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Northwestern Website Domain Name Guidelines

These guidelines are intended to assist Northwestern schools and departments in establishing consistent URLs for their websites.

What is a Subdomain? 

A subdomain is a child of the main domain, used to differentiate major areas of the university, such as schools and outward-facing departments (for example Most administrative sites fall into directories under instead (for example This hierarchy allows site visitors to differentiate between types of Northwestern departments and allows for IT groups to establish and organize websites across different servers and platforms. Consistent URLs improve site trust. They also assist SEO efforts and improve our ability to track users between properties using analytics. 


Top-level domain: The main domain for the university ( or for a center (example: 

Top-level directory: A site that lives within a top-level domain (example: 

Subdomain: A child under the top-level domain; also known as a third-level domain (example: 

Fourth-level domain: A child under a subdomain (example: 

Subdomain Policy by Site Type 

Please note, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty, students and units must comply with the medical school’s Website Development Policy. 

Site Type 

Top-Level Subdomain Allowed? 

University-wide resource, application, research center or initiative 

Yes, if approved by OGMC 


Administrative office  

No, should be a directory 


Research lab 

No, may use a fourth-level domain under or fall under a school subdomain

Faculty site (CV, class materials) 

No, may use or fall under a school subdomain

School program or department 

Follow school policies. Programs are strongly encouraged to fall under a school subdomain


Student group (non-school specific) 

No, may use

School-sponsored student group 

No, should use a directory or fall under a school subdomain 


Multiple-institution organization or conference 

No, may use a .org 



General Subdomain Policies 

Subdomain Request Process 

If your site meets the requirements outlined above, use one of these methods to request a subdomain: 

* Feinberg faculty, students and units must comply with the medical school’s Website Development Policy.