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Web Site Forwarding

Sometimes the company that sold the domain will give an option called "redirection" or "website forwarding" for a domain. Forwarding works sometimes, but it is more awkward and fragile than setting the name servers. With a domain name server the website is "really" where the name server says that it is located. With forwarding, all web traffic goes to the domain hosting company first and then, hopefully, it get forwarded to the real web server and then the domain host has to send the results back to the browser unaltered. Sometimes the domain hosting company changes the website's URL mid stream!

Even when forwarding works, it forwards only web traffic. Email and anything else related to the domain is not affected and goes to the wrong server.

Accepted internet standard is to specify a domain name server, and using the HotDoodle name servers takes care of the remaining details.

The one advantage of domain forwarding is that it is not directly sensitive to machine location. If, for example, the domain east-bay-bni.com forwarded to bnitricities.com and this website were moved, the name bnitricities.com would still be valid and the forwarding would still work. The domain bnitricities.com would have to be checked to be working, but there would be no extra steps needed for the forwarded domain.


Forwarding can Break your Links and Logins

Forwarding is for the convenience of the company that sold the domain, and they sometimes do it poorly.   For example, a reference to
    http://mysite.com?ULL=2cae456&section=articles
might become
    http://www.mysite.com
or
    http://s231.hotdoodle.com/mysite-3

This poorly implemented redirection stripped the ?ULL=2cae456&section=articles portion of the URL and the link it uses as the replacement does not do what it should.   In this case it would not log you in or take you to the right page.

HotDoodle cannot reasonably be expected to know and workaround all the ways companies mess up domain forwarding and redirection. If they mangle the arguments you just cannot expect the links to work. In the most severe cases nothing works – page navigations break, newsletters signups do nothing, etc.


Forwarding Lowers Your Search Engine Ranking

Domain forwarding is Okay for the user experience, but it hurts your search engine placement. Here is why:

Part of search placement is a count of links coming into your site. Links coming into the real name such as http://bnitricities.com will not raise the search rank of content in the place where it redirects (http://www.hotdoodle.com/bnitricities in this case).  To the search engines it is the second site that has all of the content. As far as the search engines are concerned,  the site with the elevated ranking is empty and is never returned in a search, and the site with all of your content and keywords has no incoming links and thus has no elevation in search placement. 


Proof of the SEO Nothingness of Forwarded Domains

help@hotdoodle.com was asked why some extra domains were not working. A quick look at that site's config domain screen showed 14 total domains, but all but one of had warning messages. A look at that site's logs and filtering for crawls showed no traffic, none whatsoever, for any of the domains that had warnings.   Entering one of the urls into a browser showed the problem even more strongly -- when domain X was entered domain Y showed up as the URL of the page actually displayed.  So domain X had no content other than to say "See domain Y" and thus no crawls into domain X (there was nothing to crawl) and only domain Y had activity.  So those cool keywords used in domain X -- worthless as there was no content at that domain.

To be sure that this was an artifact of the domain forwarding we looked at another site that had 16 domains and whose config domains screen showed no errors or warnings (meaning that all of the domains were wired in the best manner). Their site logs showed crawls into all 16 of their domains.


Example of Redirection True Contents

This is an example what browsers, google, bing, and such really truly got when they browsed a particular redirected domain

HTTP/1.0 301 Moved Permanently
X-Seen-By: sputnik5
Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2012 16:26:44 GMT
Server: Apache
Cache-Control: no-cache
Pragma: no-cache
Expires: -1
Location: http://www.somedomain.com/
redirectByPublicSegment: Host name in URL is invalid no www. or m. by parseCommand
X-Wix-Redirected-From: http://somedomain.com/?section=articles
Set-Cookie: hasBeenRedirected=true; Domain=.wix.com; Expires=Fri, 28-Apr-2017 21:30:34 GMT; Path=/
Content-Language: en-US
Content-Length: 0
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8
Connection: close

That’s it – this is *ALL* that they see. No site contents, no keywords, nothing. The above is a declaration that
    “There is nothing here, look somewhere else”
Redirection just is not a good thing.


Example #2 of Redirection True Contents

This is an example where a page of no contents was shown.

<html><head>

<title></title></head>
<!-- Redirection Services SJL01WRED08 H1 -->
<frameset rows='100%, *' frameborder=no framespacing=0 border=0>
<frame src="http://www.YourOtherDomain.com/" name=mainwindow frameborder=no framespacing=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0></frame>
</frameset>
<noframes>
<h2>Your browser does not support frames.  We recommend upgrading your browser.</h2><br><br>
<center>Click <a href="http://www.YourOtherDomain.com">here</a> to enter the site.</center>
</noframes></html>

That’s it – this is *ALL* that they see. This page has a iframe in it that shows the contents from another domain, but that domain gets all the SEO.

Also in this case the redirection could not handle logins, the user got missing page errors.

Redirection just is not a good thing.

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