Domain Names and Network Addresses

Last updated: September 16, 2022

In order to use the Internet, your computer or device connected to the campus network needs a unique number called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. The way you can get this IP address depends on what operating system you are using, and where you are located.

Individual Computers

Dynamic IP Addresses

Most computers can be configured to automatically receive an IP address each time they connect to the network. These are known as Dynamic IP addresses and no registration is required. Check with your system administrator about Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) configuration. One big advantage to using DHCP is if you move your machine to another office on a different subnet, the configuration is completely transparent. You do not need to change any of the settings.  This also applies to mobile devices connected to the UW wireless networks, as they may seamlessly roam between different buildings and locations all over campus.  DHCP clients receive an address with a set lease time.  Halfway through the lease time the client will renew the lease with the server for the same address.  A machine that remains on the same network and is online at least once within the lease period will retain the same address so long as the specific pool does not fill up.

Static IP Addresses

Dynamic IP addresses using DHCP are not ideal when you have a server or system that needs to remain on the same IP address. A static IP address is an address that doesn’t change. Once a device is assigned a static IP address, that IP address typically stays the same until the device is decommissioned or network architecture changes. Static IP addresses generally are used by servers or other important equipment.

If you are an Administrative Contact of a group which has a range of IP addresses delegated to you through the Networks Portal, you may add a reservation or PTR record to a specific address and configure your machine to use that address. For reservations, we typically want to have a contact name, phone number, email address and/or UWNetID, and building and room location.

Static IP addresses only work on the specific network that the wallport and switchport are configured for, and if your machine changes location, especially to another building it will no longer work.  In addition to the IP address itself, you will need to update the gateway, the subnet mask, and enter in DNS servers manually.  Users should never configure a DHCP address statically into their machine, as that will cause IP address conflicts and may result in your wallport being disabled. 

If you do not have admin access through the Networks Portal but wish to request a static IP address from UW-IT,  Send a Question to UW Technology and fill out the form on the page. Write “IP/DNS assignment” in the topic field of the form. Alternatively you may contact UW Technology Network Operations at 206-221-5000 or

In order to speed processing of your request via e-mail or over the phone, please be sure to include the following information:

  • Contact’s full name
  • Contact’s email address
  • Contact’s phone number
  • Building and room number
  • (Optional) Hardware type (e.g. Macintosh, PC)
  • (Optional) O/S (e.g. MacOSX, Vista, WinXP, Linux)
  • (Optional) Subnet (if known)

Note that UW Information Technology does not administer all subnets on campus. If your subnet does not fall under UW Information Technology administration, or if a specific departmental contact exists, you will be referred to  an appropriate contact.

Static DHCP entries

Somewhat of a hybrid between a DHCP entry and a static IP address is the “static DHCP” or sDHCP entry.  Client machines on a given network can have the same IP address provided from the DHCP server based on their hardware or MAC address.  The client machine is still configured to use DHCP.   Like static IP addresses, for Administrative contacts through the networks portal, sDHCP can be assigned.    Select a free IP address within your address set, but instead of clicking on the IP address itself, hit the link for ‘assign static dhcp’.  You must give the machine a nickname and you also must add its hardware ethernet address via the Add button in the option section below.  MAC addresses should be added with the aa:bb:cc:dd:ee:ff format, with colons and all alpha characters in lower case.

Non-administrative contacts may request an sDHCP entry from UW-IT by providing the correct subnet, a machine nickname, and its MAC address along with your name, phone number, and email address.

When a machine is removed from the campus network due to age or failure, please remember to remove or have your sDHCP entry removed.  When moved to another network, we believe the client machine will still receive an entirely new DHCP address but it will be subject to regular DHCP leasing and renewal processes.

Network Domains

Domain Naming System (DNS) Hostname Request

To request a DNS hostname go to Send a Question to UW Information Technology and select the topic IP/DNS assignment. Alternatively you may send email to and include the following information:

  • Contact’s full name
  • Contact’s email address
  • Contact’s phone number
  • Contact’s UW NetID (optional*)
  • Hardware type (e.g. Macintosh, PC)
  • O/S (e.g. MacOSX, Vista, WinXP, Linux)
  • Hostname requested (including subdomain**)
  • IP address (or the subnet if an IP is needed)

*Associating a UW NetID with a DNS hostname will allow you to take advantage of many infrastructure services (Certificate Services, Authentication Services, UW Groups, etc.).

**Subdomain refers to the (typically) departmental subdomain under which you belong. There is no general campus subdomain. If you do not know your departmental subdomain, please give the name of your department. If your department does not have an established subdomain, there is a process that can be started to get one set up. However, creating a subdomain requires several levels of approval and can be involved and time-consuming. Please contact for details or follow the steps for requesting a new subdomain.

Requesting New Domains and Sub-domains

New sub-domains within the domain can be requested as well as non-UW domains, by submitting a request to UW-IT.

Private Address Routing

The Private Address Routing service provides an option for increasing security of systems which do not need full, unmediated Internet connectivity.

UW-IT’s Role

UW Information Technology retains ultimate responsibility for the distribution and usage of IP addresses on the UW network. Unregistered usage of an IP may result in UW Information Technology restricting or shutting off your connectivity.