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Virtual Proxy Hosting

Overview

At the end of April 2021, University IT re-evaluated the work required to complete the Virtual Proxy Host retirement project. The revised project plan requires users whose Virtual Proxy Host destinations are not on web.stanford.edu to be moved off the Virtual Proxy Host service by Sept. 30, 2021.

Timeline

  • March 19, 2021
     
    Open Virtual Host Data Conversion tool for unauthenticated proxy entries.
    UIT announces Vanity URL as Virtual Name Proxy solution.
  • April 1, 2021
     
    You can no longer request or edit Virtual Name Proxies. You may delete existing entries.
  • April 28, 2021
     
    Non-authenticated entries locked in the Virtual Hosts Data Conversion tool.
  • April 30, 2021
     
    Proxy entries marked for deletion by users are removed.
  • may-August 2021
     
    UIT will contact proxy owners with custom domains to help convert their proxies before the service retires.
  • September 2021
     
    UIT retires Virtual Name Proxy.

What you can do

We are currently reaching out to owners, departments, and organizations to assist with the moves and will be working to complete them by the end of summer 2021.

Action required

Review the Master Virtual Proxy Host Retirement Tracking Google Sheet with specific attention to the first tab “Move Required” to see if your Virtual Proxy Host(s) requires action. If so:

If the virtual proxy host is inactive or no longer needed, go to https://tools.stanford.edu/cgi-bin/vhost-request and use the delete button or submit a Submit a Help request requesting entries be deleted.

Update your proxy entry

Frequently Asked Questions

5/21/21—Update to the Virtual Proxy Host retirement plan

After receiving feedback from our colleagues around campus, we have revised the proxy host retirement plan.

University IT will grandfather approximately 1,000 sites where the destination resides on web.stanford.edu servers and workgroups will no longer be required.

We have identified a little over 400 sites on other hosts that still need to move. Our team will reach out to site owners to work individually with site administrators and minimize downtime.

Can I use a custom URL for my website?

To use a custom website URL that remains constant as a user browses your site, you’ll need to move your site to a Stanford-supported platform:

If you’re hosting your site on another platform, this list of resources can provide information to help you move your domain.

How do I move my custom domain name by myself?

If you wish to move your custom domain on your own, the instructions below will guide you.

  • For external hosting platforms, refer to our documentation on Using a custom URL for Your Website.
  • For on-campus hosting platforms, you’ll need to coordinate with the web or Linux administrator that manages your site's server. They will need to make a change to the server’s Apache directives and the node in NetDB to add your custom host as an alias.

When you’re ready to make the move, the owner of the Virtual Proxy Host can go to the legacy vhost request form and delete the host. After the vhost has been deleted, you can check Stanfordwhat.stanford.edu to confirm the host has been removed from proxy-srv node. Once the vhost has been deleted, the server's web or Linux administrator can add your custom domain as an alias to the web host and update Apache with the appropriate directives.

submit a Help request

What is the difference between virtual host redirects and proxies?

There are two types of virtual hosts offered within University IT’s virtual host service: redirect and proxy.

  • Redirect: The real URL of your website is displayed in the browser window after people arrive at your website. Example: http://email.stanford.edu/ is the redirect, or vanity URL, for http://uit.stanford.edu/service/emailcalendar/email. 
  • Proxy: The virtual URL stays in the browser window after people arrive at your website. Visitors to the site will NOT see the real URL, only the proxy URL. This functionality is being deprecated for authenticated entries Sept. 30, 2021.<

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

What is the difference between an authenticated proxy entry and a non-authenticated proxy entry?

Authenticated proxy entries require users to login in order to access the website. This functionality is being deprecated for authenticated entries Sept. 30, 2021. 

For owners of an Authentication Virtual Proxy Host, there are several authentication options including shifting authentication to your web host (with the option of using FW & F5), moving your site to a platform where SSO can easily be enabled, or, creating your own proxy host. Submit a Help request or join our Virtual Proxy Host conversion open office hours on Zoom to discuss your options.

Why this change and how does this change relate to AFS?

This effort to move all virtual host redirects from Stanford’s Andrew File System (AFS) to a cloud platform is part of University IT's Web Content Management Program.

AFS is minimally supported and hosts a number of web spaces created by individuals and other organizations in unsupported, outdated and vulnerable versions of web tools. In addition to inherent security issues, the decades-old system is costly to maintain and support, lacks modern usability features, and is impacted by delayed open source fix releases.

In 2017, the university president, provost, and board of trustees gave the directive to the Stanford CIO to address the growing concerns around the security, privacy, and stability of AFS. To date, UIT has focused on advancing the Web Content Management Program — a multi-year initiative to provide modern, secure, and managed cloud-based web alternatives, and reduce the overall footprint of AFS.

Someone in my department forwarded me this email about the change, but when I open the tool, I see a different list from what the sender sees. Why does this happen?

When you log into the Virtual Hosts Data Conversion tool with your SUNet ID, the tool will only display the virtual proxy host entries that you can manage.

I have a WordPress site, what do I need to do to prepare for the change?

WordPress sites that are currently configured to use a virtual proxy host may experience an infinite redirect loop, making them inaccessible. 

For WordPress sites, review the documentation for updating configuration settings for WordPress. You will need admin access to the WordPress site and the AFS file system. The UIT Enterprise Technology team will work with site owners to convert their sites over the next few months. 

I have a Drupal site, what do I need to do to prepare for the change?

Drupal sites that are currently configured to use a virtual proxy host may experience an infinite redirect loop, making them inaccessible. 

For Drupal sites, review the documentation for updating configuration settings for Drupal. You will need admin access to the Drupal site and the AFS file system. The UIT Enterprise Technology team will work with site owners to convert their sites over the next few months.