Sites@Duke: Requesting Custom (Vanity) Domains
When a site is created within Sites@Duke, the site name is appended to a fixed domain of sites.duke.edu/*. For some academic or professional endeavors, a user may want a domain that is unique and better serves the subject matter.
We now have a process called domain mapping which allows us to overlay or mask the sites.duke.edu/* domain with an approved third level domain, also known as a vanity domain / vanity URL. The site visitor will navigate to the third level domain and never see the default domain sites.duke.edu.
The following process covers third level domains off of duke.edu. Fourth level domains off of duke.edu customarily require authorization from the departmental IT group responsible for the DNS Zone, which adds an extra step to the process. This process is also followed for .org requests. Most groups making this request will not fall under a commercial purpose so requests for .com are discouraged.
Regardless of third or fourth level domain, we are now required to have a web accessibility review of your site before the mapping can be completed.
- See https://security.duke.edu/policies/selecting-and-registering-domain-names-duke for information about third level domain approval process and request form. If you have a pre-existing custom domain, it will need to be transferred under the ownership of our partner domain registrar Safenames. Please use the request form even if you already own the domain through a third party domain registrar (ex. GoDaddy).
- If and when your domain is approved, please open a ticket with the service desk via https://oit.duke.edu/help which specifies your created sites.duke.edu URL and the vanity domain that you would like to use. That ticket will be routed to Wordpress-Level 2-OIT.
- The WordPress team will make the proper request for the SSL Certificate which certifies that web traffic to the vanity domain should have the target of Sites@Duke. Depending on the vanity domain, this could take several days to be procured from the vendor.
- The Web Accessibility Office will then be notified to do an accessibility evaluation, as this is a requirement prior to launch. Accessibility evaluation of a website normally takes 2-3 days.
- Once we have the SSL Certificate and the site has passed the accessibility evaluation, we will map the vanity domain to the respective sites.duke.edu site during Sites@Duke maintenance. (Thursday). Depending on the results of the accessibility review, you may receive a remediation report with required changes. Barring any substantial accessibility issues, we normally complete mappings on the week after the initial request was submitted.