Choosing a domain name

How to choose a domain for your Talis Aspire Reading Lists tenancy.


Talis Aspire Reading Lists (TARL) has support for custom domain names where HTTP (not HTTPS) requests to your TARL tenancy go to a personalised address. We offer an option where both HTTP and HTTPS requests can go to an address like If you want your tenancy to only use HTTPS, then you do not have to choose or set up a custom CNAME if you do not wish to.

A domain like is a sub-domain of the domain which is managed by your university. Therefore your IT team will need to make these changes.

In our examples here we are using ‘myreadinglists’ but you can choose whatever you like as long as it makes sense to your users and uses valid sub-domain name characters (usually lowercase alphabetical characters with no spaces, hyphens or underscores).

This article gives you all you need to pass to the IT team who will make this change at your end.


These are the configurations - exact options available to you may depend on the product package you have purchased.

  • Standard By default you will use a name for both HTTP and HTTPS traffic to your tenancy. Where you can choose (within some limitations) what to use as university. It must be all lowercase alphabetical characters.
    • You do not need to set up any CNAMEs in the university DNS system.
    • All traffic will be served over HTTPS. This will make it easier for staff to embed their list directly in your Learning Management System.
  • Premium You can optionally choose to use a custom HTTP (not HTTPS) domain name such as alongside our HTTPS specific domain name. (Note that this option may depend on which product implementation you have purchased)
    • You can use an easily recognisable domain name to help staff and students remember where to go to find or create lists. This can be useful if you plan to produce promotional materials with the web address of the reading lists system on it.
    • All traffic will be redirected immediately to the HTTPS version of the domain name e.g. This will make it easier for staff to embed their list directly in your Learning Management System.
    • Your IT team will need to create the CNAME in their DNS systems.
    • You will be getting both the security of using HTTPS, with the flexibility of being able to use a branded URL in your local promotions.

Creating a custom sub-domain name

A sub-domain can only be added by the people that manage your domain name. The CNAME must point to This is our Application Delivery Network which ensures that where ever you access the tenancy in the world, you will always get the fastest response.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not use IP Addresses in the CNAME, and do not use A records. Our infrastructure is fluid and responds to the demands our customers place upon it. If you use an IP Address then you are introducing risk that there will be loss of service to your users that is out of our control. CNAME

A live example can be seen using the unix dig command. If your newly created CNAME does not result in a response with an answer section that looks like this, then it is likely not correct.

? dig
; <<>> DiG 9.8.3-P1 <<>>
;; global options: +cmd
;; Got answer:
;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 21017
;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 3, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 0

;	IN	A


;; Query time: 52 msec
;; WHEN: Mon Feb 29 09:55:10 2016
;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 125

HTTPS domain name

If you choose to use one of our HTTPS domain names and have your tenancy always using HTTPS, then your domain name will be a short form of your organisation’s name. We only support lowercase alphabetical characters in these names.


Organisation Namedomain name
Broadminster University
University of Camberwick
Free University of Gondor

We will discuss this with you and agree the short form of the name to use.

There is no going back

Once your tenancy has been setup with your custom domain, the domain cannot be changed without incurring a further charge. Changing the domain name means that we have to setup a whole new tenancy for you, so we would expect to charge a further implementation fee.

Choose your domain name carefully!

Have more questions? Submit a request


Please sign in to leave a comment.
Powered by Zendesk