Have you ever wanted to point your domain to another website but didn’t have or wanted to buy hosting? It might seem like a tricky task, but it’s simpler than you think. I’ll walk you through the steps to redirect a domain without the need for hosting. Whether you’re looking to forward your old website to a new one or just want to set up a quick redirect, we’ll find out how.

Redirecting FAQ

What is domain redirecting without hosting?

Domain redirecting without hosting is the process of pointing one domain name to another website or webpage without the need for a hosting account. Essentially, when someone types in or clicks on your domain, they are automatically taken to another website. This can be useful for:

  • Merging old websites with new ones.
  • Creating short, memorable URLs for marketing campaigns.
  • Directing traffic from one or more other domain names to a single domain’s home (or an internal page).

Why is domain redirecting without hosting important?

Redirecting a domain without hosting is not just about pointing one website to another. It’s about ensuring that the online reputation and visibility of a website are preserved. it’s cheaper as well, with no extra hosting package and when done correctly, SEO value is retained with older domains often having backlinks from other websites.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you set up a domain or website redirect, without using a hosting package:

  1. Choose a Domain Registrar or DNS Provider

    Before you can redirect your domain, you need to have a domain registered. If you already have one, great! If not, choose a reputable domain registrar like GoDaddy, Namecheap, Name.com or Bluehost to purchase your domain.
    Example: Let’s say you’ve purchased mydomain.com and want to redirect it to mynewdomain.com.

  2. Log in to Your Domain Registrar or DNS Provider Account

    Access the dashboard or control panel of your domain registrar or DNS provider.
    Example: If you’re using GoDaddy, log in to your account, and navigate to the “My Domains” section.

  3. Locate the DNS Settings or Domain Management Section

    This is where you’ll configure the redirect.
    Example: On Namecheap, this section is labeled “Domain List”. Click on “Manage” next to your domain name to access the DNS settings.

  4. Set Up a URL Redirect or Forwarding

    Look for an option labeled “URL Redirect”, “Domain Forwarding”, or something similar.
    Enter the destination URL (the website/domain/page you want to redirect to).
    Example: If you want to redirect mydomain.com to mynewdomain.com, enter mynewdomain.com as the destination URL. If you want to redirect the domain to a certain page in your new domain, enter mynewdomain.com/my-page.

  5. Choose the Type of Redirect

    There are typically two main types: 301 (permanent) and 302 (temporary). A 301 redirect is best if you’re permanently moving your site to a new domain (and it also transfers any SEO authority). A 302 redirect is used for temporary changes (and it doesn’t transfer SEO authority).
    Example: If you’re rebranding and want to permanently move your site, choose a 301 redirect.

  6. Save Your Changes

    After setting up the redirect, make sure to save your changes.
    Example: On Bluehost, after entering the destination URL and choosing the redirect type, click the “Save” button.

  7. Test the Redirect

    Open a new browser window or tab and enter your original domain (the one you’re redirecting from). You should be automatically taken to the destination website. To be absolutely sure, also use a redirect check tool (like <a href=”https://httpstatus.io/”>HttpStatus</a>) to check that the redirect is a 301 (or a 302 if you chose that).
    Example: If you’ve set up everything correctly, typing mydomain.com into your browser should take you straight to mynewdomain.com.

Remember, while the steps might slightly vary depending on the domain registrar or DNS provider you’re using, the general process remains the same. Always refer to the help or support section of your provider if you encounter any challenges.

❗ Important: By using the domain forwarding or website forwarding feature at your registrar, you’re just redirecting the index page/root of your domain, to another domain or page.

  • That means that mydomain.com would redirect to mynewdomain.com, but mynewdomain.com/any-page would not redirect anywhere. It would just usually be a blank white page.
  • Another consideration is that domain forwarding with a hosting/domain/DNS provider, usually has issues with https. That means, sometimes there are issues when you redirect a https to another https domain, and it doesn’t work.
  • If you want a way to redirect your root domain and any other page within the domain, see the Cloudflare redirect option below. It’s free.
Let’s dive deeper 👇

Additional Tips for Domain Redirecting Without Hosting

While the process of redirecting a domain without hosting is straightforward, there are some additional considerations and tips that can enhance your experience:

  1. SSL Certificates:
    • If both your original domain and the destination website have SSL certificates (they start with https://), ensure that your redirect also supports HTTPS to avoid security warnings.
    • Example: If mydomain.com is HTTPS and you’re redirecting to mynewdomain.com which is also HTTPS, your redirect should maintain the secure connection.
  2. Avoid Chain Redirects:
    • It’s not advisable to have multiple redirects in a chain (e.g., website-A.com redirects to website-B.com which then redirects to website-C.com). This can slow down the loading time and affect user experience.
    • Consider redirecting website-A.com directly to website-C.com.
  3. Monitor Traffic:
    • After setting up your redirect, monitor the traffic to ensure that it’s being directed correctly. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track visitors and ensure the redirect is working as intended.
    • Example: If you notice a sudden drop in visitors to mynewdomain.com after setting up the redirect, there might be an issue that needs addressing.
  4. Update Your SEO:
    • Redirects can impact your search engine ranking. Ensure that you are up-to-date with your SEO knowledge and settings and inform search engines about the change to maintain your ranking.
    • Example: Use tools like Google Search Console to submit a change of address for your domain.
  5. Inform Your Audience:
    • If you’re redirecting a well-known domain to a new one, consider informing your regular visitors about the change. This can be done through email newsletters, social media announcements, or a temporary banner on your website.
    • Example: A simple banner on mydomain.com stating “We’ve moved to mynewdomain.com!” can help inform and reassure your visitors.

By keeping these additional tips in mind, you can ensure a smooth transition when redirecting your domain and provide a seamless experience for your visitors.

How to Redirect Your Whole Domain Without Hosting, with Cloudflare

One common challenge many face when redirecting domains is the limitation of traditional domain providers like Name.com or GoDaddy. Typically, they only allow you to forward the homepage URL. This means if someone tries to access a specific page on your old domain, they’ll be taken to the homepage of the new domain, not the corresponding page. However, if you’re looking to redirect every individual page from one domain to another without hosting, Cloudflare is your best bet. Here’s how to set it up:

Getting Started with Cloudflare

  • Head over to Cloudflare.
  • Create an account and make sure to verify your email address.

Adding Your Domain

Cloudflare Free Plan
  • Utilize the “add a site” feature to include your alternate domain under Cloudflare’s free plan. If you’re a new user, this will be part of the account setup process.

Configuring DNS Settings

Cloudflare Proxied
  • Cloudflare will automatically fetch the DNS records from your existing web host.
  • Retain all TXT, SOA, and MX records. Also, keep any subdomains you don’t wish to redirect.
  • Ensure the records you want to redirect are set to “Proxied”. Adjust this in the “Proxy status” column. Proxied records will be managed by Cloudflare’s servers. The IP address for these records isn’t crucial since the redirect rule will override it.

Updating Nameserver Records

Cloudflare nameservers
  • Head to your domain registrar and replace your current nameserver (NS) records with the ones provided by Cloudflare.
  • Cloudflare will periodically check these records. Verification might take a few hours.

Setting Up the Redirect

Cloudflare Redirect Rule
  • Navigate to “Page Rules”.
  • Add a rule: For “URL matches”, input *example.com/* (replace “example.com” with your domain). This rule ensures all subdomains and paths are matched.
  • Choose “Forwarding URL” and select the 301 – Permanent Redirect status code.
  • For the destination URL, input https://example.org/$2 (replace “example.org” with your main domain). The $2 captures the URL path, ensuring deep links are redirected correctly. This means yourolddomain.com/page2 will redirect to yournewdomain.com/page2. And so forth. If you mention just your yournewdomain.com in the forward field, every single page of the old domain, will redirect to the root of yournewdomain.com.

Patience is Key

  • DNS propagation can take a few hours to a couple of days.
  • Cloudflare will need some minutes to apply your rules.
  • SSL certificate generation for HTTPS requests might take a few hours.

Testing Your Setup

  • Use command-line tools like dig and curl to verify your redirects. This helps ensure that both the main domain and its subdomains redirect correctly.
  • Or simply use a good redirect check tool like HttpStatus.

Expanding Your Redirects

  • Cloudflare allows you to add multiple alternate domains, without creating a new account. Each can be set up similarly, each under its own free plan.

By following these steps, you’ll have a good redirection setup for your entire domain, ensuring every page and subdomain points exactly where you want it to.

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