One of my customers has recently had their site reviewed against best practice for security, SEO, end-user experience etc, and interestingly one of the points highlighted in the final report was that they stated the customer should:

"Put a permanent (HTTP 301) redirect to http://www.example.com on http://.example.com".

At present there are A records for www and @ with a 301 redirect when the requested host name is missing the www prefix (I've checked this is working correctly), however there are also subdomains such as webmail.example.com and imap.example.com etc.

Without using an asterix (*) A record to catch-all, how can I address this point?

I've always thought the hostname part could never start or end with a full stop but that they were used only as separators, and having checked, IETF RFC 1035 states, p8, s2.3.1, "Preferred Name Syntax":

The labels must follow the rules for ARPANET host names. They must start with a letter, end with a letter or digit, and have as interior characters only letters, digits, and hyphen.

And while the section title uses the word Preferred the paragraph at s2.3 prior to the above paragraph makes it clear that this syntax is mandatory for Internet-connected systems.

Does anyone believe this domain beginning with a dot but no subdomain could be considered valid under any circumstances? If I try to connect via HTTP I get the error:

Domain name lookup failed: http://.example.com/

(Note: real domain name substituted for example.com throughout this question)

  • 3
    Are you sure it wasn't just a typo in the SEO report? Jun 23, 2015 at 15:58
  • Do they give a reason? FWIW Opera and Chrome seem to automatically request example.com when typing .example.com, if example.com is already cached by the browser.
    – MrWhite
    Jun 23, 2015 at 16:05
  • I'm not sure, it is certainly possible that their automated testing system features a bug and/or typo, but I thought it would be interesting to ask the community for any thoughts on it too. Jun 23, 2015 at 16:12
  • I'm wondering if it might be a system bug based on them expecting .uk domains to be in the format .co.uk, .org.uk etc only and not just .uk - perhaps they haven't updated it correctly since the launch of .uk domains? Seems unlikely since that was a whole year ago and this is a commercial solution run by a UK-based company. Possible though. Jun 23, 2015 at 16:26
  • I'd (or your client) contact who ever did the audit and ask them whether that was a typo...
    – AStopher
    Jun 25, 2015 at 8:48

1 Answer 1


It turns out this was indeed a bug in their system where the introduction of .uk domains a year ago as a country-code top level domain (ccTLD) and not just as a second-level domain (e.g. .co.uk, .org.uk, .ac.uk etc.), had not yet been catered for in their system.

  • Who was the auditor? Would be good to know who they are.
    – AStopher
    Jun 25, 2015 at 8:50
  • Had they not acknowledged an issue or committed to patch it I may have taken a different position but at present I'm not happy publicising the auditors name as it may affect their reputation and they genuinely have an excellent product/service. While I'm surprised this issue hadn't been picked up on earlier, in reality there simply aren't really that many large companies websites using .uk instead of .co.uk or .com yet. Most companies seem to have registered .uk domains as protective registrations and redirect them to their main website at the moment. Jun 25, 2015 at 8:56

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