cloud.microsoft: Microsoft’s new top level domain

To cite Microsoft’s announcement, “cloud.microsoft is the new unified domain for Microsoft 365 apps and services.” It promises greater security and unified experience. Sounds wonderful. However, you might prefer to learn some solid facts like: what’s already migrated, or how cloud.microsoft really affects us. Read on to learn this and some more.

cloud.microsoft domain - learn more about the new Microsoft's URLs

A few words about the formal introduction

Microsoft introduced the cloud.microsoft domain on the Microsoft 365 blog. The domain was provisioned and announced in early 2023.

The part that immediately caught my attention was the word cloud listing quite a number of Microsoft service addresses, including contoso.sharepoint.com, linkedin.com or onenote.com:

Domains word cloud - the progress on cloud.microsoft introduction

Source: Microsoft 365 Blog (link a few lines above)

Call me paranoid, but that’s when I started to marvel at the possible impact of moving those to the new location. If you count all the Internet pages and documentation that includes links to those addresses, you’ll see that the impact would be rather significant.

What’s moving to cloud.microsoft?

First and foremost, microsoft.com is not going away. cloud.microsoft is reserved for user-facing Microsoft 365 experiences.

First services to be deployed in the new directory are net-new services. That’s why you can already see the abundance of Viva modules moved to cloud.microsoft. The rest is to be moved at a slower pace, to minimize negative impact.

Impact of introducing cloud.microsoft

The official statement suggests that no action is required as:

  1. *.cloud.microsoft has been added to the official list of Microsoft 365 URLs and IP ranges.
  2. The old service URLs will automatically redirect to new locations.

However, there are some real consequences that do call for action.

  1. For companies that use smart hosts, firewalls and heavy Internet traffic control, adding exceptions for *.cloud.microsoft is a must.
  2. I don’t expect people to read Microsoft’s blogs too often. That’s why it will probably be your task to increase awareness. If you train your users to spot email phishing attempts that link to microsott.com or rnicrosoft.com instead of microsoft.com (as you should), then expect them to get super nervous when they spot that Outlook opens with a brand new address shown in the address bar. To prevent unnecessary tickets and general panic attacks, educate.
  3. Whether you create Microsoft 365 related content to make admin’s life easier (you know, kind of an admin’s blog, or something like that) or just have a thousand of user training documents, you’ll need to update your content. I know there will be redirects from the ‘old’ URLs, but:
    • There’s no guarantee the redirs will work forever. Call me glass-half-empty kind of person, but I’m almost positive that at least some of them will stop working at some point.
    • You want your content to be or, at least, seem to be up-to-date. Old links suggest that your content might not have been revisited in a while. It’s a bit like still writing ‘Office 365’ instead of ‘Microsoft 365’, or ‘Azure AD’ instead of ‘Entra ID’. Even though most people know what you’re talking about, they might have some doubts.
    • Redirects put users (and some tools as well) on their toes. Better to update before it happens.

So, if you’re affected, need to know what exactly changes an what’s the progress on introducing cloud.microsoft domain in production, look below for a makeshift list of changes.

List of changes

Now, below I’m listing all the cloud.microsoft-related updates that you can see in May 2024.

Redirects and new services

That’s the list of services that have been successfully migrated to cloud.microsoft + their old URLs that are currently redirected. The question marks mean that the service was deployed to the new namespace right from the start. Or that I haven’t come across the previous URL.

Service nameOld URLNew URL
Status Pagestatus.office365.comstatus.cloud.microsoft
Swaysway.office.comsway.cloud.microsoft
Looploop.microsoft.comloop.cloud.microsoft
Viva Goalsgoals.microsoft.comgoals.cloud.microsoft
Viva Insightsinsights.viva.office.cominsights.cloud.microsoft
Microsoft Setupsetup.microsoft.com?setup.cloud.microsoft
Viva?viva.cloud.microsoft
Viva Learning?learning.cloud.microsoft
Mesh?mesh.cloud.microsoft
Microsoft Viva Engage (aka Yammer)?engage.cloud.microsoft
Microsoft Viva Pulse?pulse.cloud.microsoft
Microsoft Viva Skills?skills.cloud.microsoft

Side by side

There are services which currently operate side-by side, both on their old URLs and the new ones. Here’s the list:

Service nameOld URLNew URL
Microsoft Teamsteams.microsoft.comteams.cloud.microsoft
Microsoft 365 admin centeradmin.microsoft.comadmin.cloud.microsoft
Search & Intelligenceadmin.microsoft.com/Adminportal/Home#/MicrosoftSearchadmin.cloud.microsoft/#/MicrosoftSearch
Outlook on the webOutlook.office365.com / outlook.office.comoutlook.cloud.microsoft

By the way, currently, the only admin center available in the new Microsoft TLD is the Microsoft 365 admin center. The rest, like the Exchange admin center, is still in the microsoft.com namespace.

Trivia

Now some cloud.microsoft trivia I found unexpected:

  1. Copilot. copilot.microsoft.com and copilot.cloud.microsoft not only coexist but also represent different resources.
  2. With Viva it’s quite different – it’s viva.cloud.microsoft for the user-facing service and viva.microsoft.com for the marketing part.
  3. Teams. teams.microsoft is redirected to teams.microsoft.com, instead of the cloud.microsoft domain. Just wondering why not to the newer location. Similarly, outlook.microsoft bounces you to outlook.office.com.

What’s the future?

Using the brand name as the top-level domain (TLD) is not new (*.google, *.apple and *.amazon are only a few of examples), but still, the majority of Internet users expects dotcom rather than ‘dotbrand’ websites.

However, since a tech giant like Microsoft not only applied for, but also started using their own brand TLD, we may expect the rise of interest in the subject. The great thing about brand TLDs is that you need to have a registered trademark to apply for one, so brands aren’t likely to fall victim to domain hunting. On the other hand, unlike other domains, applying for a brand TLD is not like applying for a dotcom domain – the process is much more complex and costly. What’s more, you need to apply for a generic top-level domain (gTLD) during a specific timeframe. The next window is expected to open in April 2026.

See also:

Microsoft 365 Copilot explained by an admin, for other admins

Microsoft Viva explained: part 1 & part 2.

Tools for Exchange Server

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