Why do we write GOV.UK in capitals? And why is the URL written lower-case? You may well have heard the reasons, but we've never actually written them down. Let's fix that now.
When we were thinking about names for the government website we came up with a number of ideas, but soon realised it already had an identity people knew – that little bit of the end of the URL, gov.uk.
To formalise the name we simply put it in capitals, GOV.UK. We did that because we want it to be absolutely clear that this is the name and identity of the government website. So, when using the name of the government's website, we use upper-case: GOV.UK.
But, when we want to tell people the URL, we want it to look like a URL, so we put it in lower-case, with the three w's: www.gov.uk.
So that's it in writing. When writing the name, GOV.UK, please use capitals. When writing the URL, www.gov.uk, please use lower case. Thanks.
Update - July 2014
When we put this post up, one of the first questions someone asked in the comments under that post was: how should we say it out loud?
The answer is like this: “GOV dot UK”. Or more phonetically: “guv dot yew kay”. And, if you’re saying the URL out loud, say the “www dot” too.
Saying the dot out loud helps people know that we’re talking about a website, and tells them exactly where to find it.
All the listener has to do next is type what they’ve heard into their web browser and they’ll end up at the right place.
So there you go. When you say it out loud, say “GOV dot UK”.