Domain Name System (DNS)

Effective: Moved to the Policy Library from ITS on August 26, 2009
Contact: Information Technology Services (ITS)


The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical naming system for computers, services, or any resource participating in the Internet. The DNS translates meaningful domain names to the numerical (binary) identifiers associated with networking equipment for the purpose of locating and addressing these devices world-wide.

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Define the format for university domain names
  • Provide a review mechanism to avoid naming conflicts
  • Safeguard the reputation of the university
  • Avoid competition with commercial entities
  • Protect the privacy and security of confidential information

Policy Statement

The format for Iowa State University domain names is "" This naming structure is intended to follow Iowa State University's internal organizational structure. The subdomain component of the domain name is the official Iowa State University entity name or its official university abbreviation. The hostname component of the domain name may be chosen by the affiliated entity and will be reviewed by ITS for appropriateness.

University entities do not have permission to purchase .com or .biz domain names as those domains are reserved for commercial purposes.

University entities may apply for .org or .info domain names under certain conditions such as a specific name not normally possible under the Iowa State University domain name format. All avenues of compliance to the university's above listed structure must be explored before allowance to deviate will be considered. One condition of allowance is that the domain(s) must redirect to the approved university domain name.

A university domain name may not point to an off campus hosted web site. An exception may be granted if the requestor meets the following requirements:

  • A written contract is executed between the university entity and the off campus vendor.
  • The contract identifies what university data is transmitted and stored by the vendor.
  • The contract identifies how university data will be protected and that the vendor asserts which federal and state data security policies it is compliant with.
  • The contract stipulates that Iowa State University owns the data and how ISU obtains possession of said data after the contract ends.
  • The contract is reviewed and approved by Procurement Services (under guidelines from General Counsel and the Chief Information Officer).
  • If university trademarks are included in the domain name(s), upon expiration or termination of the contract, the domain name(s) must be assigned to the university.

The Trademark Licensing Office has been delegated the responsibility for managing and maintaining the university's domain names that contain university marks. The use of any university trademarks in domain name(s) must be reviewed and approved by the Trademark Licensing Office, and, if appropriate, the Trademark Licensing Office may register and maintain the domain name(s).