Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

How to get a custom domain

Main content start

To set up your Stanford Site with a user—and search engine—friendly URL you will need to request and configure a custom domain. 

What is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. A URL is an address that points to a unique resource like an HTML page, a CSS document, an image, or a video. It’s the information you type into the web browser that directs you to a location on the web.

What is a custom domain?

A custom website domain provides a more user-friendly and often shorter and more memorable name for users to remember to access your website. Using a custom domain for your site means the URL will remain constant as a user browses your site. (E.g., is a custom domain name.)

What types of URLs are there?

There are three types of URLs you can use with Stanford Sites: 

  • the default URL
  • a vanity URL
  • a proxy URL

Default URL

By default, Stanford Sites follow the pattern

Vanity URL

With UIT’s new Vanity URL service, you can create and manage custom Stanford URLs to redirect your website traffic.

Vanity URLs provide a shorter and more descriptive address that is easy to remember, type and share. For example, a URL like is easier to type and quicker to identify than

With your custom Stanford URL, you can also use the service to create short links to direct people to specific pages. For example, a URL like is simpler and more memorable than

How do I get a vanity URL?

Log in to the Vanity URL tool with your SUNet ID to create and manage redirects.

Proxy URL

With a Virtual Host Proxy, you can use a virtual, shortened, more descriptive URL and not display the actual URL of your website. (This is helpful when you need a nicer URL for marketing and promotion purposes.) The actual content server sees all requests from the proxy server, but the browser only has contact with the proxy server.

How do I get a proxy URL?

SWS can help you create a proxy URL and ensure a smooth experience. Contact us via our launch request form as early as possible to schedule assistance.

When is it the right time to request a proxy URL?

Contact us via our launch request form as early as possible to schedule assistance.