UChicago has over 5,000 web properties, and each requires a unique URL. Many of these properties utilize third- or fourth-level subdomains, which are situated within the uchicago.edu domain. 

The University has established domain name standards and common naming conventions that govern the use of subdomains including which websites are required to live on the uchicago.edu domain, how new subdomains are established, and the guidelines that new subdomains must follow.

What is a subdomain?

The University’s top-level domain and main website is www.uchicago.edu. Third-level (sitename.uchicago.edu) and fourth-level (sitename.division.uchicago.edu) subdomains are then created to better organize University websites and applications within the hierarchy of the top-level domain.

Subdomains are the extension that appears before the primary domain and identifies the website or application as a separate entity, such as school.uchicago.edu or center.school.uchicago.edu. This structure allows schools, divisions, and other campus units to better situate their website within the context of the primary University website, while ensuring efficient technical management and better searchability.

UChicago campus partners may request third- and fourth-level subdomains for uchicago.edu websites and applications based on the following guidelines. These guidelines help ensure our subdomains are allocated in a consistent process that maximizes options for website owners and encourages long-term use.

IT Services and University Communications review all uchicago.edu domain requests that follow the University’s domain standards and can be contacted at webhelp@uchicago.edu for any questions.

Naming Conventions for UChicago Websites

The University has established the following naming conventions that are used to determine subdomains for common types of websites and organize websites within the uchicago.edu domain based on their purpose and relationship within the organization: 

Third-Level Subdomain Guidelines 

Third-level domains are required to meet the following conditions:

  • Reflect the name of a University organizational unit (e.g., division, college, or department) or a consortium of many different organizations from inside or outside the university (e.g. law.uchicago.edu)
    • Schools
    • Departments
    • Divisions
    • Institutions or administrative organizational units
    • University-wide initiatives, resources and services
    • Corporate and foundation collaborations
  • Closely conform to the entity’s name to enhance findability and search engine performance
  • Serve as a resource to people or groups from outside the University that are not familiar with the University’s internal organizational structure (e.g. humanresources.uchicago.edu)
  • Contain between five and 20 characters

Proposed Requests Must Not:

  • Represent individuals or student groups
  • Contain hyphens or acronyms 
  • Use a generic word that could apply to multiple areas within the University (e.g. workshop.uchicago.edu) 
  • Use a word or phrase that could potentially conflict with future University websites (e.g. communications.uchicago.edu) 
  • Does not begin with, end with, or use any special characters. (e.g. communication-.uchicago.edu)
  • Does not contain trademarked or copyrighted names owned by non-University entities. (e.g. pepsi.uchicago.edu)
  • Reflect obscene, offensive, misrepresent their purpose or detrimental to the University's reputation. (e.g. stupid.uchicago.edu)
  • Represent a multi-institutional initiative that is not a majority UChicago entity

Fourth-Level Subdomain Guidelines

Fourth-level domain names help place your website within the context of the University and should reflect your site’s affiliation with the University. Requests must originate from the UChicago entity associated with the third-level domain name.

Domain Mapping

Domain mapping is the process of assigning a uchicago.edu subdomain to an existing website and masking the native URL in the browser. Two examples of why domain mapping might be requested include masking the native Voices URL (voices.uchicago.edu/sitename) or assigning the subdomain to a website hosted outside of UChicago servers.

Redirects

Redirects are URLs that direct users to a different URL from the one they requested. Possible reasons for setting up redirects include:

  • Retiring an existing website while ensuring that any visitors trying to access a link to the old website will have a path to an alternative website or page
  • Temporarily directing users to an alternate page
  • Rebranding or marketing purposes

Third-level subdomain requests for redirect purposes will not be approved. Units may purchase a .org to redirect to their primary websites, with the exception of Voices websites. Please open an IT Services ticket if you are interested in purchasing a .org domain. 

Domain Requests for Voices sites

URLs for Voices sites default to voices.uchicago.edu/sitename, however users may request a UChicago subdomain to be domain mapped to their site. Voices sites will not accept redirects from URLs that do not contain uchicago.edu.

Domain Requests for Vanity URLs

A vanity URL is a customized web address that is designed to be memorable, brand-friendly, or reflective of a specific campaign or initiative, but is not the permanent URL of the site. Subdomain requests for vanity or redirect purposes will not be approved. 

Vanity URLs for redirect purposes should be created as a subdirectory of their primary website (i.e. uchicago.edu/name)

UChicago has a free URL shortening service that follows the convention uchic.ag/sitename. To request a shortened URL, please open a request ticket stating that you would like to request a shortened URL at uchic.ag/sitenameexample. Shortened URLs are limited to sixteen characters.

The Use of Non-UChicago.edu Domain Names Policy outlines the circumstances under which any domain other than uchicago.edu can be used on the University network.

Domain Requests for Applications, Intranets, Non-Public Websites, and Miscellaneous Uses

Please open a domain request ticket to schedule a consultation.

Special Considerations for Legacy Domains

Domains that have been previously approved and used for websites are considered to be grandfathered into subdomain approval. When undertaking a website redesign, legacy domains are still subject to branding, security, and digital accessibility standards, and must be reviewed by University Communications and IT Services before re-assigning the subdomain.