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Naked Domain Redirect with SSL

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In today's digital landscape, web security is of utmost importance to protect your online presence and ensure the privacy and safety of your users. One critical aspect of web security is implementing SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates to encrypt data transmitted between a user's browser and your website. However, many website owners overlook the importance of securing their "naked domain" (e.g., example.com) and redirecting it to the secure HTTPS version of their website. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore SSL redirects and provide step-by-step instructions to secure your naked domain, enhancing web security for your online presence.

What is a naked domain?

A naked domain is also known as a “root domain” or “apex domain”. It refers to a domain name that does not include a subdomain, such as “www“. For example, “example.com” is a naked domain, while “www.example.com“ its subdomain. A naked domain is typically the “base” domain name and can be used as the primary domain for a website, email, or other online services.

Understanding SSL and HTTPS

SSL is a cryptographic protocol that establishes an encrypted connection between a web server and a user's browser. This encryption ensures that data transmitted between the two endpoints remains confidential and cannot be intercepted or tampered with by malicious actors. HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secure version of HTTP, incorporating SSL/TLS (Transport Layer Security) protocols to encrypt data exchanged over the internet.

The Importance of SSL Redirects for Naked Domains

When users enter your naked domain (e.g., example.com) into their browser, it is crucial to automatically redirect them to the secure HTTPS version of your website (e.g., https://example.com). Without proper redirection, users may inadvertently access the non-secure HTTP version, exposing their data to potential security risks. By implementing SSL redirects for your naked domain, you ensure a consistent and secure browsing experience for your users.

Why should naked domains be redirected to www. subdomain?

A naked domain redirect is typically required because web browsers and servers often treat naked domains and subdomains differently. For example, if a website is accessible at “www.example.com“ but not at “example.com”, then the visitors who enter the naked domain in their browser may not be able to access the website.

Domains which have unique content are recognised as authoritative domains for that content. Any other domain copying the same content are penalised by the search engines and will affect the SEO ranking of the same. Search engines treat the naked domain and subdomain as separate domains which leads to lower search engine ranking for one of the domains. Hence its a best practice to redirect naked domain to www. subdomain to make search engines understand that naked domain and www. subdomain refer to the same domain.

Lastly naked domains also have problems when websites are served via CDNs which are described here in detai

Which 3rd party services offer naked domain redirect with SSL?

  1. CloudFlareHere is a tutorial on how to do it with CloudFlare
  2. NakedSSL – Only paid plans available.
  3. EasyRedir – Only paid plans available.
  4. redirect.pizza – Generous free plans available and it is our preferred way of setting up Naked domain redirect with SSL

How do we do it at ATOM8?

At ATOM8 we have setup the naked domain redirect using redirect.pizza as it has good free plans as well as it has A Record and CNAME based configurations. There is already a well written blog on how to set it up here.

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