I have a client with thirty some domain names. All bought for the reason of being close to a competitors domain. They want them all to redirect to their main portal. Right now I have them pointing to the main portal but that obviously only does this:

www.competitors-site.example -> goes to www.main-portal.example but still retains www.competitors-site.example in the address bar.

So, is the best option then to htaccess all of these domains?

  • If we do that we have to put all thirty of these domains on a hosting account correct?
  • Can I then use one htaccess file to make sure they all get redirected properly?

I am not real good with the htaccess server setting stuff that is why I ask. The idea of setting up thirty different htaccess files seems quite tedious and I would like to make sure I have explored all options before I get started on this.

I suppose I could set up some sort of PHP header redirection too, but again that seems like a hefty amount of work.

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    Deciding whether answering is more likely to make the world a better place or end up with me in court...... court wins! (Based on your posts so far it sounds like this site pulls content from XML feeds, displays in dribbles of 5 at a time as some kind of teaser, and gets traffic when people mis-type a competitors site name - is this about right?) – psr Mar 14 '12 at 3:08
  • Wow, I knew I would post a question that would get me flamed to high heaven soon enough...voted down, migrated to another site..sheesh. This issue is completely unrelated to the xml question and is for a completely different scenario. This client is obsessed with domain names and despite my advice to make them into a network of mini sites or similar that link to their main site or by utilizing them in some other way that would benefit their SEO efforts, they simply think they are going to get a ton of mis-type traffic so they want it all sent to their main domain. No evil plot. – absentx Mar 14 '12 at 4:48
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    Sounds reasonable, except the part where they are picking up typos for their competitors. – jmoreno Mar 14 '12 at 7:20

Host all domains on one server, for the reality of the matter is, no number of domains containing the same information will help your SEO ranks, they more than likely will hurt them. So if indeed you client needs to have 30-1000 domain names with variations of keywords or typos, its just going to be easier to host them all on the same server. Just much more easier to maintain over time.


You have a few options to forward all the domains

  1. Forward the domains from the registrar account (where they were registered)
  2. Use .htaccess to redirect
  3. Use meta refresh to redirect
  4. PHP redirect (it's not difficult see below)

Domains on the same server linking to each other don't hurt your rankings, it's not bad SEO. How many domains exist on Amazon servers? Or BlueHost who host millions of sites? There is much more coming into account for SEO and this play little into it. Matt Cutts discusses this in a video.

PHP redirect

   header( 'Location: http://www.yoursite.com/' ) ;
  • Could you link to the Cutts video you're referring to? – joshuahedlund Mar 14 '12 at 20:52
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    Hi @joshuahedlund This is one website he discusses it, youtube.com/watch?v=XpJacspWz4Y he talks about it else where if you google Matt Cutts and "same IP" you'll find blog posts and more videos. One blog post mattcutts.com/blog/… – Anagio Mar 15 '12 at 10:07
  • Using PHP just to do an HTTP redirection, while this can be done with one directive (Redirect) in Apache configuration seems overkill... – Patrick Mevzek Jul 30 '18 at 19:59

If the site "redirects" but keeps the old address in the address bar, then it is not redirecting at all and instead is just displaying the site in an iframe.

You should set the domain to do a 301 Redirect to the new domain. You should be able to do this in your domain's control panel, with no need for hosting. If you are not able to do that, get a better domain name provider.

However, I will also add that owning a ton of domains that just redirect is almost entirely useless. Unless you have lots of links pointing to them, those domains will carry no weight. If your site (or competitor's site) is example.com, just owning myexample.com will not rank that domain or your site when searching for "example".

Moreover, you may get small amounts of traffic through misspellings, but you could be on shaky legal ground if the domains' sole purpose is to drive traffic away from a competitor.

  • It's called typosquatting, and apparently it does sometimes pay off, or at least gives the impression of doing so, since people keep doing it. – Ilmari Karonen Mar 14 '12 at 12:05
  • Okay thank you for the answer. I completely agree and have simply not been able to communicate this to them yet, plus they are in a niche where the are going to get virtually no traffic this way. I guess I just have to break it to him that there thirty domains when used in this manner is quite shady and not very useful. – absentx Mar 14 '12 at 18:00

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