Imperial websites should be developed to operate within the College's visual standards, templates and infrastructure and using standard applications. This includes sites created within the t4 content management system and use of other standard College-wide applications such as Professional Web Pages (PWP).

There are sometimes situations where these standard applications may not be appropriate, for instance a collaborative initiative requiring non-Imperial branding and a non-Imperial URL, or a custom application key to the research activities of a unit. In such instances alternative hosting solutions can be requested via ICT.

All affiliated Imperial websites, whether using standard College-wide applications or hosted separately, must comply with College Accessibility standards and data protection policies. There are large risks involved with Imperial College London not complying with these regulations, including reputational and financial. 

Non-standard hosting 

It may not always be appropriate to use standard College-wide applications. Typical reasons for this include: 

  • requirement to use non-Imperial URLs 
  • hosting web servers outside the College web server farm 
  • divergence from the standard College web page templates due to a branding requirement 
  • technical requirements cannot be met by use of standard applications 
  • catering for interactive and transactional sites, specifically where persistent connections are required.

Applying for a non-standard website, domain, URL or hosting space 

In order to cater for these  hosting requests the following process has been implemented: 

  1. The originator of the request needs to document the rationale in the online Request a website (non T4), domain, URL or hosting space form on ASK.  By completing this form the Web Officer for the Faculty (FWO) or organisational unit will be asked to approve it.  
  2. If approved by the Faculty Web Officer, the exception request will be submitted to the relevant team in ICT to process the application. If additional information is required this will be requested from the Faculty Web Officers or ICT. The requester will be notified of progress.   

Note: Because technologies change, the rationales for non-standard hosting will also change over time.  Therefore there will be a review period for each request to decide whether the requirement still stands. This includes the use of shorter or vanity URLs.

Criteria which may justify an exception

Read the following for further information on the reasons where deviation from the College’s visual standards, templates and infrastructure is appropriate: 

Exception to URL policy - the URL is not within the domain 

  • A research or collaborative project or association, where College members collaborate with other universities or academics from other institutions. 
  • A College spin-off, or licensed sub-brand 
  • A College commercial venture (eg. Imperialshop) 

Where a site is an exception to the URL policy but is hosted on College web servers, then College web content management policies apply. 

Exception to URL policy - the URL is within the domain. 

  • The urls of websites stored and managed within the College Content Management System are of the format with suffix qualifiers added for each level within the site. Sometimes, a shortcut may be desired for easy access to information which is stored at a low level within the website. Each such request must be supported by the Faculty Web Officer and will be evaluated on its own merits. 
  • Subdomains of the domain i.e. Please refer to the  Policy for subdomain requests for before requesting an subdomain. 

Exception to the use of College branded templates 

Normally, sites which qualify for URL exception under the first bullet point above, will also be exempt from the requirement to be presented in College branded templates. However, in the majority of cases, they will carry the Imperial College logo to recognise that the site has an association with Imperial College London. The correct format artwork for the logo will be provided by the Communications Division once they have approved its use. 

Exception to hosting of the website or server on the central College web server farm

  • A web server may qualify for registration outside the College central web hosting environment if: 
  • The site is commercial in its operation and hosting it on a JANET connected server would breach UKERNA conditions of use 
  • The website is developed as part of the core business processes of a unit 
  • The system is a 'sandbox' learning or experimental environment 
  • Technology constraints limit the ability of the site to be compliant, eg: 
  • incompatibility with College standard software or hardware 
  • the application requires persistent connections, either technical or in terms of usability. 

Where an exception is approved, then a 'system custodian' must be appointed who will ensure compliance with the College Information Systems Security Policy. 

General exception criteria

  • Time criticality - the site needs to be implemented by a deadline, eg. the start of a new academic year, and cannot be made compliant by that date 
  • Resource prohibition- the cost or effort required to make the site compliant would outweigh the business benefits, thereby destroying the business case for the initiative. 

Examples of some common requests for exception to web policy 

  • Assignment of a shortcut or level 1 url in the domain. 
  • A non-branded website for a collaborative project, hosted on College webfarm servers (Windows or LINUX). 
  • A non-branded website for a collaborative project, to be hosted on the project's own hardware, managed in the ICT datacentre. 
  • A non-branded website to be hosted on departmental hardware. 
  • Access is required, via the College firewall to a departmentally hosted site. 
  • A hostname is required in the domain for an application (custom built or package based). 

Apply for domain and/or hosting 

Providing you have read and understand the details above, you can apply online for a domain name and/or hosting