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Basecamp does this and so do others.

I am working on a small app, which I'd like to serve to the clients in this format. I want to let them pick a name that will be prefixed to the url.

Is this done through server management or through programming?

Would just like some information on how to get started.

I'd prefer being able to do this on heroku but I can get a dedicated server as well, if need be.

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This can be done either through site programming or other server management techniques. If you are really just serving up one app but want it accessible from many address, you can setup a wildcard subdomain system that hosts *.myappname.com, then in your app look at the domain part of the request to figure out who's version of settings to load up.

If your system is more complicated than that and includes things like sending email from that domain, you will need a way to manage creating subdomain records in DNS and perhaps managing separate virtual host configurations.

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