Every website needs a domain name to identify it (e.g. www.gatech.edu), but not all domain names are equal. Georgia Tech has specific policies and processes for obtaining a campus domain name.
Georgia Tech Domain Names
Georgia Tech owns the entire *.gatech.edu domain space. Any on-campus unit can request a domain name within this space at no charge. However, there are differences in names, and new rules in effect that you need to consider.
Top Level Georgia Tech Domain Names
These names look like something.gatech.edu or www.something.gatech.edu, where 'something' is a unique identifier for a Georgia Tech unit. Top level names can convey a sense of prestige. These domains can only be created and managed by the Office of Information Technology (OIT), and there are new rules in effect governing who can request a top level domain name.
If your website is for a major unit of Georgia Tech or a very high level project or activity/event, then contact OIT to put in a top-level domain name request. If not, other options are available.
Georgia Tech Sub-Domain Names
Major units of Georgia Tech that already have their own top level Georgia Tech domain name can create any number of subdomain names, which look like subunit.something.gatech.edu, where 'subunit' is most any name except 'www' (which is reserved as an alias for the unit's top-level domain).
Sub-domain names can often be created and updated by a unit's Information Technology (IT) staff. Subdomains do not have to go through the institute level approval process to get a new sub-domain name, though your unit may have internal sub-domain name rules or best-practices.
(Outside) Non-Georgia Tech Domain Names
It is possible to go to a commercial hosting company and purchase a non-Georgia Tech domain name. This practice is highly discouraged for several reasons:
- Outside domain names have regular fees and costs.
- Non-campus domain names may look suspicious to unfamiliar visitors, as non-campus domains have been used for phishing and cybersecurity incidents.
- Your website may not be able to make use of Georgia Tech services (such as single sign-on) that are limited to websites with a *.gatech.edu hostname.
- OIT may not be willing to host your website with an outside domain name (they reserve the right to make this decision on a case-by-case basis), so you may end up having to pay for outside web hosting as well.
- If you ever fail to renew your outside name, it could be grabbed by a spammer who could then put up a fake site under that domain name. This could hurt your unit's image and reputation for many years to come, as it is nearly impossible to get all links to your site throughout the internet updated to a new domain name.
If your circumstances still warrant getting an outside domain name, make certain that billing is set up to go directly to your unit's financial department so that renewal fees get paid in a timely manner.