I’ve been running AAUW branch web sites for more than 15 years. Recently, I’ve followed three rules –
- Don’t register a domain name for the branch when a subdomain of the state’s domain will do
- Use wordpress.com for hosting when that’s sufficient
- Use Google Apps for hosting e-mail, calendar, docs, etc.
So I’ve been running tarheel.aauwnc.org from aauwtarheel.wordpress.com for some time. Rule #3 means setting up a Google Apps account that it tied to the domain and allows for addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org. (Dreamhost.com – my regular hosting service – offers that for free with a really easy setup.)
That’s all worked like a champ. But one of my goals for this year was to “hide” the “wordpress.com” in the branch’s web address. For instance, when someone typed tarheel.aauwnc.org into their browser it would show up–but with the address of aauwtarheel.wordpress.com. Since we’d gone to all the trouble of having branch-level e-mail addresses, that just looked unprofessional.
I’ve been going around in circles with Dreamhost support for weeks. The problem seems to be that rules #1 and #3 conflict with the way that WordPress.com sets up web hosting:
- If I want email@example.com to work (using Dreamhost MX records to pass the mail to Google), I couldn’t set up aauwtarheel.wordpress.com so that it appears to be tarheel.aauwnc.org (with a CNAME record at Dreamhost)
- If I want aauwtarheel.wordpress.com to appear to be tarheel.aauwnc.org (setting up the CNAME record), I can’t have addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org (because there’s no way to set up the MX records after adding the CNAME at Dreamhost and WordPress.com doesn’t offer MX records on a subdomain)
I considered the option of registering a new top level domain (e.g. aauwtarheel.org) since that’s exactly how openupaauw.org is working and it’s fine, but aside from violating rule #1, that would mean setting up the e-mail all over again.
What I ended up with was creating yet another subdomain, site.tarheel.aauwnc.org, and paying the $12/year to have it be the primary address on WordPress.com — i.e. aauwtarheel.wordpress.com now looks like site.tarheel.aauwnc.org. Nothing needed to change in the e-mail setup. (You might ask why I didn’t use www.tarheel.aauwnc.org — well WordPress.com strips all “www” prefixes.)
- tarheel.aauwnc.org still works as the web address of the site — but now it looks like site.tarheel.aauwnc.org instead of aauwtarheel.wordpress.com
- All the e-mail addresses that have been set up still work
Does anyone have a better way to solve this problem?