UKOLN AHDS Changing A Project's Web Site Address


A project's Web site address will provide, for many, the best means for finding out about the project, reading abouts its activities and using the facilities which the projects provides. It is therefore highly desirable that a project's Web site address remains stable. However there may be occasions when it is felt necessary to change a project's Web site address. This document provides advice on best practices which should help to minimise problems.

Best Practices For A Project Web Site Address

Ideally the entry point for project's Web site will be short and memorable. However this ideal is not always achievable. In practice we are likely to find that institutional or UKERNA guidelines on Web addresses preclude this option.

The entry point should be a simple domain name such as <> or a directory such as <>. Avoid use of a file name such as <> as this makes the entry point longer and less memorable and can cause problems if the underlying technologies change.

Reasons For Changing

If the address of a project Web site is determined by institutional policies, it is still desirable to avoid changing the address unnecessarily. However there may be reasons why a change to the address is needed.

Implementing Best Practices:
There may be an opportunity to implement best practices for the address which could not be done when the Web site was launched.
Changes In Organisation's Name:
The name of an institution may change e.g. the institution is taken over or merges with another institution.
Changes In Organisational Structure:
The organisational structure may change e.g. departments may merge or change their name.
Changes In Project Partners:
The project partner hosting the Web site may leave the project.
Project Becomes Embedded In Organisation:
The project may become embedded within the host institution and this requires a change in the address.
Project Is Developed With Other Funding Streams:
The project may continue to be developed through additional funding streams and this requires a change in the address.
Project Becomes Obsolete:
The project may be felt to be obsolete.
Technical Changes:
Technological changes may necessitate a change in the address.
Changes In Policies:
Institutional policy changes may necessitate a change in the address.
Changes In Web Site Function:
The project Web site may change its function or additional Web sites may be needed. For example, the main Web site may initially be about the project and a new Web site is to be launched which provides access to the project deliverables.

Advice On Changing Addresses

Projects should consider potential changes to the Web site address before the initial launch and seek to avoid future changes or to minimise their effect. However if this is not possible the following advice is provided:

Monitor Links:
Prior to planning a change use the (or equivalent) service to estimate the numbers of links to you Web sites.
Monitor Search Engines:
Examine the numbers of resources from your Web site which are indexed by popular search engines.

This information will give you an indication of the impact a change to your Web site address may have. If you intend to change the address you should:

Consider Technical Issues:
How will the new Web site be managed? How will resources be migrated?
Consider Migration:
How will the change of address be implemented? How will links to the old address be dealt with? How will you inform users of the change?
Inform Stakeholders:
Seek to inform relevant stakeholders, such as funding bodies, partners and others affected by the change.

Checking Processes

It is advisable to check links prior to the change and afterwards, to ensure that no links are broken during the change. You should seek to ensure that links on your Web site go to the new address.