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I have site hosted at a domain I have a newer version of the same site hosted at I would like to retire, but for reasons of familiarity and pagerank, I need to keep the domain for a while.

What are my options in regards to forwarding or redirecting users that arrive at to

Ideally, I don't want to pay the hosting fees at any longer, but I will if needed.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Whatever you choose, you'll need to keep domain registered.

Having done that you can setup an extra vhost on the server that handles You then change the A records for to point to the same IP that has (or use a CNAME if you prefer).

That vhost definition for will redirect any traffic landing on to If you use apache it would probably look something like this (where aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd is the IP address of the server)

<VirtualHost aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd:80>

    RedirectMatch permanent ^/$$1

The important part of that stanza above is the use of the 301, permanent, direct code, which is recommended by SEO experts to "transfer" the pagerank of one domain to another. I have heard this process can take some (read 6 or more) months to take effect

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+1 for point out that you should use the 301 redirect code as part of the redirect. This is a perm change, indicate so. Don't take the easy way out of CNAME it will cause more trouble than it's worth with search engines, and your users won't see the change. There are also services out there that "host" the redirect for you if you don't/can't do it yourself. – WaldenL May 5 '09 at 13:34
Just to clarify - I will keep the domain registered. I just want to dump the hosting cost. – Jeff May 13 '09 at 14:28

Do not use the CNAME if you're planing to retire Use 301 permanent redirect instead.

If you'd use CNAME, Google (and other search engines) will keep sending users to, while with 301, they'll send them directly to

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The easiest option is to create a CNAME in DNS for and point it at and configure the web server to listen to both domain names.

A nicer alternative is to return a 301 (permanent redirect). Most browsers will automatically update bookmarks/favorites.

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You have several options:


Set up an CNAME record in your zone file:        CNAME

Using your domains:        CNAME

This is your best option as it means you don't need to have a physical server.

Apache/IIS Redirect

Use your web serving software to redirect users, this is more flexible but requires you keep a sever up and running.

HTTP Meta Refresh

The simplest option a simple meta refresh tag:

<META http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL=">

Again you'll need a server,

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The META refresh tag is far from standard and does not work with most robots. – bortzmeyer May 8 '09 at 11:53
meta is simply ugly – Pacerier Jul 25 '11 at 10:03

Assuming you are running DNS, and Apache, on Linux and that the files for both, x and domains reside on the same machine:

  • Add the entry to your DNS, so it can be resolved
  • Add as a virtual domain on your Apache, and point it to the same physical location where is.
  • As Richard stated, set a 301 (permanent redirect) on to
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