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WiscWeb - WordPress UW Theme - Domain Naming Guidelines for WiscWeb

This document will explain the options for choosing a domain for a site that will sit in the WiscWeb multi-site instance.

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 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. Domains
If you have a 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 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 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. 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 domains appear as (Example:

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 domains appear as (Example:

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. 

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

 Purchased Domains from Third-Party Registrars

If you already purchased a domain (.org, .net, etc.) from a third-party domain registrar, you can use it for your new WiscWeb project.

Please Note: 
  • You or someone in your department will need to have access to the account credentials for your purchased domain so that administrative functions can be performed.
  • Prices of these domains will vary depending on the registrar company and type of domain and you will likely be required to renew it periodically.


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

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 ok 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.

Keywords:domain, URL, website, wordpress, DNS, domains, policy, address, launch   Doc ID:87775
Owner:Jenna K.Group:WiscWeb CMS
Created:2018-11-15 13:38 CDTUpdated:2020-09-02 15:46 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, WiscWeb CMS
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