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Columbia Domain Names


Effective Date: February, 2013

Policy Statement

This policy defines the requirements for requesting and obtaining domain names for Columbia University’s resources. A domain name is an identifier used to uniquely identify a computer host, network device, or to a range of network addresses (i.e., network subdomains). Domain names consist of a series of alphanumeric words separated by periods; for example, the website for Columbia University is a domain name. 

A PDF of this policy is also available to the right. 

Reason for the Policy

The Internet allows anyone the ability to register hostnames, which can potentially be registered with a domain name that appears to have unauthorized Columbia University affiliation (e.g., websites with the prefix which can misrepresent Columbia University’s name and reputation. Alternatively official University services might be represented by a domain name. This policy assures that the University brand is appropriately protected and assures adequate governance for how the brand is represented.

To view the full text of this policy, please use the link on the right. 

Primary Guidance to Which This Policy Responds

This policy is established under the provisions of Columbia University’s Information Technology, Security and Policy Program.  

Responsible University Office & Officer

The office of Columbia University Information Technology is responsible for the maintenance of this policy, and for responding to questions regarding this policy. The Chief Technologist is the responsible officer.  

Revision History

This policy was revised and updated in November 2012 to replace
the former Obtaining Domain Name policy.  

Who is Governed by This Policy

This policy applies to all individuals who access, use, or control University electronic information resources. 
Those individuals covered include, but are not limited to staff, faculty, students, those working on behalf of the University, guests, tenants, visitors, and individuals authorized by affiliated institutions and organizations. 

Who Should Know This Policy

All personnel (e.g., Vice Presidents, AVPs, Deans, Associate Deans, Directors, Managers, technical staff, etc.) responsible for authorizing, creating, maintaining, and managing domain
names are governed by this policy should be familiar with it. 

Exclusions & Special Situations


Policy Text

are defined through the Internet Domain Name System (DNS), the international system for naming networked computers. A domain name is associated to an Internet Protocol (IP) address such as The IP address is then used to route information to and from a particular computer, for example a web server. Domain names entered into Columbia's DNS service are recognized anywhere on the Internet.


Domain names are expressed in levels, each level is separated by a “dot”. The website and a domain name ‘’ (which can be a computer host, network device, and/or network subdomain) are examples of third level domain names.

Third-level, fourth-level, and lower-level names cannot be generic or potentially applicable to many units and functions. For example,a domain name such as is too generic and it is not permitted. Abbreviations in the domain naming convention are acceptable but must be meaningful; for example, a domain name such as can be a resource associated with the General Studies Student Council. 

Internal Domain Names

Domain names with the “” prefix as well as those that are affiliated with Columbia University must have the proper safeguards to protect Columbia University’s name and reputation.

Additional approval may be required from the Office of the General Counsel if there may be potential legal and image issues related to the use of the Columbia name. To register a host name and to obtain a static IP address for your server, complete the request form on the “Network Registration” webpage

The following information must be provided to CUIT to maintain accurate and up-to-date information:


1. Technical and administrative personnel contact information for each host/domain.

2.  Provide and maintain list of personnel authorized to add hosts, subdomains, etc.

3. Renew host names/domain names with CUIT and update associated administrative info on an annual basis.

External Domain Names

External domain names are those that do not end in but are still affiliated with the University; for example,

Only major business units of the University (e.g., schools, independent centers or equivalent organizational units of the University) may request an external domain name. External domain names will not be created for individuals or student groups.

The business unit requesting an external domain name is responsible for any costs associated with establishing and maintaining the name, including initial and renewal fees for registration and the costs of any other external services related to operating the named service.

All requests for an external domain name must be approved by the Office of the General Counsel.

For internally and externally supported Columbia University sponsored and affiliated websites, the business unit is responsible for web content management including but not exclusive to ensuring the web contents must not misuse and/or misrepresent Columbia University’s brand name, logos, and reputation, and must not distribute copyrighted materials or use trade marks without proper authorizations from t the copyright and trademark owners. 


Failure to abide by this policy may subject the individual to disciplinary action and/or sanctions up to, and including discharge or dismissal in accordance to Columbia University policy and procedures.

Violations of the policy may result in the immediate suspension of computer account and network access pending investigation of circumstances and may lead to termination.

CUIT is responsible for administering Columbia University's Domain Name System (DNS) and Internet Protocol (IP) resources. Responsibility for some domains and IP address ranges has been delegated to other University units.

All requests, both for internal and external domain names, must be approved by a Dean of a University school, Vice President or equivalent administrative officer.

For an approved domain name that is used in support of a Columbia University sponsored or affiliated website, University officials (e.g., Deans Associate Deans, Directors, Managers, or their designees) that have operational level responsibility are responsible for web content management including but not exclusive to ensuring the web content must not misuse and/or misrepresent Columbia University’s brand name, logos, and reputation, and must not distribute copyrighted materials or use trademarks without proper authorizations from the copyright and trademark owners. 


For questions or comments:

Columbia University Information Technology



Telephone: 212-854-1919


Cross References to Related Policies

For CUIT Security Policies, see the University Administrative Policy Library, Information Technology (CUIT) section: