Stack to mask URL?

(GJ) #1

Hi there!

Is there a stack out there to mask/change the URL that appears in the browser’s address bar?

Have a and bunch of sites which’re independent domains whose sites are located as add-on domains physically at (where N=1,…,~20).

Visitors to are redirected instantly (via cpanel setting) to - but rather than show that full URL in the address bar, need to have the address bar show (ideally with (where X=whichever page they’re visiting within ProductN site, but if it’s just gonna show in the address bar that’s okay too))

Kludgy or not, this is the optimal setup given the lovely folk at HostGator charge an arm and a leg for 2nd+ ssl certs (topic for a rant somewhere sometime). And strategy reasons to not just have the products within the company site, so, moot to go there. And sure can’t have browsers throwing up non-ssl site warnings when users are about to buy(!). And a database and a goliath DNS zone file with aplenty DKIM/CNAME/ARecord/SubDomain/etc./etc. - a.p.l.e.n.t.y - so, switching hosts is not an option currently.

Any tips, always welcome; gracias in advance.

(Joe Workman) #2

Why are you doing things this way? Why not have each site have its own domain?

If you want to redirect, why not just redirect to

Is not possible to mask a URL. You could use htaccess rules to rewrite URLs into whatever you want though.

(GJ) #3

Thanks Joe -

(i) each site needs to have https, and at hostgator that adds up to several 000s in ssl cost alone. the first ssl is free so addresses this.

(ii) products are similar with differentiating nuances and each product wants to appeal explicitly to different, narrow verticals; having them all show under dilutes that message of narrow specialization.

htaccess - kinda playing with fire (contextually here), hoping to avoid editing manually outside of RW.

(Joe Workman) #4

No one should be paying for SSL certificates anymore. They are readily available for free. Your host needs to get with the time if this is the case. Its costing you a lot of money.

(GJ) #5

Couldn’t agree more. Sadly Hostgator are really trying to milk every penny out of their partnership with Comodo (cert auth) - at the expense of users heavily vested across decades of hosting with them. Tried a couple of free options manually (DNS entry verification and file ftp verification) but no access to root means HG still have to ‘install’ each cert; back to square1.

Since moving hosts is not viable right now, and htaccess will get very complicated v soon (and dangerous), it’s likely will just have to live with full urls showing ProductN within CompanySite in address bar.

At least for when hosts are switched it’ll be a little easier since there’re individual RW projects for each product (silver lining - it’s a stretch, but still…)

Appreciate you taking the time to share thoughts, thanks again.

(Doug Bennett) #6

Might take a look at this post

(GJ) #7

Wow. Isn’t that something. Thank you for the pointer @teefers. Hadn’t thought to look at a CDN for ssl; CF looks mighty viable except the potential issue in #7 in that article:

If you use external resources on your site (and many of us do), then those need to be served securely as well. For example, if you use a Javascript framework and it is not served from an HTTP source, that blows our secure cover as far as Google Chrome is concerned and we need to patch that up. If the external resource you use does not provide HTTPS as a source, then you might want to consider hosting it yourself.

Don’t quite know what some of the numerous excellent stacks being used are using (too many stacks and devs to ask individually) so it will be a matter of trial and error to see if this applies - mulling wether or not to dive in with a site rejig (countless paths to update) and all the rest.

This is very useful (and promising) info - thanks much.

(Doug Bennett) #8

#7 (mixed content) is an issue with your paid Certificate, read the last line you cut off:

We have a CDN now that makes the burden of serving it a non-issue.

CloudFlare will serve things like Javascript framework, from its server making them HTTPS so that you won’t get the mixed content warnings.

(GJ) #9

huh - misinterpreted that line here (felt it was talking about the std ssl); thx for clarifying.

just looking into the costs - commercial, so will need the paid plan per domain per month which adds up; pricey, but there’s definitely solid value (cdn 'n all) compared to Hostgator’s pure money grab for just ssl.

hopefully not red herrings but now looking at AWS, keyCDN, MaxCDN/Stackpath - liking keyCDN value prop so far and CF a close second.

Tx again for leading to look into this space for a better solution than HG. Much appreciated.