Web sites on bare domain names

The DNS does not allow CNAME records to exist at the same name as other records. This restriction causes some friction for bare domains which you want to use for both mail and web. The IP Register database does not make it particularly easy to work around this restriction in the DNS, but here are some tips for how to set up a web site that uses the same name as a mail domain, without affecting mail delivery.

UIS web redirect service

The UIS web traffic managers can be configured to redirect from a bare domain to www.[domain] for any web site, for plaintext http and https. This is often the easiest way to support web sites on bare domains. This setup is independent of where your site is hosted, so the bare domain redirect will not need any changes if your site moves.

This is the setup we use for sites hosted on the UIS Drupal and Falcon services. You can use the web redirect service instead of any of the alternatives listed below.

If you would like to use this service, please mail ip-register@uis.cam.ac.uk with the name of the web site and the bare domain name.

Managed Web Service

A site on the MWS has a primary name, and if the web site is addressed by any other name it will redirect to its primary name. So the MWS can do its own bare domain redirects.

You will need to set up the bare domain in the MWS control panel as a "special" name, so that the MWS will not try (and fail) to set up the DNS for you.

Then email ip-register@uis.cam.ac.uk with the name of the MWS web server and the bare domain name, and we will make the DNS changes for you.

Web server within your own mzone

If you host your own web site, there are a few ways you can set it up on your bare domain:

  • Register the web server as a box on the bare domain, and set up www.[domain] as a CNAME pointing at the bare domain.

  • Register the web server as www.[domain], and set up the bare domain as a vbox with an additional virtual IP address. Configure your web server with IP-based virtual hosting.

  • Using the UIS web redirect service.

You should configure your web server to return HTTP redirects from the bare domain to www.[domain] to avoid problems with search engines and caches.