Domain name registration

Domain name registration

Scope of Policy

Domain name registration concerns the acquisition and registration of web site domain names such as or for use on University information servers. This document discusses the issues of first time registration and transfer of existing domain names to the jurisdiction of University of Glasgow and sets out University of Glasgow policy and procedures for those considering setting up a domain. It also covers the issues involved in hosting the service on University of Glasgow servers.

Anyone considering establishing a web site is urged to plan carefully, allow plenty of time for initial discussions with appropriate staff in Computing Service, and sufficient time for the registration and delegation of the domain name to take place.

The policy applies to:

  • web sites hosted on any server within the University of Glasgow
  • web sites being transferred from another location to University servers.


Information servers connected to the Internet WWW use a hierarchical naming scheme. Thus a web domain name such as or identifies from left to right a www service in the gla or glasgow sub-domain of the ac sub-domain of the uk domain. Where gla or glasgow identifies services within University of Glasgow, ac identifies services in the academic community and u k is the United Kingdom domain. Within the UK commercial organisations typically have addresses of the form and in the wider world perhaps Different bodies have responsibilities for each of the domains or sub-domains. Domain names are assigned to organisations as the registered holders or owners of a particular domain with a registered administrative or technical contact. The organisation may also be delegated as the nameserver for the domain name, although it is possible, but undesirable for this to done by an external agency.

Domain names or web addresses serve three functions. They identify the resource to the user, the corporate identity of the service provider and they are used by the underlying computer hardware and network infrastructure to route the information from the server to the client.

Domain Names

Categories of domains

As part of its WWW service to the University of Glasgow, the Computing Service currently provides the infrastructure to support web sites with web addresses or domain names other than the default and/or (these two being equivalent), using virtual host facilities on its central servers. This allows multiple domain names to be mapped to a single server whilst maintaining the separate identity and content of the sites, (e.g. or ). In the rest of this document, is used as a shorthand and should be taken to mean either or

Similar services are provided by some departments or planning units from their own servers, (e.g.,,

It is also possible to support sites with domain names in other sub-domains, (e.g.,, and

Choice of Domain Name

The choice of domain name should reflect the information resource that is to be made available, but may also be limited by availability, as a competitive and lucrative market has developed in the buying and selling of domain names. The availability of domain names in .com, .net or .org can be checked out at

Within and/or

Normally departments or other organisational units of the University of Glasgow are encouraged to remain under the umbrella of with urls of the form This scheme preserves the University web identity and provides a predictable format for all departments or equivalent organisational units. Even if departments have their own server it is possible for requests to to be redirected to the departmental server (e.g.

Other domains

Domain names outside of and/or are only likely to be accepted by the University of Glasgow where they reflect a broader grouping of interests across departments, centrally funded organisations, national or international organisations with a core educational or research activity. There are relatively few circumstances where domain names outside are appropriate for University related business.

Responsibilities for domains and

The University of Glasgow Computing Service is the registered holder and maintainer of the domains and,,

UKERNA ( is responsible for the administration and registration of domain names under the and sub-domains and the NHS manages the name space. UKERNA Rules and application procedures can be found at:


Nominet, ( manages the other sub-domains under .uk.


Other domains and sub-domains are managed by a variety of organisations.

All Domains

In all cases the site and its content would be bound by:


Registering a Domain Name

New Registrations

New registrations within the and/or domains are dealt with locally by the Computing Service.

New registrations in other sub-domains are subject to the availability of the domain, successful application to the sub domain administrative authority and payment of any charges. It is important in all cases that the Computing Service handles the entire request as this minimises potential downstream problems. In the past organisations have registered domain names with external agencies who maintain the DNS nameserver information. In the event of problems with the DNS entries the Computing Service is powerless to correct the problem and has to make requests to the external organisation for rectification. In some instances this has proved to take considerable time. In addition any future changes to the domain registration have to forwarded to the external agency who may make additional charges for the service.

In short the Computing Service prefers to be the administrative contact and delegated as nameserver for any domain names that it hosts.

Important. Do not be tempted to register a domain name using any of the online registration agencies even if they seem attractive, easy to use, and in some cases available at little or no cost. Experience has shown that problems will undoubtedly arise in administering the DNS name server entries, and high costs may subsequently be incurred in modifying the registration. The Computing Service cannot accept responsibility for any problems encountered with sites registered in this way and may have to impose extra administrative charges over and above any incurred with external agencies.

Transfer of Existing Registrations

Existing domain names will be owned by a particular organisation with a person named as the administrative or technical contact. Only this person can make requests for changes to the domain registration with the appropriate domain or sub-domain administrative authority ( e.g. UKERNA for In addition the domain name will be delegated to a particular name server which may or may not be in the control of the organisation owing the domain name.

Requests for changes to a domain registration therefore require the following. Firstly that the University of Glasgow is willing to accept the transfer of the site. Secondly a domain name change request has to be made by the administrative contact in the other organisation. This should ideally include a request that the delegated nameserver be transferred to the University of Glasgow. Again problems have occurred in the past where this has not been the case causing at worst the domain name to disappear without warning from DNS tables thus making the web site unavailable.


Registration of a domain name involves the following:

  • choice of a suitable domain name
  • registration of name with the appropriate organisation
  • delegation of name to a DNS domain name server
In addition it will be necessary to determine what facilities are required by the site, which host will act as the server for the new service and how the site will be run and supported.


Intending web site providers must apply in writing or by e-mail to the Director of Computing Service. The application to include all of the following:

  1. a full explanation and justification of reasons for the proposed web site. It is expected that these would normally be for education, research or other University business. If there is any doubt about the request then the Director may refer to the Information Strategy Committee (ISC) for further guidance,
  2. Person responsible for site content,
  3. Person(s) who will maintain the site,
  4. details of services required or to be provided by the site, ( eg, access statistics, cgi scripts etc.),
  5. details of support arrangements for these facilities (locally provided or from Computing Service).

Sufficient time for the necessary registration process is also required. Domain names within and/or can normally be dealt with by Computing Service in a few working days. Whilst it is usually possible to register a new name in other domains within about two working weeks, past experience has shown that it may take longer to transfer to Glasgow, sites registered and implemented elsewhere.

For bona fide requests that meet the criteria outlined below the Computing Service will:

  • register the domain name with the appropriate Internet authorities,
  • maintain the domain name in its name server tables.

For web sites hosted on Computing Service servers the Computing Service will:

  • provide file store and backup for the web site,
  • provide other facilities for the support and maintenance of the site according to the requirements of the site as agreed by both parties.


The Computing Service will pass on all external charges incurred for new and transfer requests and may in addition levy a small administrative charge.

Where Computing Service servers are to be used to host the site, additional set up time will be required and additional charges may be incurred depending on the complexity of the service required.


As Domain registration and delegation and web site facilities are continually evolving to meet new demands, the Computing Service reserves the right to develop this policy as required.


Colin Farrow
February 2000