UK WebnamesDomain name registration, email & web site hosting

About web forwarding

When you use our free web forwarding service, if someone types your domain name into the address bar of their browser, they will automatically be redirected to another web site that you run.

Please use this form to request web forwarding.

As an example, we own the domain name "smallgreentree.net", and that is the primary web site of our business. We also own the domain name "smallgreentree.com", and we have setup web forwarding for that so that if you type "smallgreentree.com" into your browser's address bar, you will see that it pulls up our "smallgreentree.net" web site.

Who uses web forwarding?

There are three reasons why you might want to use web forwarding - but one of those is not suitable for business use!

  1. You might be worried that folks could mistype your domain name. In our case, with our domain "smallgreentree.net", many people will automatically type out ".com" out of habit. So by forwarding "smallgreentree.com" to "smallgreentree.net" we don't lose those customers.
  2. It provides a method to replace a long URL with something short and catchy. That can then be very useful if you want to include links to a specific part of your web site in an email, or in printed, promotional material. For example we once announced a new feature for our form processor application at this page: "http://www.smallgreentree.net/288/new-super-cool-uploads-progress-bar.html". So if we had wished, and if we had had a spare domain name handy, we could have set up forwarding directly to that page. "Visit www.smallgreentree.com" looks much better than "visit http://www.smallgreentree.net/288/new-super-cool-uploads-progress-bar.html"!
  3. Your broadband provider may have given you FTP access to some free web space. But if you create a web site with that space, its address will be some rather long and ugly URL. So instead, you can setup web forwarding to that web space, and, voilá, you've got free web hosting with your domain name! (but see below!)

When web forwarding is a bad idea

Unless it's for a "personal" site for friends & family only, web forwarding can never be a substitute for proper website hosting. The reason is that all the search engines, and Google in particular, ignore forwarded domains in their search listings. They only pay attention to the "true" url of the web site. In evaluating the merits of a web site for its listings, Google and the search engines will quite reasonably consider "Is this web content hosted on its own domain?". If it is not, than that will discourage them from taking your web content very seriously.

So that's the issue for business web sites: Proper web site hosting with your domain is a prerequisite for a decent search engine listing (a necessary, but not sufficient condition!).

What is "cloaked" forwarding?

With normal web site forwarding, the forwarded URL changes to the destination URL in the browser's address bar. For example, with the forwarding we have in place for "smallgreentree.com", if you put that in your address bar it will change to "http://www.smallgreentree.net".

Some folks don't like that. They want to try and get the content that's on the destination URL, but with the original domain name staying in the browser address bar. That's what "cloaked forwarding" is. (You might describe this uncharitably as "wanting to have your cake and eat it!").

In our view it's just a bad idea, and so we don't offer "cloaked forwarding". In fact as a general rule we would suggest that any tricks and techniques that are designed to "bend" or alter the basic beaviour of the Internet and of browsers are best avoided!

The problem with "cloaked forwarding"

"Cloaked forwarding" is achieved by using a technique called HTML frames. Frames allow you to "embed" the content of one page inside another. The use of frames is in itself entirely legitimate, although nowadays it is considered rather clumsy and old-fashioned. "Cloaked forwarding" bends this technique by creating a web page with zero content attached to your domain name, and then embedding the pages from the forwarded URL within this zero-content parent page.

This certainly works, but..., it destroys one of the first principles of browsing: As you move from page to page, the URL in the address bar stays locked and does not change! And that's simply "not right". The value of the address bar has been sabotaged. As a consequence your web site visitors will be unable to bookmark individual pages within your web site or recommend individual pages to their friends. So...

  • Standard web forwarding has its uses. You can request that here.
  • Cloaked forwarding - best avoided in our view!