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IT Help and Support

University Information Services

Before you start the process

Before you start, it is worth reviewing why you want to set up a server with an 'outside' address. While this can be a fully justifiable thing to want to do, occasionally users are not aware that there are also disadvantages.

Reasons you might give to use an outside address

  • The project is unconnected with the University or is cross-institutional
  • Domain name policy does not allow a address to be used for your project
  • You want someone else to design or manage a website for you
  • You don't like your name or want a 'catchy' address for a particular use

Reasons not to

  • You lose the University brand from your project
  • You won't be searched by the University site-wide search unless you ask us to add you specifically (and only then if the nature of the site allows us to)
  • You will have recurring costs and requirements for reregistration
  • You may later find a need for a service you didn't ask about when you first set up the site, and find your provider can't supply it

How UIS can help you

  • You can request a group address for a cross-departmental collaboration (see Guidelines for requesting domain names)
  • We can allow outside web designers accounts for the managed web server for a period of time while the server is being set up, sometimes longer.
  • For some purposes, we can set up a top-level alias ( that will redirect to a given address. These are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis
  • We run a managed mail domain service using Exchange Online which you can use to provide email addresses in any domain. The domain's managers must be staff and must have a University Microsoft account. This is a free service.
  • You can run a mail server on the University network that handles email for domains. For more information see the rules for administering a mail domain and/or contact .

What you need to set up

To run a server with a name within you require 3 distinct services:

  1. Registering a domain
  2. Someone to run a Domain name service (DNS) for that domain
  3. Someone to run a webserver to host the web site

The detail of these three processes are further described in the following sections

Register a domain

Unless you are in the special position of seeking an domain (in which case you will need to read this guide on domain registration), a domain registration agent will be able to arrange to register your domain name on your behalf.

UIS recommends Mythic Beasts as we have an agreement with them to allow us to help manage domains registered with them. You can read more about the reciprocal agreement for domain hosting with Mythic Beasts here. You should read our guide on applying for an domain before you register your domain.

Examples of 'top level' domains are .com, .rg, .net, You can register any number but will have to pay for each on a recurrent basis. If you do not pay the renewal fee when it comes due your domain name will stop working and someone else could buy it. When you register your domain name you need to be clear on what basis you are buying it. If you are buying it plus webserver use, can you move the name to another provider? Are there other services or strings attached?

Domain name service

The Domain name service is the look-up service that translates your IP address to a name. Without it, the name of your computer doesn't exist. The main University DNS covers only addresses. We recommend Mythic Beasts if you are applying for a domain. 

Some, external domain registration agents will provide a DNS when you register domains. If they don't then you will need to find someone else to provide it for you.

If your registration agent provides a DNS, you need to know what you are getting.

  • Do you get www.<domain>?
  • are there limitations to where the name can point?
  • can you have mail addresses using the domain name? If so is it a real mail server or just forwarding?
  • how many DNS servers do they have and where are they? How long will it take changes to be propagated?


Do you get website hosting when you register your domain, you need to be clear whether you do, or if there is only provision for forwarding to another location. Additionally:

  • If you do get hosting, do you have banner adverts imposed upon you?
  • How much storage space?
  • What bandwidth is provided and are there download restrictions?
  • Is there a service level agreement (SLA)?
  • Do you get a dedicated machine or space on a shared machine?
  • What facilities are there provided on the machine (CGI, PHP, MySQL, https)?
  • What protocols does the machine allow for access (telnet, ssh, ftp, sftp, WebDav)?
  • How many user accounts do you get and could you get more?

Mail service

The questions you need to think about for email are similar to those for your website. In addition:

  • If your mail mail domain is hosted offsite and forwards mail to addresses in the University, it will be subject to the University's anti-spam filters.
  • Spam filters are less effective for forwarded mail, so if your requirements are simple a managed mail domain is probably a better choice than a third-party mail forwarding service.

Please do ask advice from your relationship manager or  before starting the process.

Last updated: August 2023