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Cornell University

Introduction to Domain Names at Cornell

This article applies to: DNS

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University Policy 5.6, Recording and Registration of Domain Names, requires certain domain names to be registered or recorded in the Cornell Domain Name Registry. 

Domain names are the "dot" names, such as, that people use to identify resources on the Internet. Cornell's primary domain name is Units such as colleges, schools, and administrative departments have their own three-part domain names, such as or

When creating a new domain in a diverse university environment like Cornell's, most often it's important to include the college or department's name to help people associate a project or service with the unit that sponsors it. You can do this by choosing a four-part domain name of the form, which does not require approval from anyone outside your unit, so long as you already have the domain

If your new service needs a name other than a four-part domain name, follow the steps below. The full approval process can take up to a month, so please allow extra time when rolling out a new online service that requires a new domain name.

Request a Three-Part Domain Name

Review these criteria carefully to choose a name likely to be approved. Per university policy, the proposed name must be one of the following:

  • The name of a recognized college, academic department, or administrative unit, such as or
  • The name of a central university-wide service entirely contained in a single unit, such as
  • An exception, which must meet ALL of the following criteria:
    • Many people (5,000 or more) from different organizations within or outside the university will use the proposed name;
    • The name is neither housed within nor easily identified with a single department or administrative unit;
    • The proposed name is not ambiguous either because it is an acronym or it lacks unit identification.

View list of domains already registered
(requires Cornell login and access via campus network or CU VPN)

All acronym requests receive careful scrutiny to ensure that they will not cause confusion with other unit names or with what people are likely to think of when they see the acronym. The Domain Review Board pays particular attention to very short acronyms and typically only approves them when they reflect long-standing, well-known university acronyms, such as CALS, ILR, AAP, HR, DFA, CIT, etc.

Common words that could have multiple uses at Cornell (for example, celebrate, enroll, diversity, etc.) are typically only approved if they will be used for a university-wide function or purpose.

If your proposed domain name meets these requirements, as our Request a Domain Name article for the steps to follow. After your unit head has approved a domain name request, the university's Domain Review Board will review the request.

Register or Record Domain Names

A domain name must be registered with Cornell if it

  • is a three-part domain name that ends with, or
  • is served by Cornell's domain name servers.

A domain name must be recorded in Cornell's registry if it

  • is purchased with university funds, or
  • translates to a university-owned host.

Examples of domain names to be registered or recorded

Four-part host names within an existing three-part domain ( do not need to be registered or recorded.


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