How can one redirect a domain without changing the URL?

Here is what you’re looking for – Domain Masking

Domain masking allows you to show one URL in the browser’s address bar while another website’s content is shown.

For example: when someone visits your website (For eg, a free hosted website that does not allow you to use your own domain name), you can have yourdomain.com (the domain you register elsewhere) shown in the browser’s address bar while loading the website content of yourfreehostingwebsite.com.

Why Domain Masking?

There are a few reasons why one wants to redirect his/her website visitors to another website without displaying the destination website address. 

One of the reasons is:

When you have an existing website that is hosted free (like a blog from Blogger.com or WordPress.com), and you are not ready to pay for website hosting yet.

In this case, you can just register a new domain name, and set up domain masking so that yourdomain.com will appear on the website address bar on the browser when someone visits your free hosted website.

Domain masking is fairly easy to implement by:

  1. index.html
  2. .htaccess

Steps to mask your Domain Name/URL with an index.html file.

Step 1

Log in to cPanel and look under “File Manager”.

cPanel - File Manager

Step 2

Locate “public_html” 

File Manager - public_html

Step 3

Look for the file named “index.html/index.php”. Otherwise, create a new one by Clicking on +File on the upper left.

Step 4:

Right click the index.html/index.php file and select edit.

index.html/index.php

Step 5

You may select and use the “Use Code Editor” to have a better view on code.

Use Code Editor

Step 6

Edit the Code below and paste to index.php/index/html

<html>
<head>
<title>Page Title</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Description”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Keyword1, Keyword2″>
</head>
<frameset rows=”100%,0″ border=”0″>
<frame src=”http://yourotherdomain.com” frameborder=”0″>
<frame frameborder=”0″>
</frameset>
</html>

Step 7

Remember to “Save Change”.

 

Steps to mask your Domain Name/URL with .htaccess

You can also accomplish URL masking by rewriting .htaccess as below:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteRule ^something/?$ /something/else/
This way each time someone accesses:
https://yourdomain.com
the actual content that will be displayed will be for:
https://yourotherdomain.com
while the URL will remain unchanged.

Done! Test your www.domain.com now.

The Drawbacks of URL/Domain Masking

URL/domain masking might not the ideal practice as it can be problematic for several reasons and eventually hurt your site. First of all, your site visitors are not able to see the exact site address of the pages they are visiting. Thus, they are also not able to bookmark your page for future reference or even share your content to social media.

Besides, with URL masking, which mean you are having duplicated content on 2 different domain/URL and this brings negative effects on your site’s search engine ranking. Last but not least, URL masking is generally not recommended as visitors might see it as a security trap, which takes them to malicious websites.

Instead of URL/domain masking method, we would suggest another alternative way that deliver similar result, which is setting up a permanent 301 redirection, by sending your visitors to another URL/domain and will not affected your site’s SEO.

Learn more on how to setup a permanent 301 redirection.

We hope you find this blog post useful. Do let us know if you have any difficulty in following the steps, and we will be glad to provide assistance.

Still looking for the best domain name to apply your domain masking? Choose YOUR DOMAIN NAME before it’s too late!

See you in the next post.

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