Get an address (url)

Websites glossary

Let’s make an analogy with a house.

the building.
Domain name
the postal address of the building.
the full postal address of the person.
CMS (WordPress EPFL…)
the hotel: the layout and services are proposed and the clients used them without being able to substantially modify them.
the appearance of the building, from the façade to the wallpapers in the corridors, including the architecture of the rooms.
what is in each room of the flat (furniture, knick-knacks etc).

EPFL website structure

EPFL’s website consists of one unified structure. It has three main menus – Education, Research and Innovation – which correspond to our School’s three missions, as well as ”About” and ”Campus” sections that describe EPFL and campus life in general.

  • All these pages have a URL that begins with…
  • The webpages for individual labs have a URL that begins with[acronym].


You can request a URL with the format (i.e., a subdomain of the website) for:

  • Your laboratory, in which case the pages would be under
  • Specific applications like People, Search, News or Map, or for a specific software program used by your lab.
  • Temporary initiatives and events.
  • Applications and websites for use only by the EPFL community (e.g., Moodle and Chronos).
  • Displaying information on the EPFL intranet, in which case the pages would be under
  • The service is not open for students projects or information, unless they are managed by an official EPFL unit.

The procedure is described in detail in Directive 6.2.1, “Directive concerning domain name management (other than at EPFL.” The Directive also lists which units and managers are responsible for approving domain name requests (see Section 1, Article 4 of the Directive).

Requests for obtaining an URL must meet specific requirements. Here are some of the main points to keep in mind:

  • The exact procedure will depend on what kind of entity is making the request – a lab, student association, or project group, for example – and what kind of content will be displayed.
  • The URL cannot contain a proper noun (e.g.,; pages for EPFL students and staff are grouped under
  • The URL cannot contain a word that is commonly used in educational and research circles (in either French or English). If a requested URL is for a subdomain that could be used by several EPFL units, all units involved must agree to the content that will be displayed on the webpage or website corresponding to the URL.
  • URLs must be between 2 and 32 characters.
  • They may only contain lower-case letters, numbers and hyphens (“-”).
  • Only one subdomain is allowed. In other words, your requested URL cannot contain more than two periods – which corresponds to three levels. For example, in the URL, “abc” is level 1, “epfl” is level 2 and “ch” is level 3.


Hosting and domain names

Internal vs. external hosting and URLs

Hosted at EPFL
Hosted outside EPFL (external)
URLs for an subdomain
Governed by Article 5 of the Directive (see 1)Naming rules are given in Article 5 of the Directive.
DNS redirection is managed by EPFL’s internet team (see 2)
URLs other than for (external) (see 3)Governed by Article 9 of the Directive.
DNS configuration is not managed by EPFL’s network team (see 4)
Governed by Article 9 of the Directive

Once your URL has been approved, it will point to a website hosted at EPFL.

If you would like to create an URL that redirects to a server in the cloud or hosted elsewhere outside EPFL yet displays the address, you must make a special request by sending an email to the EPFL internet team at ([email protected]).

  • If your request is approved, the network team will set up the redirect.
  • All websites to which an address redirects must contain EPFL’s official logo and a link to the EPFL home page (
  • The technical specifications for these URLs are the same as those for URLs (see Directive )

For alias requests (i.e., where the URL automatically changes to the target address once the page has opened) you can:

  • send an email to [email protected]
  • configure the alias on your own server (if you’re the IT manager).
  • The technical specifications for these URLs are the same as those for URLs (see Directive )
  • All websites to which an address redirects must contain EPFL’s official logo and a link to the EPFL home page

If you would like to purchase (or have already purchased) your own domain name, such as, you must follow the requirements of Directive 6.2.1.

If your domain name contains the letters “epfl,” you should contact Mediacom to have your website’s content approved and learn about the rules you should follow (like displaying EPFL’s official logo).

EPFL does not check and is not responsible for domain names and URLs that are not part of the School’s network and that redirect to external servers, even if they explicitly contain the letters “epfl” (e.g., and

If you have purchased an external domain name but the website itself is hosted on an EPFL server, then you must configure the DNS server of the company where the domain name is registered (registrar) so that the domain name directs to the correct website.


Redirections, shortcuts and aliases

We suggest you redirect the URLs for deleted websites and webpages to new ones, to prevent a 404 error (page not found) from appearing. You can request a redirect by sending an email to [email protected].

If you would like to create a shortcut for a long URL, we strongly suggest you use the service. This lets you manage shortcuts on your own. Shortened URLs are especially handy for promoting websites and displaying links on printed materials.

Aliases are short URLs (like that redirect to a webpage with another address. They are allowed for certain webpages at EPFL if you need them for historical reasons (such as if you’ve changed the name of your department). The procedure for obtaining one is the same as that for a regular URL.
Aliases are not declined (e.g. it is possible to request an alias which redirects to another page, but not

You cannot improve your website’s search engine ranking by creating a flurry of shortened URLs and aliases that redirect to it. Rankings are based only on a website’s main URLs and the syntax of links pointing to it.


Intranet pages

You can use WordPress to create pages for the EPFL intranet. The URLs for these pages start with and do not have to be approved.

The content of intranet pages is not indexed by search engines.

EPFL layouts & styleguide

There is no dependency between the EPFL graphic charter and the choice of a web address (and hosting solution).
The graphic charter is applied by default when using the EPFL WordPress CMS (and on most EPFL IT tools). It must be implemented when developing a stand-alone site (or application).