr 3, 2010 (gmt 0)


Who can register a .eu domain name?

Any company or organisation based in the European Union and any natural person living in the EU is eligible to register a .eu domain name. These eligibility criteria are defined in article 4 of the EC regulation 733/2002.

Ahem...there are loads of non-Europeans who have registered and squatted on .eu names!


1:14 pm on Apr 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

For European ccTLDs (.co.uk, .ie, .fr, .be, .de, .es, .pt, .nl, .at etc etc ) the registration rules vary depending on the country. Some are straightforward and some are complicated.

There are a number of companies who specialise in European domain names. I use <removed company name/link>

[edited by: Webwork at 4:38 pm (utc) on Apr 5, 2010]
[edit reason] Per Charter we don't allow direct or implied endorsements of service providers [/edit]


3:58 pm on Apr 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

Apologies, I've just realised you wrote European, not .eu!

Anyway, here is the official IANA list of ALL the different country extensions, if you click on an extension you require you should be able to find the controlling registrar for that specific country at the bottom of each page:


The .co.uk is probably the easiest to register, .it is not too difficult however the rules vary from country to country with some insisting on residency or at least a valid contact address, some registrars offer this service for free, some charge.

You do realise how many countries there are in Europe if you were to buy each extension?

For instance do you know of .im, .je, .gg and .gi amongst many others?


2:27 am on Apr 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Just looking at the main English speaking ones......what are the ost comon domain extensions that I should be buying? Anyone?


8:37 am on Apr 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

IIRC there are only three that you can buy.

.co.uk, .org.uk and .ie

I have no idea if there are restructions in Irish domains.


8:47 am on Apr 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

There are restrictions on Irish .ie domains:



1:19 pm on Apr 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just looking at the main English speaking ones

Well that's .co.uk, I doubt you really want to go for Gibralter, Jersey, Isle of Man and Cyprus?

The biggest domain registry in Europe and the most spoken first language is German, .de, which is also the language in Austria and one of the official languages of Switzerland. Many countries also teach German along with English as a must-have basic plus north east Italy, part of the old Austrian Empire, also speaks both Italian and German.

Realistically you need to decide which is your main target market, presumably the UK in this case, and focus on that.

Fortunately for you many in Europe do speak English as a second language and many do use the "Web" option when searching however what you see on a European "Web" as opposed to USA Google.com is another thing altogether!

When you are ready for other markets you really need to have them professionally translated, buy the relevant domain extensions and then host in that country.

For instance have a look here:


You will see that not only do you have the choice of:

Suche: Das Web - Search The Web
Seiten auf Deutsch - Pages In German
Seiten aus der Schweiz - Pages From Switzerland

You ALSO have the choice of:

Google.ch angeboten in: English franšais Italiano Rumantsch

Basically Google.ch offer in English French Italian and Rumantsch

Just believe me when I tell you it is not a simple case of launching a site in Europe and they will come, you will need to spend a huge amount of time, energy and resources in getting it right for each market.

I know we're not supposed to drop link therefore I'll send you a sticky on how one US corporation has done it.

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