The new system comes into effect on Thursday (1 August), and will run in parallel with the existing procedure until the beginning of November, when the full switchover will take place.
At present, Nominet assumes that all .uk domain name registrations will be renewed. As a result, even if the registration agent does not pay the renewal fee, Nominet makes substantial efforts to contact the domain name holder to check that they do not wish to renew the registration before it is cancelled.
Under the new system, if a domain name is not renewed by the due date, Nominet will make one final attempt to contact the registrant. If the renewal fee is not paid within 30 days, the domain name will be suspended for 60 days before it is cancelled.
"These moves are designed to release .uk domain names that are no longer wanted as quickly as possible," said Lesley Cowley, managing director of Nominet UK.
"At the same time, the 60-day suspension period - during which the domain name remains in the register but does not function - will serve as an additional reminder to registrants to renew the name and therefore help to prevent the inappropriate cancellation of domain names.”
As part of the change, Nominet will be allowing renewals to be requested up to six months ahead of the due date.
There will also be an option of automatic renewal, whereby the domain name will be renewed every two years and the fee included on the next invoice sent to the registration agent, with neither the registrant or their agent needing to take further action.