ARCHIVED: About virtual hostnames on Webserve

This content has been archived, and is no longer maintained by Indiana University. Information here may no longer be accurate, and links may no longer be available or reliable.

Due to the evolving coronavirus situation, the retirement of Webserve was delayed until April 16 to allow classes that reference sites on Webserve to continue with minimal disruption.

All remaining Webserve sites were disabled beginning April 16, along with login access to If you have websites that still need to be moved to IU Sitehosting, you should migrate immediately.

On this page:

How virtual hostnames work

A virtual hostname is a name that substitutes for the actual hostname in a URL that Webserve recognizes as associated with an alternative root document directory. Virtual hostnames make it easier for users to view the main site or a specific place within your site.

If chosen carefully, using a virtual hostname creates a shorter and more intuitive way to specify the hostname in a URL that refers to your site.

Each of your virtual hostnames is bound to a distinct directory somewhere within your /www directory tree. This directory becomes the root directory for a particular virtual hostname.

Keep in mind that using a virtual hostname to simplify access to your site does not replace the standard way of referring to a website on one of the central IU web servers (for example,

The examples below serve only to show how a virtual hostname is an alternative method of referring to the main entry point for a site:

Standard URL Virtual hostname alternative

Use the domain

See Request IU.EDU or designer domain naming.

To use the domain, the domain must meet the following requirements:

  • The domain must have a system-wide presence, that is, your school must have a presence at Indiana University's regional campuses, and the servers in the domain must be accessible to the regionals.
  • The domain must represent a non-profit, non-commercial agency, institute, or program affiliated with IU.

A detailed description of your service must include an explanation of how your service qualifies based on the points above.

Since virtual hostnames are usually used to advertise an entrance to your site, there is no need to change links that refer to documents within your site using the old standard format. The links will continue to work as they did before adding the virtual host service.

Use the secure WWW server with a virtual hostname

UITS recommends using the secure WWW server with your virtual host only if there is a need for it. For more, see Secure WWW server.

Request a virtual hostname

To request a virtual hostname, you first must have an account on Webserve; see About IU Sitehosting accounts All virtual hostnames are associated with an existing account and its sponsor.

Look over the policy document and construct your virtual hostname. Complete and submit a Virtual Host Name Request.

Request a designer domain

Before you request to host a designer domain on Webserve, you must first have a Webserve account. See About IU Sitehosting accounts You should submit a ARCHIVED: Virtual Host Request Form prior to purchasing your domain, but you should make certain your intended domain is available before submitting your request.

Once your domain has been approved, you will need to purchase your domain from an outside registrar (for example, GoDaddy or Network Solutions). Once you obtain your domain, list Indiana University as the owner, set the name servers as and, and make certain that the listed technical contact person will be reachable for questions during the process. Under "Additional Information", include the name of your outside registrar.

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Last modified on 2021-09-08 10:20:54.