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Web Virtual Hosts

URL shortening and link management services

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 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

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. See the Stanford.EDU Name Assignment Policy for full details.

Two types of virtual hosts are available:

  • Vanity URLs (redirects) — 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.

Stanford University IT (UIT) retired the Virtual Proxy Host service in October 2021. Subdomains using the proxy no longer redirect to their destination website. UIT’s Vanity URL service can be used to create and manage custom Stanford URLs to redirect your website traffic. 

Vanity URLs vs. Proxies: What's the difference?

Feature Vanity URLs (Redirects) Proxy
Replaces a long web address with one that is shorter and more descriptive Included Included
Can specify a PTS group owner so that multiple users have permission to edit a virtual host's settings   Included
Workgroup integration Included  
Can specify the features you want for your virtual URL on the request form, such as WebAuth (depreciated) requirements   Included
Add additional short URLs  Included  
Learn more Vanity URL Service Work with your web host provider.