Table of Contents

What is a 'virtual host name'?

A 'virtual host name' is a name that is substituted for the actual host name in a URL that Webserve recognizes as associated with an alternative root document directory. They are most often used to make it easier for the users to view the main WWW site or to a specific place within your site.

If chosen carefully, the use of a virtual host name results in having a shorter and more intuitive way to specify the host name in a URL that refers to your site.

Each of your virtual host names is bound to a distinct directory somewhere within your /www directory tree. This directory becomes the root directory for a particular virtual host name.

Please keep in mind that the use of a virtual host name to simplify access to your site does not replace the 'standard' way of referring to a website on one of the central IU web servers; the standard way being one of the following:

The examples below serve only to show how a virtual host name is an alternative method of referring to the main entry point for a site:
could also be referred to as
could also be referred to as
could also be referred to as
could also be referred to as
could also be referred to as

Can I use the domain?
Requesting IU.EDU or designer domain naming. 

Usage of the domain requires meet the following :

  • The domain must have a system-wide presence, i.e., your school must have a presence on the IU regional campuses and the servers in the domain must be accessible by the regionals.
  • The domain must represent a non-profit, non-commercial agency, institute or program affiliated with Indiana University.

A detailed description of your service must include an explanation of how your service qualifies based on the two points above.

If I obtained a virtual host name, will I have to change all of the links in my documents that might use the ~ (tilde) before my account name?

Since virtual host names are usually used to advertise an entrance to your site, the answer to this question is 'no'. There is really no necessity to change links that refer to documents within your site using the 'old' standard format, since they will continue to function as they did before the advent of the virtual host service.

Can I use the secure WWW server if I have a virtual host service enabled?

It is only recommended to use the secure WWW server with your virtual host if there is a need for it. For more information, please see IU Webmaster's Secure WWW Server Document.

How do I get a virtual host name installed for my site?

You must have already have obtained an account on Webserve to request a virtual host name. All virtual host names are associated with an existing account and its sponsor.

Look over the policy document  and construct your virtual host name.

Complete and submit the Virtual Host Name Request Form.