DoIT DNS Name Selection Policy

DoIT DNS Name Selection Policy

DoIT staff members serve as the agent of the University of Wisconsin-Madison when they make and maintain entries in the institution’s DNS tables. DoIT performs several functions in this role:

  • Make and maintain entries in the campus DNS tables. This includes the development and implementation of procedures that ensure efficient and timely operations. Some of this work is delegated to individual units who maintain their own DNS tables, and have their own procedures for doing so.
  • Develop and implement policy and guidelines for IP number assignment. This is largely a technical issue. DoIT directly administers some IP number ranges. A system administrator seeking a “fixed IP number” in that range will request one from DoIT. A system configured to seek a “dynamic IP number” will receive one automatically through a DHCP server or other server administered by DoIT. Some ranges of IP numbers are allocated to departments who can assign them as needed. Much of this has evolved over the last 30 years.
  • Advise campus decision-makers who evaluate the suitability of DNS names. Advice from DoIT includes: information about the limitations of the technology, common patterns of name and address usage on the internet, and best practices for naming in the IT industry.
  • Implement naming conventions which have been developed by decision-makers. This includes procedures for escalating questionable cases for decision-makers to review.

Determining the appropriateness of DNS names

DoIT staff can determine the appropriateness of a proposed DNS name if the name is definitely acceptable or unacceptable according to the general naming conventions.

If the name is questionable, DoIT staff may suggest that an alternative name be selected. If the requester feels that the originally requested name should be accepted, DoIT will escalate the request internally. If the question cannot be resolved internally, DoIT will escalate to the CIO's office. If warranted, the CIO's office may escalate to University Marketing and/or UW-Madison Legal Services.

General naming conventions

Definitely Acceptable

Third or fourth level names beginning with: “www.”, “ftp.”, “mail.”, or other such names that are in common use on the Internet, provided that they are prefixed to an already approved name over which the requester has appropriate authority.

Definitely Unacceptable

Any word or phrase, at any level alone or in combination, that is offensive.

Offensive words or phrases include those that are: obscene, sexist, racist, sarcastic or otherwise disrespectful of persons, groups of persons, or the units and activities of the university. This includes not just words or phrases in English, but in other languages as well.


The determination that a name is questionable is a judgment call. It is not a rejection of the name, but a determination that the name should be reviewed by the appropriate decision-makers.

There are three general cases:

  • Any word or phrase that may be offensive.
  • Any word or phrase that appears to be non-business-like.

    A non-business-like name is one which is inappropriately humorous or which might confuse the user. A name should accurately represent content or purpose, and should not adversely affect the perception of the unit or the university as a whole.

    There is a long tradition of naming individual hosts from various mythologies, popular culture and other sources. Such a name may incidentally (or deliberately) obscure the content or purpose of the host. This practice is acceptable provided that the names are not inappropriately humorous.

  • Any word or phrase that is out-of-scope for the unit that is requesting it.

    A name is out of scope if:
    • the name implies a function which the unit or service does not perform, or
    • the name implies a function which other units or services also perform.

      For example:
      The name would be out-of-scope for any single department, school or college, because all academic units of the university are engaged in “learning”. It would also be out-of-scope for a single learning service, even if that service were campus-wide, because there are many learning services on campus.

Any DNS name using a persons proper name by itself in either a 4th or 3rd level name will not be allowed. However, a proper name used together with another phrase may be acceptable.

For example: is NOT acceptable. is OK.

An exception may be when a campus building is named after someone, such as the Morgridge Center for Public Service. They have the third level name

    Special cases for names of a particular form or pattern.

    The conventions regarding "offensive", "non-business-like" and "out-of-scope" also apply in each of these cases.

    • New second level names of the form “*.com”

      All new second level ".com" names must be approved by University Marketing. DoIT staff may suggest a ".org" or other alternative. If the requester feels the original name should be used, DoIT staff will escalate the request to University Marketing.

    • New third level names should represent a division, school, college, department, office, center or other organizational unit of the university, or a function of the university as a whole, or a service offered to the university as a whole.

      Third level names that represent particular projects or localized services are discouraged, even if the project or service involves multiple units of the university.

      When a third level name request is received, Hostmaster should find out the following:
      1. Content of the Page
      2. Intended Audience

      If there are any questions on whether a specific third level name request should be granted:
      • Hostmaster should discuss with the SNCC NOC manager (as of 9/2017, Nate Royko-Mauer) and other Hostmasters.

      If there is still a question:
        • Hostmaster should reply to the customer and say that their request is being escalated to University Marketing for review.

        • Hostmaster will escalate via email to:
          1. Nick Weaver, University Marketing 
          2. Danielle Cranmer, University Marketing
          Make sure to include details as who is asking for the third level name, page content, intended audience, etc. If further escalation is required, then Danielle and Nick will consult with the DoIT COO.

    KeywordsDoIT DNS Name Selection Policy third level name domain   Doc ID17471
    OwnerTim C.GroupDDI
    Created2011-03-25 18:00:00Updated2024-01-29 08:56:21
    SitesDNS, DHCP, and IPAM, Network Services, Systems & Network Control Center
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