Frequently Asked Questions


Stanford Domains is a project at Stanford University offered by the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL).

Stanford Domains offers students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to register a domain (.edu) and create a digital presence through various mediums such as blogs, portfolios, and wikis. Students can easy install popular open-source applications such as WordPressMediaWikiDrupal, and Omeka on their space giving them an unlimited amount of ways to creatively express and create their digital identity.

Shared web hosting and subdomains are offered for free to all students, faculty, and staff at Stanford University. This free subdomain looks like [freesubdomain].stanford.domains

Alternatively, a custom domain can be acquired and mapped to a Stanford Domains hosting account for $12/year. This custom domain looks like [customdomain].com (can also end in .org or .net).

Create a blog, or a personal website, or your very own wiki page for collaboration (see here for more information). These are just a few examples of what is possible with a Stanford Domains account. All users of Stanford Domains users must abide by the Terms of Use.

The most popular Stanford Domains use case are websites and blogs created with WordPress.

Instructors wishing to use Stanford Domains as a course site should keep in mind that it must be completely optional for students to display their work and assignments on a public site. Alternate forms of assignments should be offered if students wish to not post their content publicly. There are also many options for restricting public access to any or all site content and we are happy to consult with you on options that best meet your needs (please contact stanforddomains@stanford.edu)    
No, users who joined Stanford Domains will not be billed for their custom domain name at this time.

Technical Questions

Domain names are simply addresses to websites. For example www.stanford.edu is a domain name.

A subdomain is a way to organize and separate content on your website. For instance, domains.stanford.edu is a subdomain of stanford.edu

If you possess a domain, you are able to create an almost infinite number of subdomains associated with it. In practice, this allows a user to simultaneously install multiple web applications to each of their domain and subdomains (such as WordPressOmekaMediaWiki, and/or Drupal).

For more information please refer to the support article on subdomains.

A web application is like an app for your phone or software for your computer. Specifically, a web application is a specialized piece of software to be installed on a server and used to manage web content.

WordPressMediaWikiDrupal, and Omeka are all examples of web applications. Each have their own advantages and limitations for developing web content. Therefore, selecting the proper web application to suit your needs is an important step to success.

To see some more examples of web applications, refer to the list that can be easily installed on your Stanford Domains account.

The cPanel is a simplified user interface that allows one to manage content on a server without needing to learn terminal commands.

Creating new subdomains, installing web applications, managing server files, etc. can all be accomplished within the cPanel.

For more information about the cPanel, please refer to the cPanel Introduction page.

Installatron is the web application installer that is part of the cPanel. In other words, it is where you can install or uninstall web applications on your domain or subdomain addresses.

To learn how to use Installatron to install a web application, refer to the corresponding Stanford Domains support page.

“WordPress is the most used blog application powering millions of blogs and being used by tens of millions of people every day.”

WordPress is a powerful open source software that allows individuals to create websites and blogs. Within WordPress, there are options to customize not only the content of a website, but also its appearance and functionality. In fact, between themes and plugins, these components of WordPress offer limitless customization of how a website looks and operates.

For instance, some themes offer custom background images, color schemes, menus, and widgets. On the other hand, plugins can be used to increase security for your WordPress website, allow visitors to make profiles on your website, or include maps, buttons, and galleries of photographs on your website.

For more information, please see the Stanford Domains Support content on WordPress.

WordPress plugins are like browser extensions or software expansion packs. They allow infinite levels of functionality customization for a WordPress website.

Plugins enable you to:

To enable new features on your WordPress website, install plugins within your WordPress web application.

Yes. We suggest Jetpack by WordPress.com and Akismet to get started.

Please note, Jetpack requires a WordPress.com account and Akismet requires additional setup.

General Questions

If you do not find answers to your questions in this FAQ, the Support site, or across the internet, please send your question(s) to stanforddomains@stanford.edu.

To establish and control your digital presence on the web.

In today’s world, where information about people is easily accessible, it is important to consider how one can influence what information is associated with their name. One excellent technique would be to create a blog or a portfolio of accomplishments that is affiliated with your name. That way, when your name is entered into a search query such as Google, the information available is what you have created and curated.

With this overview:

  1. Select your domain name. (More information.)
  2. Sign up on domains.stanford.edu. (Here’s a guide.)
  3. Install a web application, we suggest installing WordPress first. (Here’s how to install a web application.)
  4. From this point, you can use your web application as your sole means to manager your website. However, to install more or different web applications, you will need to sign in to domains.stanford.edu to manage these settings.

Lynda.com is a video repository like YouTube. However, Lynda.com contains instructional videos intended to teach viewers about specific topics and can be used to learn how to work with web applications such as WordPress.

Lynda.com is normally a paid service. Fortunately, Stanford students, faculty, and staff members have FREE access to this tool at itservices.stanford.edu/lynda. In other words, Stanford Domains users have access to course materials associated with using domains.stanford.edu.

Portions of our FAQ have been adapted with permission from create.ou.edu.