The One with the Thoughts of Frans

Dealing With cPanel: Setting Up a 301 Redirect to Your Main Domain And Preventing .htaccess Hell

cPanel is surprisingly ill-suited for managing domains. Rather than treating each domain as a separate entity, you get one main domain and various so-called add-on domains. The most annoying aspect of this is that it always creates a subdomain when you add a new add-on domain. There should be no such thing as an add-on domain, just a bunch of domains. cPanel has some features that help you work around these defects, but I wasn’t too thrilled with those. It now seems to automatically redirect the www-subdomain to your no-www domain and you can easily set up subdomains to redirect through the interface, but it doesn’t satisfy me.

Setting Up a 301 Redirect

Instead of having to bother with a plethora of settings in cPanel itself, I came up with the following to stick at the top of .htaccess. A quick look around on the Internet brought up Fayaz Miraz’s blog, but while the solution suggestion was close, it misses one crucial aspect: it only redirects from the main page as far as I can tell. This is fixed easily by the addition of $1 (i.e. everything that was added after the main page).

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^fransdejonge\.com$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ //$1 [R=301,L]


Simply put, it matches all possible routes of approach (whether through www or through a subdomain of another domain) and if it’s not, it will 301 redirect to The L means no further rewriting will occur after that rule. Mostly because it would just be inefficient, and partially because something else further down the line might mess things up.

Preventing .htaccess Hell

Another problem is that cPanel automatically creates a /public_html/addondomain directory. This is bad, because /public_html already contains a .htaccess file for the main domain. When accessing /public_html/addondomain, it would first parse the .htaccess file in /public_html before moving on and overriding it in /public_html/addondomain, and that’s assuming none of the rules in /public_html make anything go awry!

To prevent this kind of nightmare from occurring I took the simple precaution of creating a new directory /domains. This domain is contained in /domains/, for instance, and any other add-on or subdomains can reside in their own /domains/ directory to prevent any added load from needlessly parsing .htaccess files.

1 Comment

  1. […] blog post suggested a slightly different solution, which will allow to soft-link your addon-domain with the […]

    July 28, 2010 @ 16:45Permalink
    Optimize your Addon Domain by removing the subdomain access | FayazMiraz

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