Mapping a subdomain to a hosted site

I’ve been running AAUW branch web sites for more than 15 years. Recently, I’ve followed three rules –

  1. Don’t register a domain name for the branch when a subdomain of the state’s domain will do
  2. Use for hosting when that’s sufficient
  3. Use Google Apps for hosting e-mail, calendar, docs, etc.

So I’ve been running from for some time. Rule #3 means setting up a Google Apps account that it tied to the domain and allows for addresses like ( – 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 “” in the branch’s web address. For instance, when someone typed into their browser it would show up–but with the address of 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 sets up web hosting:

  • If I want to work (using Dreamhost MX records to pass the mail to Google), I couldn’t set up so that it appears to be (with a CNAME record at Dreamhost)
  • If I want to appear to be (setting up the CNAME record), I can’t have addresses like (because there’s no way to set up the MX records after adding the CNAME at Dreamhost and doesn’t offer MX records on a subdomain)

I considered the option of registering a new top level domain (e.g. since that’s exactly how 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,, and paying the $12/year to have it be the primary address on — i.e. now looks like Nothing needed to change in the e-mail setup. (You might ask why I didn’t use — well strips all “www” prefixes.)

In summary:

  • still works as the web address of the site — but now it looks like instead of
  • All the e-mail addresses that have been set up still work

Does anyone have a better way to solve this problem?

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