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Web Virtual Host (Vanity URLs)

The Stanford Virtual Host service lets you replace a long, unwieldy URL with one that is shorter and more descriptive of your website's content. These virtual URLs, also called "reserved" or "vanity" URLs, help people remember how to get to your website and make it easier for them to type its URL into their browser. For example, a URL like is easier to type and quicker to identify than

Two types of virtual hosts are available: redirect and proxy.

  • Redirect — the real URL of your website is displayed in the browser window after people arrive at your website.
  • Proxy — the virtual URL stays in the browser window after people arrive at your website.

See the Virtual Host Details page for more information about virtual host types.

The Virtual Host service is available only to departments, research groups, and university-recognized student organizations. Virtual URLs can not be linked to an individual's personal web page.


  • Replaces a long web address with one that is shorter and more descriptive.
  • Can select either the redirect or proxy virtual host type.
  • Can specify a PTS group owner so that multiple users have permission to edit a virtual host's settings.
  • Can specify the features you want for your virtual URL on the request form, such as WebAuth requirements.

Getting started

Fill out the Virtual Hosting request form.

Before you fill out this form, please make sure you read and understand the requirements (see section above) necessary to qualify for this service. Also, please make sure that the automatic virtual hosting service is not sufficient for your needs before requesting a new virtual host.

Following submission of the request form, your virtual URL should be available within three business days.

Learn more

For IT providers

Last modified December 9, 2015