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Custom Domain Redirection, And "A" Referral Servers

One of the advantages of custom domain publishing, and the domain root to published URL redirection, used to be transparent redirection of the URLs.

As Blogger blog owners become more sophisticated with their blogs, and custom home pages (aka "landing pages"), become more popular, we have blog owners with concerns about home page access and domain root redirection. We are also seeing concern with direct access to specific posts - with posts advertised, using the domain root URL.

In some cases, redirection only shows the reader the blog home page, as the first view of the blog - even with a specific post being linked in the advertised URL.

For my custom domain "nitecruzr.net", "blogging.nitecruzr.net" is the target of the domain root redirect.

This post "Custom Domain Redirection, And "A" Referral Servers" has a URL of "http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2018/08/custom-domain-redirection-and-referral.html". This post "Custom Domain Redirection, And "A" Referral Servers", should have an alternate URL of "http://nitecruzr.net/2018/08/custom-domain-redirection-and-referral.html".

Click on the 4 links, in the paragraph immediately above, and compare the results - if you don't yet see the seriousness here. Please. It's not a cosmetic detail.

This post "Custom Domain Redirection, And "A" Referral Servers", when linked as "http://nitecruzr.net/2018/08/custom-domain-redirection-and-referral.html", instead redirects to "http://nitecruzr.net/".

This post "Custom Domain Redirection, And "A" Referral Servers", when linked as "https://nitecruzr.net/2018/08/custom-domain-redirection-and-referral.html", instead redirects to "https://nitecruzr.net/".

Note that this blog does not yet use "HTTPS Redirect", so if you click on a link to "Custom Domain Redirection, And "A" Referral Servers" you will see "http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2018/08/custom-domain-redirection-and-referral.html".

Here's a diagnosed example of the problem.

Here's a an example of this problem - diagnosed using a previous post blogging.nitecruzr.net/2016/08/delete-permanently-means-delete.html

A normal redirect - to "blogging.nitecruzr.net/2016/08/delete-permanently-means-delete.html"

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2016/08/delete-permanently-means-delete.html

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Expires: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:25:09 GMT
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:25:09 GMT
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Last-Modified: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:23:01 GMT
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
Server: GSE
Accept-Ranges: none
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Transfer-Encoding: chunked

A normal redirect - to the specific post, using HTTPS.



A broken redirect - to "blogging.nitecruzr.net"

http://nitecruzr.net/2016/08/delete-permanently-means-delete.html

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Location: http://blogging.nitecruzr.net
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:23:18 GMT
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Server: ghs
Content-Length: 226
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
Expires: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:23:19 GMT
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:23:19 GMT
Cache-Control: private, max-age=0
Last-Modified: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 03:23:01 GMT
X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff
X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block
Server: GSE
Accept-Ranges: none
Vary: Accept-Encoding
Transfer-Encoding: chunked

A broken redirect - to the blog home page, using HTTPS.



Unfortunately, some blog owners are observing that redirection of a specific root URL - maybe a custom landing page, or a specific post advertised using the root URL - appears to lead only to the home page of the published blog.

This is a problem with domain / website design, in general - and with Blogger custom domain design, in particular.

The domain root to published URL (for most blogs, the "www" host) appears to use a version of frame forwarding, with some blogs being reported.

I never recommend using Frame Forwarding, in the custom domain DNS setup.

One of the disadvantages of frame forwarding is that redirects using frame forwarding drop the post URL.

We've been seeing this problem reported, for several years.

The problem, rarely - but not never - reported, started several years ago. This was before HTTPS for BlogSpot - and even farther before HTTPS for custom domains - was rolled out.

This was shortly after we started observing other problems involved, in the deployment of HTTPS.

The first HTTPS issue was reported in 2014. HTTPS for BlogSpot was rolled out in 2015.

I'm betting we first saw reports of the post URL being lost, in the ""http://xxxxxxx.whatever.com/whatever.html" -> ... -> "https://www.whatever.com"" was maybe 2 years ago. During deployment of HTTPS.

My guess is that Blogger Engineers upgraded the domain root servers ("A" address) redirection code, to support HTTPS - and made a business decision to use frame forwarding.

From what I've seen of Blogger Engineering in general - and custom domain design in particular - I am convinced that if they decided that frame forwarding is necessary, it's necessary. Until they can correct the problem, that is. My advice to every domain owner to not use registrar supplied frame forwarding in the domain DNS, notwithstanding.

I can only hope that we will see this problem corrected, this decade. Remain optimistic - and report the problem, when it can be identified.



It appears that some of the #Blogger custom domain "A" address name servers are using "Frame Forwarding", instead of "Referral", to redirect the domain root to the published URL. Frame forwarding strips away the post address portion of the URL - leaving only the domain root.

Some blog owners use the domain root to advertise their blog posts - and are seeing only the blog home page, instead of the individual posts, when linking to the posts.

https://productforums.google.com/d/topic/blogger/NtQHoVNJ5PM/discussion

https://productforums.google.com/d/topic/blogger/pePwPhr_H-Y/discussion

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/blogger/pePwPhr_H-Y

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/blogger/nr-cIIgjBGg

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