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Virtual Name Redirect

How do I create Stanford-branded short links?

June 23, 2021

Overview

In January 2021, University IT will move all virtual host redirects from Stanford’s Andrew File System (AFS) to a cloud platform that will provide more flexibility, improved security, and greater performance to the virtual host service. This change will only impact virtual host redirects, not virtual host proxies at this time.

Timeline

  • October 2020
     
    Collect data through Virtual Host Data Conversion tool
  • November 2020
     
    Build and test new Virtual Host Redirect application
  • January 2021
     
    Move all virtual host redirects to new Virtual Host Redirect application
  • April 22, 2021
     
    Phase2 Release: goto.stanford.edu. 
  • May 23, 2021
     
    Project completed.

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 host information by Nov. 6, 2020

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

 

Update your data

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Every redirect URL will continue to work after they’re moved. What will change is the following:

  • Expiration notifications. Every current redirect 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 redirect is created. The owning Stanford workgroup will be notified to renew the redirect annually.
  • Required ownership. A designated Stanford 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.
  • 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 redirect owners will not be carried forward in the new tool.

How do I update my virtual host redirect data before the redirects are moved in January 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 these instructions by Nov. 6, 2020.

For additional support, submit a Help request.

In the conversion tool, I don't see any workgroups in the drop-down menu on a Virtual Host Redirect entry. What does that mean?

If you don't 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 January 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 you see on tools.stanford.edu shows both redirect and proxy virtual hosting types. The list in the conversion tool will only display the redirect URLs to which you have access through your Stanford workgroup memberships.

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.

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

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 host redirects 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 redirect that does not already show an owning workgroup, contact your local IT support for assistance or submit a Help request.