Domain of One’s Own

Thanks to a post by Chris Aldrich a couple of days ago I stumbled upon the term “Domain of One’s Own” (or DoOO for short) which I hadn’t heard of before. It’s a service offering for university/college students where the institution provides a “normal” domain name + some basic webspace in order for them to build their own online identity without falling into yet another silo (university.yourcity/~yournamehere anyone?).

The idea originates at the University of Mary Washington which is located in Fredericksburg, Virginia and so further away from Washington DC than Baltimore 🤪 Anyway, I digress…

So what does the UMW offer here for students?

  • Your own domain name which you can pick from a pre-defined list of TLDs (.com, .org, .net, .info)
  • A LAMP environment that can be administrated using cPanel

When you leave the UMW you can take the domain and the content with you. There is a 90 day period after graduating in order to get your stuff transferred.

That project also lead to the foundation of the reclaimhosting program which provides a managed solution for this offering to institutions.

I really, really like this idea! And while I absolutely think that this should not only be offered for students in higher education it’s a good first step! And even for this audience there’s still lots of work to be done:

Looking around, I sadly only found many universities and colleges in the US offering this. None of the better known institutions in Austria has something similar. Yes, for instance back when I studied in Klagenfurt we were provided with some webspace but only within the university’s domain, same for the student email address. Because of that it was yet another silo that most of the students used only for university-related exchanges. For everything else we had something else (back then Gmail was just getting started). I checked service pages for a few larger universities and couldn’t find anything that went really beyond what we’ve had back then.

Let’s run a little mind example: Imagine you attended a college or university. It’s now 10 years later but you’ve stayed in touch with some of your friends from back then and through networking got to know lots of others. How many of your e-mail conversation with them (let’s ignore messengers etc. here) somehow goes through a Gmail or Outlook account?

Now imagine all these folks would have been able to have their own proper domain back when they were students. With the right kind of service offering around configuration and management I’m pretty sure that a large part of those folks would have been able to use the same e-mail address from back with their own domain name until today!

Can we please have something like this also in Europe? EDUroam is great but if you want to offer something beyond the experience and title that your students can take with them from their time with you, this would be a good addition to your current offering. You already offer email and webspace, I’m pretty sure companies like Gandi or OVH would be able to make you an attractive deal on the domain part 😅