WiscWeb - Domain naming Guidelines for WiscWeb

This document will explain the options for choosing a domain for a WiscWeb website. These guidelines may not apply to sites that are not hosted by WiscWeb.

If you are preparing to launch your WiscWeb website, there are certain items that must be considered when choosing your domain name.

Basic domain policy

In WiscWeb, each University organizational unit/entity is allowed one sub-domain of wisc.edu. The domain name should be recognizable to campus by either keyword or abbreviation and should accurately describe the group or program to which it refers. Whenever possible, organizational units and groups should request Fourth Level Campus Domains that reference the larger college, division, or department in the sub-domain.

Unsupported domains for WiscWeb

Vanity and alias URLs

The creation of domains for the purpose of redirecting to other URLs or pages of your WiscWeb site are not included in our service. Instead, we recommend using Go URLs for this purpose.


WiscWeb sites cannot be published to sub-directories/sub-folders. All new domains under the WiscWeb offering are required to run under their own domain name and can't be published to a sub-folder. Please review the Supported Domains for WiscWeb below and choose a new domain.

Non-wisc.edu domains (.org, .com, .net, .coop, etc.)

WiscWeb can no longer support new sites publishing to non-wisc.edu domains (aka any domains purchased from a 3rd party registrar like GoDaddy). If you require a non-wisc.edu URL for your site, you will need to request a wisc.edu domain at site launch and redirect your .org, .com, .coop (etc) to this domain. If you have any questions about this change, please connect with WiscWeb support at help@doit.wisc.edu.

Wordpress.com domains

If you have a Wordpress.com site, we can work with you to transition the content over to WiscWeb. However, we will not be able to host the site under the Wordpress.com domain. Please review the Supported Domains for WiscWeb below and choose a new domain. (Please Note: You will be able to redirect your old URL to a new URL using the instructions provided by WordPress).

Anything considered "unacceptable" in DoIT's DNS Name Selection Policy

WiscWeb follows the campus guidelines for reserving wisc.edu domains. We will not be able to reserve a domain that is considered unacceptable by these standards.

Previously-established domains

If a specific domain is already in use, we will not necessarily be able to obtain it for you. Consider alterations to the domain like abbreviations or creating a fourth level domain off of your unit/division/department site. If you have concerns over who owns the domain currently, let us know and we can facilitate that conversation with the other group.

Wiscweb.wisc.edu domains as production domains

Your WiscWeb site will be allotted a preview URL/domain upon creation. This domain is not meant to be used as the production domain or public URL for the site. Instead, we require that site owners choose a 3rd or 4th level domain for their project, which the site will publish to upon launch.

Supported domains for WiscWeb

Third level campus domains

Third level wisc.edu domains appear as third.wisc.edu (Example: wiscweb.wisc.edu)

The criteria that Hostmasters apply and the chain of escalation for approval of third level domains are outlined in DoIT's DNS Name Selection Policy.

Third level domains require a rationale for their use and approval from University Marketing. The following information is helpful in determining whether or not you meet the requirements of eligibility for a third level domain and should be included in the "Description of Site" area of the WiscWeb Launch Request Form:

  • The scope of the website
  • List all groups or departments that have ownership over the site contents

If the scope of your site lies within one department/division (does not cross departments or divisions), you should build off of the existing department/divisional site using a fourth level domain.

Fourth level campus domains

Fourth level wisc.edu domains appear as fourth.third.wisc.edu. (Example:  ortegalab.bmolchem.wisc.edu)

When possible, organizational units and groups should request fourth level domains that reference the larger college, division, or department in the sub-domain rather than a new third level domain. A best practice would be to vet these domains through your overarching group/dept/division to ensure you're using the correct sub-domain and also getting permission to relate your site to that sub-domain.

Website administrators can submit new fourth level domain requests without any additional justification provided the third level domain that you are referencing already exists.


Request fourth level domains for lab sites

Lab sites on campus typically publish to fourth level domains. These can either reference the larger unit/department/division, or you can choose to publish it as a sub-domain under labs.wisc.edu.

Check for existing domains

A really easy way to test if a domain is already in use is to just type it into a browser. If it doesn't resolve anywhere, you're probably good to request it. If it resolves to an existing site or gives you anything other than the "This Site Cannot Be Reached" message, it is unlikely that you'll be approved for the domain as it is probably already in use.

Fourth level domains are the safest bet

Fourth level domains do not require a justification and aren't as thoroughly regulated as third level domains. If you are concerned your request for a third level domain might be denied, consider a fourth level domain, instead.

Keywordsdomain, URL, website, wordpress, DNS, domains, policy, address, launch   Doc ID87775
OwnerJenna K.GroupWiscWeb
Created2018-11-15 13:38:35Updated2024-04-11 13:09:44
SitesDoIT Help Desk, WiscWeb
Feedback  3   3