Friday, June 05, 2015

Domain configuration - notes on www and naked domains

I’m writing this primarily for myself. I’ll try to update it as I learn more.
I’ve used DreamHost for years, I have several domains there. Recently I created one for our mountain bike team - I set it up as “Fully Hosted” and created a few subdomains so I could create a subdomain like that would redirect to our Facebook site. (This is probably not the best way to do this, maybe better to use Apache URL rewrites with .htaccess)
I was even able to get a subdomain to work properly with wikispaces.
That’s when I ran aground. I wanted the naked domain, or to point to that same wiki page. As best I can tell, with DreamHost, you can’t do that through DNS or domain configuration. For one thing, and are treated by DreamHost as synonyms. You can’t really have them behave differently.
For another DreamHost, for a fully hosted domain, sets up a fixed type A DNS record to reference DreamHost’s IP address.
Can this be done for a DNS only configuration, with hosting disabled?
I think there’s a way to do it with Google Apps, in particular I’m pretty sure there’s a way to have a naked domain or www.domain reference a Google Site. I’m just not quite sure how to do it. Clues might be in these references ...
Phew. This is a tiring domain to explore. Not only is it fundamentally complex, the documentation is marginal (Google has the best, but it’s Google Apps specific) and experimentation is hard. It’s easy to mess up a domain, and changes can take time to propagate. There are lots of quirks; I discovered Chrome will cache DNS redirects, so if you make a change and Chrome doesn’t seem to know about it try incognito mode. Good luck!

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