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SearchMasters hold over ten domain names that are variations of our name, to protect our namespace. I used to redirect the domain names via my cPanel and Windows Host Manager, however, I prefer to keep the DNS separate from hosting so that moving servers is easy. It came in handy for my recent move from HD Net to AWS. This blog post came out of my response to a domain redirect question on Stack Exchange, and from my recent frustrations of redirecting SearchMasters domains.
I am a big believer in registering domains similar to your business’ domain name so that it is more difficult for someone to start up a new business with a similar brand name. The part I don’t like is paying for them each year as 10-20 domain names really add up in cost. Michael originally registered various SearchMasters domains just as .mobi, .cc, .co, .asia, and variations of spelling. It is the cheapest form of brand protection. If only we got in early enough to nab the dot com!
It can be cumbersome to manage the redirection of the domains to your main domain, especially if your registrar does not provide URL forwarding.
Cloudflare’s free tier has a URL forwarding feature and DNS management. By pointing your nameservers to Cloudflare, you can manage both DNS and forwarding in one place. This is very useful for when you need to retain email for a domain, but redirect the HTTP requests to another website. The forwarder also has regex built in, so you can redirect example.com/contact to example.co.nz/contact
The following image shows the forwarding rule I used for my group of domains:
The asterisk matches with anything - so HTTP, https, www, non-www and subdomains all get forwarded. At first, I made the mistake of adding a full stop after the asterisk, which will work if there is a live website on the forwarded URL but will fail to redirect once no hosting exists for the forwarding URL. Make sure that an A record exists for both www and non-www in the DNS section and that they are routed through Cloudflare, otherwise Cloudflare does not have anything routes to apply the URL forwarder to.