Redirecting your domain with web forwarding

Web forwarding is used when you want your domain name to automatically redirect visitors to another URL. It is easy to set up and it's free.

Web forwarding can be used for redirections within your domain (i.e. example.comwww.example.com) as well as redirecting your domain name to another domain entirely (i.e. example.comwww.example.org).

This will only work if you are using Gandi's DNS!

How do I set it up?

To set up your domain forwarding, begin by logging into your control panel with a handle that has technical or administrative rights to the domain.

Click on the domain you want to be redirected. Then, on the right-hand side of the page, in the “General Information” section, find the Web Forwarding line and click on “manage”:

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You will now see the following page:

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Click on “Add a forwarding address” to bring up the page where you can add your web forwarding addresses:

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Each field in the image above is described in detail below.

Trying to redirect your bare domain to www?

The most common use of web forwarding is to make example.com redirect to www.example.com. To do this, choose 301 (permanent) forwarding, leave the “subdomain” field blank and type www.example.com (replacing example.com with your own domain, of course) in the “forwarding address” field.

1. "Type of forwarding"

In the forwarding type field, you can select between three types of redirection: 301, 302, and “Masked”.

With permanent forwarding, the real address of the site appears after the forwarding. Of the three types, it provides the best results for search-engine ranking.

This is direct forwarding, meaning that the domain name will change once the browser has been forwarded to the new address. 301 forwarding is called “Permanent” forwarding, because it is intended for addresses that are “permanent” - such as the main address of a website - as opposed to just a link within a page.

Example of a permanent redirection: www.gandi.eu (redirects to www.gandi.net)

302 Direct (temporary) Forwarding

Temporary forwarding looks and acts just like permanent forwarding to end users.

Like with direct (permanent) forwarding, the real address of the site appears after the forwarding. It results in poor search-engine ranking, however, because it is used for links within websites that are not meant to be there for a long time. Search engines therefore tend to give this type of forwarding lower priority when indexing content for their query results.

"Masked" Forwarding

This type of forwarding is used to forward your domain to another website, while keeping your domain or subdomain name in the web browser's address bar. The real address does not appear, but you will have very poor search-engine ranking.

The main disadvantage of this type of forwarding is that is uses Frames. The frame displaying the target address takes up the whole screen and has no border, so you can't see it.

  • Many search engines, such as Google, ignore framed content, and so your site will not be found easily via your domain in a search engine query.
  • Visitors will not be able to bookmark specific pages in a masked domain.
  • You won't be able to customize the site name that appears in the title bar.

In most cases a CNAME or A record will accomplish the same goal with better SEO results. Unfortunately, this is not always possible since CNAME records can only be used to point a domain toward a another domain, not one of its subdirectories.

For example: You have a blog hosted somewhere, but you want your visitors to see example.com rather than http://someblogprovider.com/freeblogmania/ in the address bar of your browser.

2. "Subdomain"

In the “subdomain” field, indicate the address you want to forward from:

  • Bare domain: Leave it blank to indicate the bare domain, i.e. domain.tld.
  • Wildcard: Use an asterisk (*) to forward all subdomains
  • Subdomain: Type www, blog, etc to indicate a particular subdomain.

3. "Forwarding address"

In the “forwarding address” field, enter the URL you want users to be redirected to.

Submit

Make sure to submit your changes! You should see a confirmation message that says the record has been successfully added.

FAQ

How long will it take for the changes to take effect?

It depends. If the zone file of the domain name you are forwarding already has an A record pointing to 217.70.184.38 or a CNAME record pointing to webredir.vip.gandi.net, then your change should take effect within a few minutes.

If a change must be made to the domain name's zone file, it will require several hours for the change to take effect due to the DNS propagation delay.

Okay, but how do I know? After adding web forwarding, go to the domain name's control panel and look at the zone file (the link will say something like “Edit the zone” or “View the zone”). Below the zone file entries, you will find the zone file's creation date (UTC). If it is today's date, you will need to wait about 3 hours for the changes to propagate.

How do I edit a web forwarding entry?

If you make a mistake, just return to the domain's list of forwarding addresses. You can update a forwarding address by clicking on the pencil icon on the right.

To remove a forwarding address, click the red 'X' to delete the entry.

If you added an entry within the last several hours, it may not have taken effect yet. You may want to wait a while before editing or deleting your entry.


if you want both www.example.com and example.com to forward to another website, then you need to add a forwarding entry for each address (one with, and one without, the www). If you do not do this, visitors will see our standard parking message “The domain name you have requested isn't available…” on whichever one you did not add.

Do you see an empty page?

It may happen that you set up masked forwarding to forward your domain to a website (such as a facebook or google website) and you see an empty page. This is because the target website does not work with frames (used for the masked forwarding). In this case you will need to use a different type of forwarding.

See also

Last modified: 06/06/2014 at 10:04 by Ryan A. (Gandi)