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University Communications

 

Domain Name Guidelines

Domain names communicate Florida State University’s image and reputation to the public. To ensure that university-related domain names support the Florida State brand and align with university goals, Information Technology Services (ITS) and University Communications oversee the creation of university domain names. The following guidelines outline the approval and registration process for obtaining university domain names.

See Terminology below for website and domain name definitions referenced in this document.

Domain Name Requests

Units that support the university may apply for a domain name – such as unitname.fsu.edu – including:

  • Academic units
  • Administrative units
  • Institutes, departments and centers
  • Non-student organizations
  • Enterprise applications (e.g. OMNI, myFSU portal)
  • University-wide initiatives (e.g. capital campaign, presidential search) University-wide services (e.g. Webmail, news)

Domain Name Guidelines

Before requesting a domain name, please make sure it fits the following requirements:

  • Fits the format unitname.fsu.edu
  • Is intuitive and accurately describes a unit’s affiliation with Florida State
  • Is short and memorable
  • Does not cause confusion with the name of another university unit or service Reflects the nature or purpose of the website
  • Is not for a one-time purpose
  • Consists of two or more letters
  • Is the only third-level domain name for the unit
  • Is approved by the requesting unit’s dean or director

Journal domains: The journal would need to be affiliated with a college/institution/department (for example, journal.cfa.fsu.edu). In this example, the journal exists under the College of Fine Arts (CFA) within Florida State’s website. The naming convention is journal.[unit’s short code/abbreviation].fsu.edu.

Request a Domain Name

To request a domain name, please follow the steps below.

  1. Select a Domain Name
    Work with University Communications to select a tactical and brand-approved domain name.
    • Email brandreview@fsu.edu
    • Provide the following information:
      • Domain name
        - If an acronym is being used, please spell out acronym.
      • Describe affiliation with Florida State
      • Details about what the service is for
      • Target audience
    • Allow 1-3 business days for the request to go through the brand review process
  2. Build a Domain Name
    Contact ITS Core Networking to build a brand-approved domain name.
    • Submit a case to IT Services
    • Provide the following information:
      • Domain name

University Standard

Any domain name that includes “fsu.edu” or the name of a university unit or affiliated group is a trademarked asset of Florida State University and the material on the site is copyrighted.

Websites for university units should be organized as third-level domain names. To prevent the dilution of the overarching fsu.edu domain, Florida State University encourages the use of a subdirectory rather than a fourth-level domain. Websites for affiliations of university units and non-unit entities, including programs and events, should be hosted under an existing domain name as a subdirectory.

T

program.unitname.fsu.edu

Top-level Domain highest level of hierarchy in a website address that groups pages under a common suffix

2

program.unitname.fsu.edu

Second-level Domain part of website address that groups pages under a common domain. Second-level domains identify the overarching organization.

3

program.unitname.fsu.edu

Third-level Domain part of website address that appears immediately to the left of the second-level domain. At Florida State, third-level domains are used for university colleges, departments and units, or a service that encompasses all of campus.

4

program.unitname.fsu.edu

Fourth-level Domain part of website address that appears immediately to the left of the third-level domain. At Florida State, a subdirectory is encouraged over a fourth-level domain however there are technical instances where a subdirectory will not suffice.

S

unitname.fsu.edu/program

Subdirectory part of website address that appears with a forward slash immediately to the right of the top-level domain. At Florida State, subdirectories are used for affiliations of university colleges, departments and units, and websites for non-unit entities, including programs and events.

Florida State’s hybrid solution for the organization of university domain names combines the use of third- level domains and subdirectories. While subdirectories are considered a website best practice, all websites organized as subdirectories must be hosted on the same server, or storage space. The vastness of the Florida State University website does not allow all university websites to be retrofitted to be stored on a single server. Therefore, Florida State follows other university best practices and uses third-level domain names for university colleges, departments and units, and subdirectories for affiliations of university units and websites for non-unit entities, including programs and events.

Top-Level Domain

Florida State University has chosen “.edu” as the university’s official domain as it most clearly represents the mission of the university. Individual units are encouraged to use the “fsu.edu” domain as it provides several value-added advantages:

  • Reinforces Florida State University brand
  • Shows credibility that the website is an official site of Florida State
  • Appears in fsu.edu website search results
  • Shortens to a branded fla.st URL using Florida State’s URL shortening service

Domain Extensions

Florida State strongly discourages units from using domain extensions other than “.edu” (e.g. .com, .science, .sports, .giving) as they deliver no real value. However, a university unit may choose to purchase relevant domain extensions to “squat” on a site to reserve the domain from adverse use by an unrelated party. If purchased, domain extensions are not intended to be operational. Domains are registered for a 10-year period, and units are responsible for all costs to register or renew.

Contact ITS Core Networking to register and purchase a brand-approved domain extension.

  • Submit a case to IT Services
  • Provide the following information:
    • Domain name
  • An FSU P-Card is required for all domain name purchases

Terminology

All websites have addresses, or domain names, that direct people where they want to go on the Internet. Florida State University’s domain, “fsu.edu,” takes users to the Florida State homepage. From there, thousands of other Florida State sites branch off for individual colleges, departments, units and services. Read the vocabulary below to familiarize yourself with website terminology and domain name hierarchy.

Website – a set of connected pages linked to the Internet and maintained by a person or organization as a collection of information on a related topic (e.g. fsu.edu).

Web Page – a single page of information contained on a website (e.g. fsu.edu/highlights). Microsite – a separate and often temporary Web page or small cluster of Web pages devoted to a specific topic related to a website’s homepage, but with a different URL (e.g. think.fsu.edu). Homepage – the main or introductory page of a website (e.g. fsu.edu).

Landing page – a Web page designed for a single, focused topic or action, accessed by clicking a link on another Web page (e.g. gradsuccess.fsu.edu/nominate)

Domain name – the part of a website address that identifies a website with a particular organization. For example, in the website address “www.fsu.edu/directory,” the domain name is “fsu.edu.”

Top-level domain – highest level of hierarchy in a website address that groups pages under a common suffix. Florida State’s top-level domain is “.edu.”

Second-level domain – part of website address that groups pages under a common domain. Second- level domains identify the overarching organization. For example, Florida State’s second-level domain is “fsu.edu.”

Third-level domain – part of website address that appears immediately to the left of the second- level domain. At Florida State, third-level domains are used for university colleges, departments and units, or a service that encompasses all of campus, such as “nursing.fsu.edu” or “news.fsu.edu.”

Fourth-level domain – part of website address that appears immediately to the left of the third-level domain. At Florida State, subdirectories are encouraged over fourth-level domains.

Subdirectory – part of website address that appears with a forward slash immediately to the right of the second-level domain. At Florida State, subdirectories are used for affiliations of university colleges, departments and units, and websites for non-unit entities, including programs and events, such as “fsu.edu/directory.”

IP address – unique string of numbers given to every computer, server and network on the Internet to identify and locate information online, for example 123.45.67.890.