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Virtual Proxy Hosting

Overview

University IT will retire the Virtual Proxy Host service on Sept. 30, 2021. All current virtual proxies, which do not include authentication, will be automatically converted to the new Vanity URL service on April 30.

The Vanity URL cloud service provides improved security and greater performance for redirecting service. After the conversion, every proxy entry will continue to work but will no longer hide the “real” destination URL from the client’s browser.

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
     
    UIT will move all non-authenticated virtual name proxies to the Vanity URL tool.
  • September 2021
     
    UIT retires Virtual Name Proxy.

What you can do

To help prepare for the change and ensure that members of your specified Stanford Workgroup will be able to manage redirects after the move, please use the Virtual Host Data Conversion tool to update your virtual name proxy information by April 1, 2021

Follow these instructions or please submit a Help request for additional support.

  1. Login to the Virtual Hosts Data Conversion tool with your SUNet ID. The tool will only display the virtual proxy hosts you can manage and that will be automatically converted.
  2. In the New Workgroup column, select Stanford Workgroup from the drop-down menu that will own the virtual host in the corresponding row. No personal workgroups (indicated by “~” before the SUNetID) are permitted. Learn more about How to Create and Delete Workgroups in Workgroup Manager.
  3. If the virtual proxy host is inactive or no longer needed, select Yes-Delete in the Delete column. This column will be marked No-Keep by default.
  4. Click Save.

Update your proxy entry

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen to virtual host redirects after they're moved to the new platform?

All current virtual proxies, which do not include authentication, will be automatically converted to the new Vanity URL service on April 30. Every proxy vhost entry will continue to work after they’re moved but will no longer hide the “real” destination URL from the client’s browser. Other changes include:

  • Required ownership. A designated Stanford Workgroup is required to own a Vanity URL so that UIT can send yearly expiration notifications to the workgroup about impending expirations. Only organizational stems allowed (no person stems like ~SUNetID). Review help on getting started with Workgroups for more information or submit a Help request.
  • Expiration notifications. Every current proxy vhost entry will have a one-year expiration date beginning on the date of the move. After the move, one year will begin on the date a new Vanity URL is created. The owning Stanford workgroup will be notified to renew the redirect annually.
  • New functionality. Workgroup members will have the ability to create short links based on the defined virtual host redirect name. Workgroup members also have the ability to change redirect ownership in the new tool at any time.

Important: Without a workgroup designated as the owner, you will not be able to manage redirects in the new tool and the virtual host redirect name will expire in January 2022 with no advanced notice. Though redirects will continue to work after the move, current vhost proxy owners will not be carried forward in the new tool.

How do I update my virtual proxy host data before the virtual proxy host entry(s) are moved in at the end of April 2021?

To help prepare for the change and ensure that members of your specified Stanford workgroup will be able to manage redirects after the move, follow the Web Virtual Proxy Host Retirement Support instructions by April 28, 2021.

For additional support, submit a Help request.

Additionally, workgroup members will have the ability to create short links based on the defined virtual host redirect name.

In the conversion tool, I don't see any workgroups in the drop-down menu for my Virtual Proxy Host entry(s). What does that mean?

If you do not see any workgroups listed, that means you are not currently a member of any (non-personal) Stanford workgroup. To test this, have the closest Stanford department create a workgroup or add you to an existing workgroup they control. Log back into the conversion tool and pick the workgroup from the New Workgroup drop-down.

Why is workgroup required if there is an owner?

A designated workgroup is required to own a redirect so that UIT can send yearly notifications to the workgroup, or redirect managers, about impending expirations of any redirects.

Additionally, workgroup members will have the ability to create short links based on the defined virtual host redirect name.

​Important: Without a workgroup designated as the owner, you will not be able to manage redirects in the new tool and the virtual host redirect name will expire in May 2022 with no advanced notice. Current redirect owners will not be carried forward in the new tool.

Why does my list of virtual host redirects in the conversion tool not match my list of virtual hosts in tools.stanford.edu?

The list in the conversion tool will only display the redirect URLs to which you have access through your Stanford workgroup memberships.The list you see on tools.stanford.edu shows both authenticated and unauthenticated virtual proxy host entries. The list in the conversion tool will only display unauthenticated virtual proxy host entries being automatically converted. The authenticated entries require evaluation by site owners before they can be moved.

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 more information, see the FAQ below: What are the options for owners of authenticated virtual proxy hosts? 

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.

How do I know what workgroup to select as the owner of the redirect?

If you are unsure which workgroup to select for a proxy entry that does not already show an owning workgroup, here are some possible solutions:

  • Create a workgroup that only allows trusted users to access to maintain the virtual host. As a standard, only a limited number of informed individuals should have maintenance access. Don’t forget, workgroup members assigned to a Vanity URL can drop it freeing the domain for other uses on campus by anyone.
  • If you don’t have access to an organizational stem in workgroup manager, you can submit a Help request for us to create workgroup specific for this purpose. Please include :
    • Name (short) of workgroup (or I’ll make it up)
    • Admins of the group (those who can add/delete members)
    • Members (very important), those who’ll be able to manage the virtual proxy host entry in both the conversion tool and ultimately the Vanity URL application.
  • Contact your local IT support for assistance to see if they know about it or have suggestions.

If you are unsure which workgroup to select for a redirect that does not already show an owning workgroup, contact your local IT support for assistance or submit a Help request.

What are the options for owners of authenticated virtual proxy hosts?

Owners of authenticated virtual proxy host entries will have more to consider, including:

  • If your proxy is no longer needed, please delete it.
  • If your proxy no longer needs authentication, submit a Help request by April 28 so it can be added to the conversion tool and moved to the Vanity URL application.
  • If your proxy needs authentication, you have several options: