Moving domains easily with DNS Redirect
March 12, 2021
Recently, we moved our forums from their old address at forums.universaldashboard.io to forums.ironmansoftware.com. This caused a lot of problems with linking and SEO. The forums themselves have a lot of internal links to the old address and much of our search traffic was going to the old address. We setup a registrar forwarding rule to send people that visited the old address to the new one but it didn’t maintain the path so any links were essentially broken. Users would end up on the homepage of the new forums.
So we built DNS Redirect and fixed our links. Here’s a screenshot of what that looks like in Google Search Console.
What it does
We searched around a bit for a simple solution to this but didn’t find anything that really offered what we were looking for. So we built a simple tool called DNS Redirect. DNS Redirect allows you to create a CNAME record from an old address and point it to the dnsredirect.io domain. Then, you can setup DNS Redirect to forward to the new domain.
This service works on the HTTP protocol level and issues configurable status codes to the user. This means you can return a permanent redirect (301) with the full path to the new domain and resource. No more broken links!
Another issue we encountered when standing up this service was that with any HTTP service like this, if you do not issue a valid certificate, you’ll have users running into warnings about certificate mismatches. This is because if you CNAME directly to another domain, that domain will serve the certificate you’ve configured. We solved this by integrating with Let’s Encrypt to issue valid certificates for domains setup in DNS Redirect.
We use DNS validation when your setting up your redirection to issue and install a certificate in our load balancer. No more certificate errors!
DNS Redirect as a Service
We figured this handy little service might be of use for others so we’ve integrated with Auth0 and FastSpring to provide DNS Redirect as a service. You can subscribe to start redirecting domains right now. You can also sign up for a free service. We the free tier, you redirects will still work (including full paths) but it will be delayed 5 seconds during the redirection process and it won’t issue as a 301 HTTP redirect.
We hope that this helps with that domain migration.