Apparently, the Domain Name Servers of the world have not been alerted that nerdstogether.org now points to 188.8.131.52, the IP address where I'm hosting nerdstogether. Instead, they believe that it points to a server at 1and1, which then is responsible for passing the request along to my machine.
1and1 offers two choices for how this can be done.
HTTP forwardingThis simply sends the user's browser off to 184.108.40.206. There are two drawbacks:
- The browser's URL bar shows 220.127.116.11; "nerdstogether.org" would be much prettier.
- 1and1 truncates the URL before sending it on; this makes RESTful access impossible, since http://nerdstogether.org/dayton goes to 18.104.22.168/ instead of 22.214.171.124/dayton
Frame redirectIn this case, 1and1 hosts a webpage which simply contains a single frame; the contents of this frame are requested from my server. This looks better, since the user's URL bar continues to display "nerdstogether.org". Furthermore, 1and1 does attach the remainder of the requested URL, so RESTful access remains possible.
The problem? I'd like to provide not just visible HTML access from this domain, but a JSON web service as well. JSON data should be returned raw, as "content-type: text/json", not as an HTML frame embedded in an HTML webpage. No web service consumer can digest that! So I need to distribute a separate URL, with my raw IP address, to web service consumers.
Virtual serversFinally, both HTTP forwarding and frame redirect also make virtual servers impossible. I'd like to serve multiple unrelated websites from my machine, which I can do by configuring my webserver to react differently based on whether the URL requested was for nerdstogether.org or for a different domain name. Unfortunately, either of 1and1's options remove this information from the request before it is passed along to my machine; my machine only sees a request with its IP address. The fact that nerdstogether.org was the domain name requested is not passed along.
It's still possible to host multiple sites, by specifying a separate directory within 126.96.36.199 for each separate domain. Virtual servers would enable a cleaner separation between sites, though, with no possibility of navigating back up the directory hierarchy.
As far as I can tell, there is no ideal solution for me, aside from buying my domain name from a different provider, one who would actually propagate my domain name ownership out through the worldwide DNS network. I don't even know what the term would be for that kind of "full ownership" of a domain name.
This is my first trip through this wilderness, and I'd be delighted if I've missed some better solution that someone wise can point out to me.