Yesterday, I noticed one of my local meetings lists on their Facebook page a web address like LocalCityFriends.org . One problem: they don’t own the domain. They’re using FGC’s Quaker Cloud these days, and those web addresses are just a bear to recite, but they weren’t redirecting to Quaker Cloud. Redirecting is like setting up a “DETOUR” sign, but on the internet.
I sent them an email, letting them know their domain must’ve expired without them noticing. They wrote back that they’d given up the domain because FGC doesn’t offer a redirect service, and they didn’t want to pay for two servers just to have one be a page with a redirect set up. They asked if I knew a way of redirecting to Quaker Cloud cheaply.
Yes! You don’t need two server contracts. When you buy a domain from a domain registrar, they typically host the DNS (domain name service) for you too, for free. You can put the redirect right into the DNS.
I use Namecheap as my registrar, so that’s the example I’ll use. It should be similar on other registrars. I pay them about $12/yr for dot-org domains, of which I have far too many. Don’t ask how many of my domains have the word “Quaker” in them. When I click “manage” on any of my domains, I get the option to go to Advanced DNS. From there, I can add a “URL Redirect Record.”
To redirect the plain domain, put “@” into the Host field, the Quaker Cloud URL into the Value. Choose “Permanent (301)” from the dropdown. This will ensure that any links floating around the internet already telling search engines that LocalCityFriends.org is a good website keep working in your favor.
Don’t choose “masked.” That’ll put the whole page inside a frame, and then as they change pages, the address bar won’t change, and so visitors won’t be able to figure out how to copy a link to a specific page.
There you go! Now you can at least have the front page of your site have a reasonably short (and memorable) web address.