Domains and Branding

All official University websites must be hosted on the domain. Any unit conducting official University business, meaning the majority of the unit's projects or activities are funded by the U of M, staff or students are employees of the U of M, and activities take place in U of M buildings using U of M resources, must host their website(s) on

Units may purchase a vanity URL for marketing purposes, but must forward that URL to their site on the domain. Units may not forward their address to an outside domain.

Sponsorships or Collaborations

If possible, websites that have outside entities as sponsors or collaborators should be set up on the domain if the University is the lead in the collaboration. But remember, sites cannot be hosted on the domain unless they use the University’s web header and footer. If this is unacceptable to other entities in the collaboration, the website should be hosted elsewhere.

Sites created outside the domain in sponsorship or collaboration with entities outside the University must consult with University Relations on the use of the University’s marks or web headers and footers. University units engaged in a collaboration or sponsorship may use the Wordmark to show the U’s affiliation if required by the written agreement with the other party. Contact University Relations for guidelines in using the Wordmark on collaborative sites.

Outside Domains

An outside domain, such as .com, .org, .net, and so on, may be used by units to host a website that is part of a collaboration with other universities or entities. Likewise, researchers may create websites outside the domain to communicate about work that is not affiliated with the University. Units that manage an outside domain meeting these stipulations must consult with University Relations before using University’s marks or web headers and footers. Sites outside the domain are not included in the University's website search results.

URL Masking

Units that work with outside vendors to establish a software as a service (SAAS) relationship should use URL masking, if possible. This means that an official University website, such as, may be set up on an outside domain but should appear to be on the domain to allow for official branding.

To do this, the outside domain vendor has to be able to support these hostnames and the University's domain name system (DNS) servers must contain one or more entries describing the relationship between the hostname and the vendor's systems.

Contact your unit’s IT staff for help with this process.

Related Resources