Pitt IT University Domain Name (DNS) Management Standard



Pitt Information Technology (Pitt IT) is responsible for the University of Pittsburgh data and voice network including all connections to the internet and research networks. Pitt IT ensures that University resources are compliant with applicable laws and regulations. As such, Pitt IT manages and maintains the primary and secondary domain name servers (DNS) for the University of Pittsburgh, the range of IP addresses assigned to the University through Internet Assigned Number Authority (IANA), and non-routable IP addresses used internally. Pitt IT is the sole coordinating department receiving and reviewing requests for registration of hostnames and IP addresses associated with the University and its networks both physical and virtual.




PittNet DNS Management

Use and Registration of IP Addresses

Pitt IT maintains registration information for all equipment connected to PittNet, including:

  • Assigned IP address (statically and dynamically assigned)
  • Hardware address
  • Type of equipment and operating system
  • Current contact information for the device’s user (where appropriate) and security contact
  • Physical location and network port attachment (where appropriate)
  • Department of record
  • Fully qualified domain name

If a machine is moved or if any of the above listed information changes, Pitt IT must be promptly notified.

Computers and other equipment attached to the university network may only use IP addresses that have been registered with Pitt IT and have been assigned specifically for them.  

All devices that access the university network using a Network Address Translation (NAT) router are required to follow these guidelines and provide the above-mentioned registration information to Pitt IT.

Anyone using an unauthorized campus IP address may be responsible for the costs incurred to investigate any IP address conflicts or campus policy violations. Conflicting or unregistered devices may be removed from the network without notice.

IP addresses that are no longer used may be reclaimed by Pitt IT after 90 days unless other arrangements have been made.

Use and Registration of Domains and Hostnames

All University domain names end in pitt.edu or pi.tt. Pitt IT manages all domain name including sub-domain names, hostnames, CNAMEs, and all other DNS record types.

Domain name requests must be made by an official representative of university-affiliated unit or organization. The university representative may request a hostname of their choice provided that the names:

  • Comply with all University policies including 08-01-01 (Use of University Name, Logos, Trademarks, Service Marks, and Oversight of the Quality of Goods or Services with which they are Associated).
  • Refer to his/her own department or organization, or to a project managed by his/her department or organization.
  • Do not imply affiliation with a campus individual, unit, department, or activity with which he/she is not affiliated, nor conflict or cause confusion with stated business needs of another individual, unit, department, or activity.
  • Do not diminish the University’s mission or reputation.
  • Do not infringe on non-University trademarks.
  • Domain name requests may be refused or altered for reasonable cause at the discretion of Pitt IT.  

If the requested sub-domain is already assigned to another University department or organization, the current owner may be asked to voluntarily give up the conflicting name. If the department holding the name refuses and the requesting party will not accept an alternative name, Pitt IT will make the final determination.

Except for aliases and other non-address records, each domain name must point to a valid university network IP address. Exceptions may be granted for legitimate business needs and must be approved by the CIO. Exceptions are generally limited to:

  • Special arrangements with vendors providing specific (generally Pitt-branded) services to University faculty, staff, and students, where another arrangement is not possible owing to technical constraints. For these rare cases, a University business agreement must be in place.
  • Cases where a University hostname must point at another educational or research institution’s site to provide temporary hosting of an event, conference, or journal. Business agreements must reflect relevant data retention, access, privacy, and security issues necessary to appropriately protect University interests.
Non-Pitt Domain Names for University Use

University units and departments are strongly discouraged from using non-Pitt second-level domain names for university business purposes because of brand recognition and the academic credibility associated with pitt.edu sites. When the registration of a non-Pitt domain name expires, it could be purchased by a third-party and used for purposes that could reflect negatively on the university.

It is possible for a university-affiliated unit to make a strong business case to register a non-Pitt second-level domain names. All such cases must be approved by the CIO by contacting the Technology Help Desk.

A non-Pitt domain can be registered and take advantage of the university network infrastructure and services, if any of the following requirements are met:

  1. A University of Pittsburgh faculty member may request a separate domain name for his or her laboratory, research project, or other work. This request must be endorsed by the department head. At the discretion of his or her department, the faculty member may be granted permission to transfer his or her domain name to another entity outside the university upon termination of employment at the university. If the request is granted, the University of Pittsburgh relinquishes ownership of the non-pitt.edu domain name.
  2. One or more department(s), unit(s), or other recognized University organization(s) may request a separate second-level domain name when business needs require (for example, when an independent business relationship with the outside organization requires the branding of a service). Such a request must be made or approved by the department business officer or the responsible faculty member.
  3. A faculty member, department, unit, or other recognized campus organization may request a separate second-level domain name when a web site must be created for a national project spanning several institutions.
  4. A non-campus entity that is sponsored by a University of Pittsburgh department and that has been granted use of PittNet such as an organization that leases space in a building on university property may request a non-Pitt second-level domain name. In these cases, ownership of the domain name is not retained by the University.
  5. The University retains the right to all domain names that:
    • use the University of Pittsburgh name or seal
    • promote or identify a University of Pittsburgh program, service, or activity
    • are closely identified with University of Pittsburgh, regardless if they are properly registered in the name of the University of Pittsburgh
  6. Domain names with top-level domains of .com.biz, or other domains that refer to commercial or business entities shall not be registered to point at University of Pittsburgh IP address space, except when approved by the CIO by contacting the Technology Help Desk. Meaningful top-level domains should be chosen. The top-level domains of .org.info.name, or other top-level domains that refer to non-commercial, organizational, or professional entities are strongly recommended when a non-University of Pittsburgh name is required.
  7. For pitt.edu names in non-pitt.edu administered IP or IPv6 address space, Pitt IT will maintain a CNAME record to point to the name in the foreign organization’s namespace rather than an “A or AAAA” record in the foreign organizations address space but exceptions can be granted by the CIO by contacting the Technology Help Desk.
  8. The administrative and technical contact information for the domain must be listed as the University NOC and the University’s DNS server. The billing contact should be the user.


Exceptions to these provisions may be made where historical or resource-sharing agreements have been made with other organizations to “trade” name services, especially where such trades provide increased redundancy for the campus network.


Domain Name – An identification string that defines a realm of administrative autonomy, authority or control within the Internet. A domain name represents an Internet Protocol (IP) resource, such as a personal computer used to access the Internet.

Hostname – Hostnames are human-readable nicknames that correspond to the address of a device connected to a network. They are used by various naming systems, e.g., Network Information Service (NIS), Domain Name System (DNS), Server Message Block (SMB) and the meaning of hostname varies according to the naming system used.

Network – Physical infrastructure (e.g., cables, routers, switches, access points), protocols, and IP address management (e.g., IP address assignment, domain name services, certificate).

Sub-domain – A domain name that is a subordinate to a higher-level domain (i.e., cssd.pitt.edu is a sub-domain of pitt.edu).


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Article ID: 219
Tue 8/1/23 4:29 PM
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NETWORK AND CONNECTIVITY MANAGEMENT Pitt IT manages and maintains the primary and secondary domain name servers (DNS) and the range of IP addresses assigned to the University.