Thursday, March 31, 2011

Setting up a Short Domain Name and a GoDaddy Surprise

I love the name of our business - it's simple and direct, just like we strive to be as a company. But, if there's one thing I don't like about it, it's giving out my e-mail over the phone. The long domain name is just a drag. The fix I decided to implement was to buy some shorter domain names, specifically ones I thought I could give out over the phone a bit easier.

I ended up going with:

  i-2-x.com
  ideas2exe.com

To make these domains actually useful, I wanted to setup both e-mail and web redirects.

Forwarding the Web

There are a handful of ways to forward a web domain name. Heck, GoDaddy allows you to do this right from the domain manager they provide. I couldn't resist using a RewriteRule hack I've fallen back on many times. I through the following in my webserver's httpd.conf:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName ideas2executables.com
    ServerAlias www.i-2-x.com i-2-x.com www.ideas2exe.com ideas2exe.com
    DocumentRoot /var/www/vhosts/www.ideas2executables.com
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteRule /(.*)  http://www.ideas2executables.com/$1 [R=301]
</VirtualHost>

This configuration sets up a dummy virtual host which responds to a whole slew of domain names that I want redirected, and then issues a basic RewriteRule command to send everything to my real domain: ideas2executables.com.

Forwarding E-mail

Setting up e-mail is in my eyes always more daunting. I take one look at the docs for postfix and my eyes glaze over. Luckily, exactly what I wanted to do was outlined here. The first step was to point the MX record in GoDaddy's DNS to my Linux box. With that out of the way, I added the following to my /etc/postfix/main.cf:

virtual_alias_domains = ideas2exe.com, i-2-x.com
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual      

Inside of /etc/postfix/virtual I added lines like:

questions@i-2-x.com     questions@ideas2executables.com
questions@ideas2exe.com questions@ideas2executables.com

I then ran sudo postmap /etc/postfix/virtual, restarted postfix, and to my amazement, mail was properly forwarded.

A GoDaddy Surpise

When setting the above up, I ran into a strange problem: the domain i-2-x.com wasn't being found by dig. Surely GoDaddy must have an obscure provisioning problem, I thought. So, I got GoDaddy on the line and explained to them the situation. After some back and forth I realized it was me, not GoDaddy who had the fault. I had purchased i-to-x.com instead of i-2-x.com. D'oh! To my amazement, Shawn, the tech on the other end of the phone, gladly offered to refund the domain I purchased and get me the one I intended. Withing a few minutes, he had switched everything around for me.

I never really thought about what the return policy on something like this would be - but I was delighted that GoDaddy could just undo the oops that I created.

So now I've got my new domains - I'm almost looking forward to giving it out over the phone to see how it works.

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