How should I point my two nearly-identical domains?
July 6, 2009 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Do I keep two domains separate but identical, or do I pick one and point the other to it?

I'm using Wordpress to host a site I've just started — no content quite yet, but that comes next. I have two identical domains, like so*:

At the moment, you can go to both of these domains individually and they point to exactly the same content. Is this a Good Thing, or should I pick one of these domains - say, the .org - and have the .net redirect to it? Or should I leave it as it is at the moment? For consistency, it would probably be better to pick one, but I'm wondering if there's any benefit to retaining the existing setup.

Apologies if this question seems ridiculously simple to answer. The domains, in case you figured it out, aren't actually acmewidgets.whatever — I'd link to them, but they're far from ready for primetime. Getting them ready is almost certain to be my next AskMe question!
posted by jaffacakerhubarb to Technology (6 answers total)
Pick one and point the other one to it using 301 permanent redirects so that search engines are happy about it. Even better if you can simply point the DNS for both domains to the same webroot on the same machine (for example, if you're using apache you can do this with name-based or port-based virtual hosting.)
posted by davejay at 11:27 AM on July 6, 2009

Best answer: I suppose the answer depends on your plans. I assume you have .org and .net just to cover your bases, and not because you presently intend to host separate content under each.

If that's the case, I'd redirect one to the other. That way there will be less ambiguity. People will bookmark the primary domain. It also means that if you actually want to split off the secondary domain at some point for a different purpose, you won't alienate half your audience "yes, you've been visiting .org all along, but I'm going to be continuing the stuff you've seen here at .net and do something different with .org".
posted by adamrice at 11:32 AM on July 6, 2009

Best answer: If the content on both sites is the same, redirect one to the other. Google does not like duplicate content at multiple URLs, and can penalize both domains.
posted by crickets at 11:33 AM on July 6, 2009

Best answer: Redirect secondaries to your preferred, which will eventually get 99 percent of the traffic anyway, since you are "correcting" the URLs that users enter as they visit.

Also smart for branding reasons.
posted by rokusan at 12:02 PM on July 6, 2009

I'm a little confused. Are they on different IP addresses or something? I have lots of websites that each essentially are covered by anywhere from 2 to a dozen domain names. I don't own any more but I used to, and I just set up and so that they had the same IP address in DNS. On the webserver side, I told apache that and were both the same virtual server. Whichever you went to was fine - in fact you'd never even know the "others" existed.
posted by RustyBrooks at 1:04 PM on July 6, 2009

Pick the one that matters. Your "brand name" so to speak. Redirect the other to it.

I have a friend with an easy to misspell first name. So, when he bought, he also bought

Personally, I'd go with .org if I were you.
posted by 2oh1 at 7:06 PM on July 6, 2009

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