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1 WordPress site with multiple domain spellings?

  • # July 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Hey there,

    I have a wordpress site which I built for a client, which I installed to their domain, lets call it http://www.mysite.com. They have multiple spellings of the domain name such as http://www.my-site.com, http://www.myste.com, which they don’t want to just redirect to http://www.mysite.com, they want to actually use them like so: mysite.com/about, my-site.com/about, myste.com/about, etc etc.

    So do I have to create a multi-site WordPress installation to handle all of these separate domains/sites? All of these sites will have the exact same content (I’m guessing I’d have to not index 2 of them with Google so that they don’t get penalized for multiple content). Usually I just have clients redirect their alternative domains to one single domain, but their IT department is telling me they can’t/don’t want to do that. A multi-site installation seems stupid if all of the sites have the exact same content, but I know that I can only install WP to a single domain.

    Does anyone have any experience with this or any advice for me? Any help would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks!

    John

    # July 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    I think it’d just be easier to have the one domain, and buy all the others to have a 301 redirect to the main site. I don’t understand why they would want that.

    # July 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    their IT sound incompetent…

    # July 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Haha yeah. The thing it that this is an established financial investment company, their existing site uses 4 different domains. They are very concerned about SEO and they are currently listed in google using the various domains.. mysite.com, my-site.com/analyst.cfm, myste.com/company-history.cfm, etc etc.

    The way I usually set up sites with multiple domains is just to install wordpress to their main domain and then redirect the others to it as @Odd_E recommended. I’m not sure how to handle this situation without setting up a multisite install to handle all of the different domains, but then I’ll have 4 identical sites. Seems like a messy way to do it.

    # July 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    Actually, it doesn’t have to be messy that way.

    Let’s say that your web site files are in the folder “/www/”.
    Then all domains should point to that folder – http://www.my-site.com, http://www.mysite.com, http://www.mysite.nl, etc. It’s four domains set up in your web server, but they all point to the same actual content.
    Seems that’s what your IT department has set up so far.

    So whenever you go to http://www.mysite.com/blah/image.jpg, it will point to /www/blah/image.jpg. And http://www.my-site.com/blah/image.jpg, http://www.myste.com/blah/image.jpg, and so on — they all point to the same file on the server.

    So as long as your IT department just has all those domains point to the same folder on the server, it’s not really that messy, really. :)

    A redirect with .htaccess would actually end up the same. Someone goes to http://www.my-site.com/abcd and the .htaccessfile points it to http://www.mysite.com/abcd even though the URL in the address bar would still show http://www.my-site.com/abcd .

    A “full domain name” redirect would be more messy in my opinion: someone goes to http://www.my-site.com/efgh and the whole thing would redirect to the main page of http://www.mysite.com — not where the user wanted to go.

    Now, if your IT department has set up multiple domains pointing to different folders on the server, THAT would be messy. For example:

    http://www.mysite.com/ points to /www/mysite/
    http://www.my-site.com/ points to /www/my-site/
    http://www.myste.com/ points to /www/myste/

    Hope that makes sense!

    # July 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    same content on multiple sites and SEO concern is an oxymoron

    # July 15, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Hey @Senff, thanks for the reply. That’s definitely what they have set up currently, but can it be set up that way with WordPress? I was under the impression that you could only install WP to a single domain name. I installed it to mysite.com and then they changed the name servers of all of the domains to point to the correct location, but only the mysite.com URL showed the site, the other domains just showed the default server page even though they were all pointed to the same directory (httpdocs folder in the root which is where I installed WP to).

    I have some experience with server/DNS stuff, but not a lot. Most WP installs I do are straight forward but this one is just confusing!

    # July 16, 2012 at 10:08 am

    @Johhnyb Well, yes, WordPress can (and should) only be set up for one domain. What it actually does, is that whenever you change something in WordPress, the files (and database) gets changed on the server.

    Let’s say you’re changing the contents of a post. Then the content gets changed in the database, and consequently, that changes things on http://www.mysite.com/post-123, as well as http://www.my-site.com/post-123, and http://www.myste.com/post-123….because all those variations ALL point to the same web site and database.

    If you’re changing the code in footer.php, then you’re actually changing the file on the server, which is located at /www/mysite/wp-content/themes/twentyten/footer.php — so in turn, that changes the footer for all your domains.

    The deal with setting the domain name in WordPress, is how internal links are handled, so to speak. If you set the WordPress domain to http://www.mysite.com, and on your site your logo is pointing to the root/home page, then on ALL your sites the logo will point to http://www.mysite.com. So even on any page on http://www.my-site.com/, your logo will point to http://www.mysite.com. Internal links will point to http://www.mysite.com. Media too, I think. Everything internal points to the domain that you set in WordPress.

    I guess that’s where it all comes down to. If you want every version of your site to point to its own domain, you’ll either have to use relative links all through the site, or use a plugin (I’m sure there is one).

    # July 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    301 redirect all of the other domains and just pick one.

    # July 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Hey guys, thanks so much for the help. @Senff, you’re my hero. What you suggested is what we ended up doing. The internal linking isn’t really a big deal so long as they can access any page in the site via any of the domains (eg, mysite.com/page, and mste.com/page) which they now can.

    Thanks again everyone! @Senff, @Odd_E, @wolfcry911, @TheDoc. Really appreciate it.

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