See also: GO Use in Brief

What is GO?

GO is an aliasing and redirection application. An alias is an assumed name, or a false name, that conceals a true name. In this way, GO shortcuts provide an assumed name for a URL. This "false" name is normally something short and easy to remember in place of the "real" name that may be long and difficult to remember. Hence they are often called "GO shortcuts". Additionally, when the web server encounters "go/XX" in the address bar (where XX is a go shortcut) it checks the GO database for a corresponding "real" name and redirects the user there.

GO can also be called a "permalink" application. Even if content is moved to a new URL, for instance "http://www.middlebury.edu/documentation/" is moved to "http://wiki.middlebury.edu/documentation/", if the GO shortcut "go/documentation" is updated, any links using go/documentation will point to the new location. There is no need to change the link go/documentation as long as it's destination is updated, therefore it can be considered a permanent link.

GO has become quite central to the web infrastructure of the college since its launch. It eased the launch of the new site by allowing links in content to be easily updated en-mass. GO has also become central to our search strategy as GO shortcuts are now provided as suggestions and automatic-redirects when you enter search terms on the main site.

Why use GO?

GO is great for making short, easy to remember, links to college resources to be used in print media or simply for convenience.

Additionally you'll want to use a GO shortcut rather than a direct link for any resources you are linking to that could change location. As long as the shortcut admin updates the shortcut when content location changes you won't need to update any of your links.

Use existing GO shortcuts

If you'd like to visit a GO shortcut directly, simply type it into your address bar in your web browser. For instance, type "go/helpdesk/" then press "Enter" to get to the Tech HelpDesk page. If your preferred web browser uses an "omnibar" address field that performs searches by default, be sure to put "http://" in front of your GO request and add a slash at the end. Example: http://go/helpdesk/. More advice here: Using GO.

Chances are you will use a GO link without even realizing it by clicking on a normal link in a web page. You can use a GO shortcut as a URL in a link on a web page for any page internal to middlebury.edu. Example: <a href="http://go.middlebury.edu/helpdesk">helpdesk</a>. Be sure to use the full "http://go.middlebury.edu/" to ensure that links are accessible from off campus. Use GO shortcuts to information on the Middlebury site when available.

If you'd like to see a list of shortcuts that are currently available in GO simply type "go" into the address bar, or "go.middlebury.edu". This will bring you to the GOtionary where go links are listed alphabetically.

Fixing Browser Issues

Many recent versions of browsers (since 2013) have stopped resolving single-word host-names via the domain name system (DNS) and instead redirect users directly to search results if they don't see either http:// or a dot in the domain name. Unfortunately, this new behavior can prevent GO shortcuts from working in your browser if you use the just the shortest go/mail version. Additional text such as http://go/mail/ may be needed to convince the browser that you don't want to search.

For most people on the broader internet searching by default likely makes sense, but our institutional network is set up to resolve to the correct host when using only the first part of the domain name. For example our campus DNS provides the same result when you look up go and go.middlebury.edu. Likewise mail gives the same result as mail.middlebury.edu, www gives the same result as www.middlebury.edu, etc.

  • http://go.middlebury.edu/mail - The fully qualified URL will always work for all users anywhere in the world.
  • http://go/mail/ - This shortened URL should work for any browser on the campus network. It will not work for users accessing the internet from off-campus (including mobile data networks), so don't use it as the link destination in web-pages or emails.
  • go/mail - This short-form URL worked reliably on the campus network for 10 years until browser makers started defaulting to search in 2013-2014.


When you first enter the short-form go/mail into Firefox 34+ it will take you to search results, but give you a prompt to actually go to the GO host. Clicking "Yes, take me to go" will set a preference that will allow all future access to the short form of go shortcuts to work properly.

Firefox GO prompt.png

If you fail to click "Yes, take me to go", then you can manually add this preference using the following steps:

  1. In the Firefox URL bar, enter about:config and hit enter. Firefox GO config 1.png
  2. Confirm the warning "I'll becareful, I promise!"
    Firefox GO config 2.png
  3. Right-click anywhere in the list and choose New » Boolean. Firefox GO config 3.png
  4. Enter browser.fixup.domainwhitelist.go as the preference name.
    Firefox GO config 4.png
  5. Choose true as the preference value.
    Firefox GO config 5.png
  6. Find the browser.fixup.domainwhitelist.go preference in the list and confirm that it is set set to true. If not, double click on it to toggle its value to true. Firefox GO config 6.png
  7. Close the about:config tab, your browser should now permanently work with short-form go shortcuts like go/mail.


Chrome will permanently disable the search behavior for any request starting with “go/” if you follow these steps:

  1. Type a code in and hit “enter”. A search results page will appear.
  2. Below the address bar it should say “Did you mean to go to http://go/…” Click on that to follow the link to the go/shortcut.
    Chrome confim go.png
  3. After that Chrome should automatically resolve any go shortcuts.

Chrome fix #2: (tested on Chrome 52.0.x)

If you don't get prompted as mentioned above or if you miss that prompt, Chrome will use the send you to search when you enter shortcuts like go/bw. What we want instead is for Chrome to load the page at the go host-name which will then redirect us to our final destination. We can force Chrome to know about the host-name by appending a trailing slash to URL.

  1. First head to go/ -- the trailing slash is important. This should send you to the GOtionary.
  2. Future access of GO shortcuts like go/bw should now work as Chrome should remember that a host-named "go" exists and is something you visit.

Note that if you clear your browsing data you may need to repeat these steps to get Chrome to remember that GO exists.


Safari no longer supports the super-short version of URLs like go/mail. Use the http://go/mail form of the URL.

Create your own GO shortcuts

If you can't find the shortcut you're looking for, you can create your own. It's easy! Follow the steps below; refer to the additional details if needed:

  1. Point your browser to go/gotionary.
  2. Click on the "self-service shortcut creation interface!" link located toward the top of the page.
  3. The Middlebury College Central Authentication Service login page will appear. Log in with your username and password.
  4. Click on the Create tab.
  5. Open another tab on your browser then go to the page you want to link to. Copy the URL into your clipboard (select it then press CTRL/C).
  6. Enter the name of the new go shortcut you want to create.
  7. Paste the captured URL into the URL field.
  8. Enter a description for the go shortcut, add as many alias (shortcut alternatives) as you want, and add at least one other Admin person who can make changes to the shortcut.
  9. Click the Create Shortcut button.

Additional Shortcut Details

  • Shortcut - the name of the new GO shortcut
  • URL - the destination for your shortcut
  • Institution radio buttons - The GO application works on middlebury.edu and miis.edu. You can create your shortcut for either site. Click the appropriate radio button.
  • Description - an explanation of why the shortcut was made and where it goes
  • Aliases - These are alternate shortcut names that take you to the same URL. For example, perhaps go/documentation is more descriptive but go/doc is easier to type. If go/doc is not being used for something else you could make it an alias of go/documentation. Now go/documentation or go/doc will take you to the target URL. It's like two shortcuts for the price of one! Don't forget to hit the "Add Alias" button before submitting the form. You can add multiple aliases when creating your GO shortcut so you must "add" each one before submitting.
  • Admins - As the creator of a GO shortcut you are also its admin! This means you can change the shortcut, add or remove aliases and admins from the shortcut, and delete the shortcut. It also means you should take some responsibility for keeping the shortcut up to date. Perhaps you are part of a group and you'd like anyone in the group to be able to update the shortcut in case the URL changes. Simply add each user name here. Again since you can add multiple admins when creating your GO shortcut you must "add" each one before submitting.

Super Admins

In addition to normal admins who are the creators of shortcuts, or have been added as admins to the shortcuts, we've created a "superadmin" role. This is an administrative role that is only given to a few individuals who administer the GO application.


- Ability to delete or edit any GO shortcut. They are an "admin" for all GO codes.

- Ability to view an history of any shortcut. This history includes information such as when the shortcut was made and who made it, as well as any edits or flags it’s received.

- Ability to view shortcuts that have been flagged by the community as inappropriate for some reason and administer those flags.

Areas where this makes a difference

Create – When you create a code you’ll have the ability to make a hidden shortcut. You can also hide a current shortcut. Super admins are the only users able to hide shortcuts. Hidden shortcuts will still be available via the site search. We are discouraging the use of “hidden” shortcuts as they are not what the application is intended for. It’s still an option for legitimate purposes, namely admin interfaces. The codes are still publicly available but hidden codes will not be advertised in the Gotionary.

View/Update – When you go to “View/Update” in addition to the regular list of your codes there is also a link that says “As a superadmin you have the option to view a list of all codes <http://go.middlebury.edu/all_codes.php> .” This will show you the same style list but with all codes. Below this is a text input where you may enter a username and display that user's codes. There is also a history button for each code in both of these lists that normal users do not see.

Flags – You’ll have access to another tab in the self-service shortcut creation interface called “Flags”. Here you can see a table of shortcuts that have been flagged by the community. You can get info and history on the shortcut as well as visit it by clicking on it. If you’ve taken any actions that you need to on the shortcut (such as deleting the shortcut if it doesn’t belong on our site, or edited the URL or description) and want to clear the flags from the shortcut (so it no longer appears in the list) choose “Clear Flag(s)”.

Info – From each shortcut’s info page, in addition to the normal options you’ll also be able to view history or edit the shortcut right from there. This is just another way to access these options in addition to the “view a list of all codes” area.

Note: There is currently no confirmation before deletion so just be aware that deleting a shortcut will get rid of it immediately and permanently.


To go live with changes

Using Git Gui locally

  • Fetch changes in case there are new changes and merge them locally if there are.
  • IF there are submodule changes that appear, do "git submodule update", then push to gitosis.

SSH to server as root

  • cd /var/www/go
  • git status (to make sure there are no unstaged changes)
  • git pull (to pull from origin)

To update admins

SSH to server as root

  • cd /var/www/go
  • git status (Optionally see if there are unstaged changes)
  • edit config.php with emacs or vi
  • git status (Optionally to make sure your changes show up as a changed file)
  • git add config.php (to add the changes that will be committed)
  • git commit - m "enter a message about the changes you made here"
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