iWeb FAQ - Personal domains

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How do personal domains of the type of yourdomain.com work? How do I register them? Do I get personal e-mails too?

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I may explain first that there's a difference between domain names (personal domains) and domain (or domain.sites2) files. Domain names are used to reach your website on the web, like yourdomain.com. Domain files instead are on the computer and used by iWeb to store its files. They are NOT directly linked to each other. You could still use your different personal domains with leaving all the sites in one domain file. Just point the personal domains to the site it applies to. For infos about domain files go to this page.



Chapter 1: About Personal Domains

1.1 What is a personal domain?

1.2 What does it do?

1.3 Where can I get one and much does it cost?

1.4 How do I set it up? (CNAME)

Chapter 2: Normal set up for MobileMe

Chapter 3: Multiple websites and multiple domains on MobileMe

Chapter 4: Personal Domains yourname.com and personal e-mails whatever@yourdomain.com




Chapter 1: About Personal Domains


1.1 What is a personal domain?


A personal domain name is a url or web address of the type of yourdomain.com which can be used to access your website. There are three ways to use a personal domain, so let me introduce you to the difference between WebForward, WebForward with cloaking and CNAME:


1.2 What does it do?


  1. -WebForward (or Redirect): after you typed yourdomain.com in the browser you get forwarded to web.me.com/username/ and web.me.com/username/ will display in the browser.

Result: yourdomain.com => web.me.com/username/sitename/pagename.html

Pros: People don't have to learn a long and complicated address to get on your pages

Cons: As soon as people get to your page the "easier to remember url" disappears and the less good looking complicated url displays


- WebForward with Cloaking (or masking): after you typed yourdomain.com in the browser yourdomain.com will display in the browser and will not change while people browse through your website

Result: yourdomain.com => yourdomain.com

Pros: Easier to remember, looks better (clean) and your complicated url doesn't show up at any point

Cons: When people want to provide a link to a particular page of your website to friends or bookmark a particular page of your site they can't. When they provide or bookmark it they will be directed to your first page and not to the particular page they wanted to go to. Thus the friend will have to navigate and search the page or ask himself "now, what?"
Search engines will not be able to index the content as it presents an iFrame in which different pages are loaded (it's like one page and a lot of pages in it but search engines can't see those pages, they only see the one 'empty' page). Not search engines friendly at all!


- CNAME (most used): yourdomain.com will display instead of web.me.com/username/ and while browsing through your website it will look like yourdomain.com/sitename/pagename.html

To use CNAME you need to have DNS control or read Chapter 3 of this page if you don’t.

Result: yourdomain.com => yourdomain.com/sitename/pagename.html

Pros: Easier to remember, looks better (more professional), people can bookmark particular pages, provide particular pages to friends, search engines might index your site using the better looking url

Cons: ? I can’t find any cons... Some people think it looks better if yourdomain.com displays always without any additions (thus not yourdomain.com/sitename/pagename.html) but I think the cons of WebForward with cloaking are much heavier than this purely aesthetic thing.


Bottom line of the pros and cons: To me CNAME is the only way to go...


If you have a personal domain like yourdomain.com it will enable you to access your site also by typing  yourdomain.com in the browser and not only by typing web.me.com/username. However the MobileMe address will still exist and they can be used both. That’s because on personal domains there's no content, it's only an alias hiding/substituting the web.me.com/username/ name with yourdomain.com. But the web.me.com/username/ address is still there behind the personal domain and as previously told can be used to visit your site too.


Everything else is business as usual. You publish your website by hitting publish button in iWeb and so on just as you did until now. All your pages are stored on MobileMe and so on. The only thing changing is how you can access your website from browser.


Note 1: If using MobileMe hosting and other hostings as well you can have multiple domains pointed to different sites so that each site will have yourdomain.com. However on MobileMe you can have only one CNAME, the other personal domains should be WebForward or WebForward with cloaking.


Note 2: If you have multiple domain.sites2 files the CNAME using personal domain will redirect to the site for which you last did a ‘publish all’. As long as you just hit ‘publish’ the site to which you get redirected inserting the personal domain using CNAME doesn’t change. The same happens entering web.me.com/username/

If you have multiple domain.sites2 files and publish them to the same folder the same thing is happening. As you can see the result of the publishing is an index.html file and a folder with the name of the site. The index.html file is the one which redirects people to the first page of your site. When you publish a second site the index.html file gets replaced with the one you published last, thus people are redirected to a new first page.


Note 3: If you have a CNAME and multiple websites all your websites will be accessible using yourdomain.com and web.me.com/username/sitename/ (there’s no way to avoid that unless not using CNAME or having multiple MobileMe accounts)


1.3 Where can I get one and how much does it cost?


To have a personal domain you need to buy it from a Domain Registrar. If you’re using MobileMe you need to buy it from another service as MobileMe doesn’t provide personal domain registration (it only allows you to use them).

There are different DomainRegistrar with different prices. I think the most used (by MobileMe customers) are GoDaddy (recommended) and 1&1.


To register a domain with GoDaddy use this (9.99$/yr):


Find a domain name now!
 
.com .us .biz .info .net .org .ws .name .tv .cc .de .jp .be .at .uk .nz .cn .tw



Registrars you should avoid (not use): Networksolutions because it doesn’t let you use the domain without www and it’s hard to set it up; Misterdomain.eu because it doesn’t work at all.


1.4 How do I set it up? (CNAME)


For instructions on changing the CNAME please contact your domain registrar as every single registrar handels it a bit differently.


However you might find a field called “Alias” there you type: yourdomain.com

And another field called “Actual name” or “Host name” you type: web.me.com


If your registrar doesn’t allow you to change the CNAME (you don’t have DNS control) look at Chapter 3. Here are the links to the instructions for the most popular registrars (you may have a look at them even if you don’t use those registrars as they might work in a similar way as yours does):


- GoDaddy

How to set up CNAME for MobileMe with GoDaddy

WebForward with GoDaddy; masking


- 1&1

How to set up CNAME with 1&1

WebForward with 1&1


- NetworkSolutions

How to set up CNAME with Network Solutions


Depending on the registrar to use CNAME you need disable MailServers (E-Mail services). If you want to keep them read Chapter 5 on this page.


Note that www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com are treated as two completely different things, so you need to set up the CNAME for both of them (or follow Chapter 5).


If you use MobileMe also read Chapter 2.



Chapter 2: To set up MobileMe to use a personal domain name:


1) If you haven't already registered a domain name, visit an accredited domain name registrar on the Internet and register the personal domain name you want to use.

For informations about registering a domain name, search the Internet for "domain name registrars” or have a look at Chapter 1.3 of this page

2) If you're not already logged in to MobileMe, go to www.me.com, and log in.

3) Click Account
at top of the MobileMe homepage, confirm your login and choose
from the menu displaying on the left.
4) Click on “Add Domain”

5) When asked to enter your domain name, be sure to type the entire domain name (including the extension, such as .com, .net) that you've registered without the www in front of it (as it’s already written). Example: yourdomain.com and not www.yourdomain.com. Note that you need to write it twice.

6) Once you’ve written your domain twice in the appropriate fields click Continue

7) Now you need to change the CNAME at your domain registrar’s site. For instructions on changing the CNAME read “1.4 How do I set it up?” in Chapter 1 on this page.



Chapter 3: Multiple websites and multiple domains on MobileMe


Having multiple websites using multiple domains with only one single-MobileMe account (without a Family pack) is a mess.


MobileMe wasn’t built for that. The idea behind MobileMe is to have personal websites to show to your friends grandparents and so on but not the kind of websites to be seen by everybody, the commercial sites and so on, ... Not last because it lacks of PHP compatibility, MySQL, and other stuff that is needed for a “real” website.


MobileMe is pretty limited especially for what concerns having multiple websites with multiple domains, whereas iWeb is much less limited than it seems. That’s why I would recommend you to get a real hosting. For informations about hosting your website on a server other than MobileMe see the Publishing to Folder, FTP, Hosting FAQ.


As stated in Note 1 in Chapter 1 of this page each MobileMe account can only have one personal domain using CNAME linked to it. The others have to be WebForwards.


If you want to have multiple CNAME personal domains and want to keep using MobileMe you need to have multiple MobileMe accounts or Sub-accounts in case you have a Family Account (which I would recommend you).


Otherwise if you don’t want to have multiple MobileMe accounts and don’t want to publish to another hosting and don’t want to have multiple CNAME using personal domains to have multiple personal domains you can use simple WebForward with or without Cloaking/Masking (have a look at the definitions in Chapter 1) and point them directly to the site you want to point them to in your domain registrar account.

You find the links with instructions about how to set up WebForward with 1&1 and GoDaddy in Chapter 1, you may have a look at them even if you don’t use those registrars as they might work in a similar way as yours does.

If your domain registrar doesn’t provide WebForward services have a look at Chapter 3.



Note 1: Read Note 2 of Chapter 1.


Note 2: Read Note 3 of Chapter 1



Chapter 4: Personal Domains yourname.com and personal e-mails whatever@yourdomain.com


Whether you get e-mails from the type of whatever@yourdomain.com or not depends on your domain registrar.


I think mostly at domain registrars you get MailForwards which means that I send e-mails at you@yourdomain.com which forwards e-mails to another address like whatever@yahoo.com and you can set you2@yourdomain.com to be forwarded to another e-mail (if you want). So basically MailForwards aren't real e-mails themselves. You can also set *@yourdomain.com so all e-mails sent to no matter which e-mail @yourdomain.com gets sent to you@yahoo.com (no matter what people put in front of the @yourdomain.com).


The problem is that if you set up CNAME for your domain usually E-Mail gets broken (MX). But there’s a trick to avoid that (pointed out to me by Earl and originally posted by Seanomich on the Apple Discussion Forums). Mainly that’s it:


1. www.yourdomain.com is different from yourdomain.com

2. Domain registrars handle them as completely different

3. The trick is to set up CNAME for www.yourdomain.com (as of Chapter 2 of this page)

4. For yourdomain.com set up a WebForward instead (as of Chapter 1 of this page) pointing it to www.yourdomain.com

5. Now yourdomain.com is free to be used for e-mails



If MailForward isn’t enough for you, you probably need a hosting package (other than MobileMe) along with your domain.




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