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I have used Weebly in the past (not anymore). When made a new subdomain in there, it was all instant and good and stuff and you know and whatever. I understand how they're secure (Wildcard Certificates), but what I don't understand is how they server my subdomain so quickly. In my experience, every time I made new subdomain, I needed to restart the server (Apache). But how does Weebly restart their server without the website being affected overall? Does it restart every time a new subdomain is created? Or, is there a method that doesn't require the server to restart?

Basically, how do websites that create subdomains for you work (server-wise)?

2 Answers 2

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They are likely using a wildcard subdomain (*.example.com) and possibly a corresponding wildcard SSL as well.

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  • I’m well aware of that. My question, though, was on how the server applies the new subdomains to the webserver without affecting the website. Meaning, current logins, ongoing website edits, etc.
    – Mz.
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:43
  • @CB49 *.example.com points all requests to the same set of code, which'll do database lookups etc. based off the hostname to get the right data. No restarts - graceful or otherwise - are necessary.
    – ceejayoz
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:47
  • Oh... This also makes more sense and seems easier. Wow... Never thought of that. Thanks!
    – Mz.
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:49
  • I’d actually aprecciate it if you add that part to the answer.
    – Mz.
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:49
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A lot of services/daemons/servers can be asked to re-load the configuration, without requiring a restart.

Apache:

Nginx:

  • nginx -s reload
  • service nginx reload
  • systemctl reload nginx
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  • Cool! I was unaware that a reload did not abort current connections. Thanks!
    – Mz.
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:45
  • @CB49 This is extremely unlikely to be how Weebly works.
    – ceejayoz
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:47
  • Guess so. Would using this method apply more stress to the server?
    – Mz.
    Oct 15, 2017 at 5:50
  • Yes, but you should not worry much about the increased load. If you website is too affected about a reload, than it means that you need to scale it out horizontally. Add a load-ballancer, add other web servers to serve part of the requests. Oct 15, 2017 at 11:32
  • @MirceaVutcovici A system like Weebly is likely to have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of servers, and new subdomains many times an hour. I'd definitely worry about server load in that scenario - it'd be fairly constant.
    – ceejayoz
    Oct 16, 2017 at 13:54

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