the “URL” DNS record that dnsimple made

Some time ago, in one of his Azure videos (generally given on a Friday), Scott Hanselman of MSFT showed a nice domain registrar / manager that works well with Azure websites: dnsimple.

To be honest, almost all registrars work well with Azure. However, dnsimple has a “semi-graphical” UI that helps you add the particular DNS records needed for Azure websites (or Amazon’s, for that matter… or many other cloud services…). For those of us who don’t like typing outside of Visual Studio, semi-GUI is bliss.

dnsimple (www.dnsimple.com) are a small company, which grants quick support and which has some good, original ideas. I am not affiliated to them in any way. They’re not cheap, either in the good or bad meaning of the term. They give good service, but they are a bit more expensive than your average registrar.

One of their good ideas is the URL record for your DNS.

What is a URL record, in addition to being the subject of this post?

Suppose you have registered two domains for the same site. For instance: you have a .com site in addition to an .fr, .it, .de, .co.uk… what-have-you.

For example: one of my customers has the domain www.bvevents.com in addition to the domain www.bvevents.it. Both domains “serve” the same content. Everyone knows search engines do not like duplicate content.

You have basically three ways to avoid search engines think one site is “stealing” content from the other:

1. You fill your pages with the “canonical” metadata to advise search engines you’re not spawning the oceans with the same content in different sites (“canonical” indicates what page is the “original”)

2. You ask your web server to rewrite the URL to only one of the sites; for instance: what does not match ^www\.yoursite\.com$ >>> rewrites to http://www.yoursite.com/{R:1}

3. You use dnsimple’s “URL” “special” records.

dnsimple URL records

dnsimple URL records

A URL record redirects a domain to another with a 301 code you don’t have to set up in your server: dnsimple does it for you.

In our case: we wanted all the “.it” content to be served by the “.com” domain, so we set up a URL entry that redirects all .it pages to the corresponding .com pages. See in the image below what Chrome registers for our .it request.

dnsimple URL records

Automatic redirection with dnsimple URL records

This is an idea that saves you some duplicate content hassles.