UCSF Policy on Registration and Use of Domain Names

Domain Names are the Internet addresses used to find specific website destinations and other online services. As the gateway to UCSF’s online presence, Domain Names can be an important part of the University’s identity and marketing efforts.

The purpose of the policy is to:

  • Ensure users a high-quality online experience by preventing security breaches and damage to UCSF’s reputation.
  • Facilitate management of subdomain names, which are a limited resource within the University.
  • Provide a basis for resolving any dispute that may arise.


Responsible Campus Entity – Any business interest being represented by a UCSF website. Examples include but are not limited to: schools, administrative and academic departments, research labs, academic programs, organized research units, institutes, centers, faculty practices, University-wide services and UCSF Health and all of its organizational components.

UCSF Domain Names – Any domain name for a website representing UCSF. This includes internal and external domain names.

Internal Subdomains – Any domain name ending in “ucsf.edu” or “ucsfhealth.org.”

External Domain Names – Any domain name that does not end in “ucsf.edu” or “ucsfhealth.org” but represents an official UCSF website. This includes domain names with “ucsf” embedded in the name, as well as those without “ucsf” in the name.


All UCSF Domain Names are the exclusive property of The Regents of the University of California (The Regents). UCSF Domain Names are subject to this policy and other University policies even if the websites or other electronic services associated with them are contractually delegated to, or operated by, non-campus entities. Similarly, this policy and other University policies apply whether sites or services associated with UCSF Domain Names are hosted on UCSF servers or elsewhere.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Office of Communications, as delegated in UCSF Policy 050-13: Use of University Name, Seal, Logo and Brand Identity, manages the UCSF name, including who may use it and in what manner. The Office of Communications, in partnership with the Office of Legal Affairs, is responsible to prevent inappropriate use of the UCSF name, including domain and subdomain names.

UCSF Information Technology is responsible for managing all UCSF Domain Names, including the official “ucsf.edu” and “ucsfhealth.org” domains, all associated subdomains, and any domains bearing the UCSF name or representing the University.

IT Committee on Web Governance is responsible for overseeing domain name policies and guidelines, and overseeing approval of all new UCSF domain and subdomain names.


All UCSF Domain Names representing a Responsible Campus Entity must be registered to a current UCSF career employee, who will be known as the website owner.

UCSF students, postdoctoral scholars, residents, clinical fellows, alumni, volunteers and affiliates are not eligible to register UCSF Domain Names. However, webpages on UCSF’s OrgSync are available for anyone working on behalf of a Registered Campus Organization.

UCSF reserves the right to revoke any previously assigned domain name at any time if it conflicts with this policy, the UCSF Official Websites policy, or other University policies, priorities or interests.


The two main UCSF domains are “ucsf.edu” and “ucsfhealth.org.” Most Responsible Campus Entities should be represented by third-level subdomains in the format of “[name].ucsf.edu” or “[name].ucsfhealth.org.”

UCSF strongly discourages the use of fourth-level subdomains for user-facing websites, such as “www.[name].ucsf.edu” or “[name1].[name2].ucsf.edu,” as it goes against current web best practices.


Descriptive, or “vanity,” domain names are reserved for user-facing websites only. Domain names that point to internal servers should be named using a combination of letters and numbers that help identify the unit ownership, such as “dom12.ucsf.edu” for Department of Medicine or “sop23.ucsf.edu” for School of Pharmacy.

Domain names must be meaningful and intuitive. They should reflect the name of the unit or service that it represents and be distinct enough to avoid confusion with another entity, program or service.

Guidelines for selecting a domain name:

Keep it succinct. The name should be memorable and easy to read when words are compounded. The character limit for what appears before "ucsf.edu" is 30 characters.
Don’t: neurosciencesgraduateprogram.ucsf.edu
Do: neurograd.ucsf.edu

Consider searchability. Strong keywords in the domain name will boost your website in search results.
Don’t: hdfccc.ucsf.edu
Do: cancer.ucsf.edu

Use actual words. Avoid acronyms when possible – especially for external-facing websites – to clarify the purpose of your website for users.
Don’t: udar.ucsf.edu
Do: giving.ucsf.edu

Avoid hyphens. Most domain names use compounded words, and hyphens can create confusion for users when recalling the web address.
Don’t: academic-affairs.ucsf.edu
Do: academicaffairs.ucsf.edu

External Domain Names

External Domain Names are generally discouraged, to promote cohesion among UCSF websites and retain traffic on “ucsf.edu” and “ucsfhealth.org.” In limited circumstances, External Domain Names may be appropriate if:

  • The Responsible Campus Entity has a compelling consumer-facing need, such as a major patient marketing effort.
  • The Responsible Campus Entity is a UCSF partnership with an external organization. If the website will be primarily managed by an external partner, that organization should establish and maintain the domain name.

All External Domain Name requests must be approved by the Office of Communications and registration must be managed by IT Web Services.

The preferred suffix for External Domain Names is “.org,” in keeping with UCSF’s educational, research and nonprofit mission. Other suffixes, including “.com” and “.net,” are generally prohibited.

The Responsible Campus Entity is solely responsible for all registration fees and ongoing costs, paid to IT Web Services. Administrative, technical and billing contact information should be directed to IT Web Services.

Registration for External Domain Names will be handled by IT Web Services in the name of The Regents as follows: “The Regents of the University of California, [name of Responsible Campus Entity]”

The University retains the rights to all UCSF Domain Names whether or not they are properly registered in the name of The Regents.

Following website retirement, all External Domain Names must be retained for a period of 2 years.

Requesting a Domain Name

All UCSF Domain Name requests must be submitted to IT Web Services.

The IT Committee on Web Governance will review each Internal Subdomain request for compliance with web policies and grants final approval.

The Office of Communications will review each External Domain Name request for compliance with web policies and will grant final approval.

Only one Internal Subdomain will be granted per Responsible Campus Entity. UCSF strongly discourages reserving multiple domain names that redirect to a single website. This includes:

  • Multiple names: A site owner may not reserve both “it.ucsf.edu” and “informationtechnology.ucsf.edu” for the same website. Multiple domain names can lead to confusion for users and also can take a domain name off the market for another group that may need it.
  • Typos and alternate spellings: A site owner who manages “orthopaedics.ucsf.edu” may not also reserve “orthopedics.ucsf.edu” or “orthopeadics.ucsf.edu.” This is generally unnecessary because of stronger search engines that can easily direct users to their intended destination.


  • Redirects to landing pages: A site owner who manages a landing page within a larger website may request a vanity subdomain to redirect to that page. This exception must demonstrate that the landing page targets a distinct audience that needs to easily access that page. For example, “pharmclinic.ucsf.edu” may be requested to redirect to a landing page at “pharmacy.ucsf.edu/clinic.”
  • Migration or Business Change: A site owner may request a second domain name to temporarily facilitate a website migration or to reflect a change in the unit’s business goals. For example, if the X Clinic merges with Y Clinic, they may create a new website at “xyclinic.ucsf.edu” and temporarily redirect “xclinic.ucsf.edu” and “yclinic.ucsf.edu” to the new domain name for up to 2 years.

Revocation and Appeals

If a UCSF Domain Name is deemed to be in conflict with this policy, the IT Committee on Web Governance or the Office of Communications may send a Notice of Revocation to the Responsible Campus Entity, who will have 10 business days to appeal the decision.

The appeal should include the following information:

  • The domain name in question;
  • Reasons why use of the domain name should not be revoked;
  • If the Notice of Revocation is based on potential conflicts with other University stakeholders, a statement by these stakeholders that use of the domain name by appellant is acceptable to them; and
  • Any other information that supports the appeal.

The appellant will be notified of the decision and any other relevant information within 10 business days.