Colleges and Universities mainly use the .ac.uk domain names reserved exclusively for them. But they can also use other domains (urls) at their description and other training providers frequently prefer to use .co.uk or .com addresses for their websites and emails.
But what if the domain you want isn’t available? Well, you might still be able to pick it up. Some addresses aren’t used, people just buy them with a view to sell them. They cybersquat on them. Agencies that do this will offer urls at exorbitant fees. Think carefully before paying them. How much are they really worth?
Some addresses have been used but are going to expire for various reasons. It might be the businesses has ceased trading or changed business direction. In that case you can buy them once they are available.
But how do you get advanced warning of urls about to be released?
Check out sites like freshdrop.com and registercompass.com. These sites allow you to search by phrase or other criteria and look for recently expired names or those available for sale.
Florida based snapnames.com lets you see domains that are about to expire. So they might be renewed and not be available.
Of course there are also a number of url brokers out there like FastHosts, GoDaddy etc. and if you are building a news site it is often possible to buy a url through the host or other related companies.
Why Use Non Academic urls?
It is a good question. The answer is that a dedicated url can get much more traction on the search engines if the url name is related to a frequently used search term. E.g. CollegeOpenDay.Degree would be a great url to use to promote this very specific event at your college. (It is currently available if you want it .. just $44).