Quick question on URL masking
November 29, 2005 7:28 AM   Subscribe

Quick question on URL masking:

If I buy a domain, I know that I can either (1) move it to new name servers or (2) use the masking/forwarding options from its current location.

Now, my question is: what options do I have for URLs where I can't change the name servers. I hate masking because the name "sticks" with the site. This is a pain with sites like Blogger. I know that you can write a simple javascript to open the links in a new window, but once again, this doesn't work with Blogger.

Are there any other ways around this? I am thinking of moving to Wordpress, but I see the same problem there (unless I pay for hosting somewhere...but I'd rather not pay since that is the only option I can't satisfactorily find for free).

I am still a little new to all this so be kind. Thanks!
posted by BigBrownBear to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
I'm not entirely sure what your question is. You have a domain which you can change the forwarding on, but not the name servers? Or do you just not want to pay for hosting, but if you could point the name servers someplace free, you would?

If you want to use Wordpress and not pay for hosting, you can set up a limited wordpress site at Wordpress.com where you won't have the ability YET to point your domain at it, but they are planning on rolling this out soon. Wordpress is just blogging software, you can run it in your own hosted space, or you can use their site, just like Blogger. Movable Type has these same options with their standalone software and their TypePad service.

There are two parts to the domain name tango:

1. you buy a domain from someplace. Cheap.
2. you host the web site someplace. Almost as cheap, often free if you don't care about having your own domain name

These two places can be the same, or they can be different. To make matters more complicated, when you buy a domain you have the two options you describe: set up DNS with the people you bought the domain from and point them at web space somewhere, or just put up a redirect from the main URL to the place you have your web files. These look different to people coming to your web site. I'm fairly certain that using the masking option means it's pretty tough for people to bookmark any page in your site other than the main page and still have it show up as your domain name. In my opinion this is not a good option unless you are planning on a very teeny site.

I assume that what you are saying is "I want to buy a domain and have a website for as cheap as possible." though you may be saying "I bought a domain but have very little control over it." If you could give a bit more information on what you want to 1) do and 2) present, it would make giving you concrete suggestions a little easier. My apologies if this is clear as day to everyone else and I'm just a bit thick this morning.
posted by jessamyn at 7:49 AM on November 29, 2005

I think what you're saying is that you have already bought a domain, and you want to point it to a free site, and then you want to make it appear as though the user is not accessing the free site by making it so that they're only aware of the domain you own.

This isn't really possible without buying your own hosting. You can get very cheap ($7/month?) solutions for simple blogs. There have been some AskMe's about finding hosting in the past.
posted by odinsdream at 7:57 AM on November 29, 2005

i think odinsdream answered my question. I would like to point a domain name i purchased to a free site BUT I don't want to masked name to remain when someone clicks on a link from the page

I think that answer is that can't be done without paying for hosting.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:03 AM on November 29, 2005

So basically you don't want anyone to know you're too cheap to buy hosting.. ;-)

Seriously you should just look into some inexpensive hosting options. There's like... $3 or $4/month deals out there all the time now, and you can make that back from google adsense each month, probably...
posted by twiggy at 8:24 AM on November 29, 2005

I do pay for hosting for some other sites I have, but this an educational blog and I intentionally keep it ad-free. Plus, since I often update at my dayjob there are IE/firewall restrictions - for these reasons Blogger is a good option and I would like to leave it there.
posted by BigBrownBear at 8:28 AM on November 29, 2005

I just found someone doing what I want to do:

I guess I'll take a look at the code and try to figure it out.
posted by BigBrownBear at 10:01 AM on November 29, 2005

That blog is not hosted by blogger/blogspot, and it's not using any kind of domain "masking" (which is really just using frames). It's self hosted on the person's own server but powered by blogger. So, essentially s/he pays for hosting on a completely separate server, and blogger just uploads the content whenever it's updated.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:34 PM on November 29, 2005

Hmm. Makes sense. Thanks for the link.
posted by BigBrownBear at 3:11 AM on November 30, 2005

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