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When the domain resolves OK for a website, but the IP throws a 404 at the site, is this a DNS problem?

Kind of complicated: I have a client with 3 domains. All three point to one hosting account. Two are pointed at that host, but are not the root of the WordPress install. One domain is for WordPress; and that domain also has some subdomains configured in DNS. (Network Solutions hosting and domains)

I've advised them that the two domains should be domain forwarded, not pointed at the hosting account, and that might be part of the problem.

Where do I start trying to figure this out? What else do I need to question or investigate?

Edit 8/19/10:

Thanks for the responses, and everyone had suggested host headers, but I don't know what those are or where I would find those settings. The hosting is called nsHosting Shared (Small-Unix). I can't find any more details on it. Nothing out of the ordinary in .htaccess.

This is the DNS for the domain that Wordpress is installed under (no CNAME records):

Host                                 IP
www                     206.188.192.100  Network Solutions Hosting
@ (None)                206.188.192.100  Network Solutions Hosting
* (All Others)          206.188.192.100  Network Solutions Hosting
grafton.mydomain.com       216.161.227.32 
mail.mydomain.com         24.111.147.85 
remote.mydomain.com     24.111.147.85 
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

No, it's not a DNS problem. It's a web server configuration problem. The solution could be as simple as adding host headers to each web site but we'll need more specifics from you regarding your web server\site configuration.

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Thanks for the response, added info above. – markratledge Aug 20 '10 at 2:42
    
What are the three client web site URL's and what ip addresses do those URL's resolve to? My suspicion is that you have 2 different URL's resolving to the same ip address, which is not going to work. Only one web site can run on one ip address unless you use host headers, a different port, or code to direct the client browser to the correct web site. – joeqwerty Aug 20 '10 at 3:20
    
(My response should he here): Yup, you're right. Finally found out by rooting around in the configuration control panel that the other domains are pointing at the same hosting package with the same IP. So those other domains should be domain forwarded to the main domain? – markratledge Aug 20 '10 at 3:34

Sounds more like an HTTP server issue. Check how hostnames are used in your configuration. I use this "feature" to point users that don't have a Host: header to a specific DocRoot in my configuration.

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Thanks for the response, added info above. – markratledge Aug 20 '10 at 2:42
    
Yup, you're right. Finally found out by rooting around in the configuration control panel that the other domains are pointing at the same hosting package with the same IP. So those other domains should be domain forwarded to the main domain? – markratledge Aug 20 '10 at 3:27
    
Basically, yes. Although it is difficult to say, I configure web servers manually, you seem to use a management software like Plesk or something. See if you can set a default DocRoot for that service, it should be taken when the server receives no Host: header. – polemon Aug 20 '10 at 3:50

Most likely you have virtual hosts/host headers set up if the sites are all on the same IP and port.

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Thanks for the response, added info above. – markratledge Aug 20 '10 at 2:41

Kicking quite an old thread, but I ran into a similar issue. After fiddling around while attempting to install an SSL certificate, my server was also throwing 404s when accessed via the IP address, whereas all worked fine via the FQDN. Sadly, a number of our older apps access the server via a hard-coded IP address . .

The issue was solved by adding a binding in IIS (8.5, Windows Server 2012 R2) with a blank Host Name value. You can only add one in two steps:

  • Add a new http binding and enter a Host Name, then press OK,
  • Edit the thing and remove the Host Name, then press OK again.

In one pass it won't work because the OK button will remain dimmed.

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