I'm putting up my first website using AlterVista as a hosting.

I have bought a second level domain from them with redirect and I am trying to set it right.

normally my page would use http://[domainname].altervista.org

I don't want anyone to see the altervista part, obviously after I have bought the second lvl domain.

The redirect works fine, when I open my [domainname].com the page loads but ends up with the same http://[domainname].altervista.org

That is why I have enabled something called "cloak". Domain cloaking?

In subdomain/redirect part I have http://[domainname].com to redirect to http://[domainname].altervista.org and http://www.[domainname].com redirecting to http://[domainname].altervista.org.

The cloak is turned on. And inside the settings which are just a few fields, like title, destination (that's the http://[domainname].altervista.org address) and meta tag things like description, keywords and customize headers which has:

<meta name="example" value="example">

... Now, the problem is that this isn't working for me as expected? With this enabled when I enter my main domain [domainname].com it redirects me to my website all fine, but the url looks just [domainname].com... and nothing else, no index.php, no nothing whenever I switch between the urls on my site. It just stays as a static [domainname].com no matter what.

Is this how it supposed to work or am I doing something wrong?

Again, all I wanted is to get rid of the altervista third lvl domain part in the url when someone enters my website

so in the end it would be like: [domainname].com/index.php and so on...

but this cloak ends up doing something else... it's just giving me a static domain name and nothing else. No index part in the url, no sub/locations... just the domain regardless of where on the website I am.

The website is made in Joomla if that's any relevance but I guess it's not a CMS thing but related to how domain is being set on the server?

any suggestions?

Update: More details

My registrar is SoftLayer. I don't really have any details for logging to anything on softlayer site. I purchased the domain from AlterVista, they did the registering for me, I only had to put the details on some ICANN related website to make it work. Here is how things look in AlterVista cpanel:

image 1 image 2

I did contact the AlterVista about the situation, on their support forum but ofc it's early morning here so it will take some time, so I'm exploring alternative sources to check if maybe I can figure it out with someone else's help here.

On the support forum someone asked a similar question, and a staffer told him like this:

"The domain woks mostly as a redirect, you can activate the cloaking (show the actual site inside a HTML frame) but the actual website will remain on the domain. Using the cloaking feature and a bit of JavaScript you can however always show on the address bar the second level domain URL."

1 Answer 1


I cannot tell you what this cloaking is or how it works, however, this type of activity is normally done using a DNS CNAME record pointing your example.com to example.altervista.org. You would likely do this with the registrar for your domain name example.com who should be your statement of authority (SOA) for your domain name. Log on and see where your DNS records are managed. Not knowing your registrar, it would be different from company to company. You may need to contact their technical support if the process is not obvious- it usually is. In any event, it should be a simple task.


It sounds like the cloaking option is not something I would go for because of the frame. Frames generally are not good for search.

As well, I am not sure of all the screen shots though it was good you put them in. It looks to me like I would be removing the cloaking option and entering a CNAME where record is your domain name example.com and target is your hosts sub-domain example.altervista.org. It looks like record defaults to your domain name example.com so that all you really have to do is add the hosts sub-domain example.altervista.org. Try that and see if that does not solve your problem.

A CNAME is an alias. When example.com is looked up in the DNS, it will equate it to example.altervista.org and does a second look-up for the IP address. This generally allows the example.com domain to in effect act as example.altervista.org transparently to the user.

  • Hi and thanks for reply. I have added some additional info to my question.
    – Borg777
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 5:05
  • @Borg777 I updated the answer. I hope this works for you.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 5:18
  • Thanks for all the help, but sadly I think what I wanted is impossible to achieve. I just read an article about domain masking. It confirmed that it's bad for SEO. I think in the end it comes down to the fact that AlterVista is mostly a free hosting. I got a redirect domain but it's like I can give folks the domain.com so they can go to my site. Or use cloaking gimmick. But like support said page will always be on imt.altervista.org. What I need is a hosting that itself offers domains, like GoDaddy, perhaps? So after my site grows I will move there. Thx again.
    – Borg777
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 5:41
  • @Borg777 Bummer! It is always best to use paid hosting anyway. One way or another, you pay for the free host and the cost can be more than you want. It is good to get started though and perhaps as you are building your site, you can use the free hosting and then move it when it becomes a bit more established. Good Luck!! Come back- we have some real experts here. This site can surprise you.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 14:29

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