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using wildcard subdomains. (54 posts)

  1. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Like many others I have experienced problems with the wpmu installation creating automatic subdomains. I have read around and the apparent solution is to use DNS wildcard settings (see Tan Kian Ann solution using Cpanel/WHM) however I am experiencing issues with server support staff permitting changes to their httpd.conf file.
    Interestly, here's the response from bluehost.com:

    There are two problems with wildcard subdomains.

    1) Cpanel doesn't treat them very well. In the past when we did
    offer them, they woudl break nearly as often as they would work.
    CPanel doesn't have a tool that allows us to create them, so we
    had to create them manually. CPanel would brick over the manual
    changes seemingly on a whim.

    2) Wildcard subdomains are patented. A quick google search will
    provide you more information about it. What applies to us is
    basically any company using wild card subdomains making money of
    them is prohibited, meaning us.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=YcK&q=wildcard+subdomains+patent&btnG=Search

    I am surprised about the patent to say the least! It certainly throws a big spanner into the works for me not to mention the problems they report with Cpanel.

    I need some help and am unable to find other ways to allow subdomain activation with wpmu anywhere on the web.

    Can anyone offer some advice? How can it be done without DNS wildcards?

    For now it looks like wordpress mu is limited to installing only in sub directories as this does not contravene any wildcard patents.

    Please help, I wouldn't want to change host.

  2. drmike
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Linux (Note that I say Linux and not CPanel) handles wildcards fine. You just have to learn to get your hands dirty and realize that not everything on the net has a pretty command interface. I even think the install instructions mention that you have to edit files and not rely on CPanel or another backend.

    And since you're modifing Linux files, CPanel wouldn't change anything on a upgrade. CPanel sits on top of the OS.

    As to teh patent, you may actually want to read the patent as you'll discover that it doesn't apply in this case. It talks about doing a redirect into a subdirectory. WPMu creates it's own site without any forwarding into a subdirectory.

  3. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Thanks for your reply. I can't find anything regarding install instructions, Cpanel and editing files on Linux.

    Could you please expand further. maybe a link?

    I've been in touch with bluehost.com again and put your reply to them. Other users may find this useful...

    ====online support chat/bluehost.com/hostmonster.com ====

    techy: Welcome to our real-time support chat. How can I help you today?

    techy: Yes, we use CentOS which is a linux distro.

    julian: i'm having some issues installing wordpress mu...

    julian: i had requested earlier if i could enable wildcard dns on your servers but it was denied as they stated that cpanel had issues with it and on another hand wild cards were patented. i've been on the wordpress mu support site and put this to the moderator who replied with the following..

    julian: Linux (Note that I say Linux and not CPanel) handles wildcards fine. You just have to learn to get your hands dirty and realize that not everything on the net has a pretty command interface. I even think the install instructions mention that you have to edit files and not rely on CPanel or another backend.

    And since you're modifing Linux files, CPanel wouldn't change anything on a upgrade. CPanel sits on top of the OS.

    As to teh patent, you may actually want to read the patent as you'll discover that it doesn't apply in this case. It talks about doing a redirect into a subdirectory. WPMu creates it's own site without any forwarding into a subdirectory.

    techy: C panel may work with that just fine, but unfortunately wildcard subdomains are not something we currently use or allow.

    julian: cpanel doesn't work with it, i've been trying it all day. the subdomains are created as the httpd.conf file doesn't have the required wildcard subdomain instructions. YOur support team said they wouldn't add the code beciase it would interfer with other sites on your server

    julian: i'm totally stumped. the wordpress moderators comments doesn't make much sense to me.

    techy: From what I understand Wordpress MU does not work with out servers due to the wildcard domains not being supported.

    julian: i'm still stumped. the wordpress moderator seams to suggest that I can achieve the installation without changing anything on linux.

    techy: Unfortunately I am quite certain that Wordpress MU will not work with our servers. I have spoken to other techs about this and none of us ave ever heard of this being installed, due to the wildcard subdomain restrictions.

    ==================================

    HELP! this is getting above my head and I wouldn't want to change hosts as they offer disk space at a fantastic price!

    I have shell access, is there something I can do that they are presently unaware of?

  4. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I've been researching further and opened the README file that comes with the installation. here's a link for everyone else..

    http://trac.mu.wordpress.org/browser/trunk/README.txt

    Looking deeper into that it reveals this link regarding the wild cards...

    http://photomatt.net/2003/10/10/wildcard-dns-and-sub-domains/

    however, once more it suggests editing the httd.conf file for Apache which I do not have access to, and, even with my shell I wouldn't want to even attempt it due to the possible consequences for other users on this shared host.

    I really wouldn't want to change web hosting. Is there anything else I could do?

  5. lunabyte
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    If you don't want to change hosts, and they absolutely won't do it for you... no.

    "1) Cpanel doesn't treat them very well. In the past when we did
    offer them, they woudl break nearly as often as they would work.
    CPanel doesn't have a tool that allows us to create them, so we
    had to create them manually. CPanel would brick over the manual
    changes seemingly on a whim."

    Bulls**t. They're trying to blow you off.

    I've got cPanel and WHM, running on a CentOS box (I <3 Cent, btw), and everything is just peachy, and MU is a happy camper. Granted it's my box, and only 3 other sites on that one, but MU is still happy as a clam. Including using subdomains.

    "2) Wildcard subdomains are patented. A quick google search will
    provide you more information about it. What applies to us is
    basically any company using wild card subdomains making money of
    them is prohibited, meaning us."

    Note: making money off them

    Meaning, if they wanted to do it, they would charge you to do so. However they don't want to do it, and use this to back their answer.

    I hate to say it, but your host sucks. Nice deal or not (I'd bet it "really isn't if you really used what they offered), they don't have a friggin clue about what they're doing.

    A wildcard being enabled is on a per "virtual host" (the apache kind, not the VHOST MU setting) basis. It only applies to that vhost and nothing else.

    If it were me, I'd look for a better host, that has a clue. If I couldn't get my own box, I'd jump on Media Temple's Grid Server, A Small Orange, or a VDS at Jumpline.

    Maybe I could initiate a chat with them, and rock their world.
    Somebody certainly needs to. lol

    And in a world where hosts are a dime a dozen, there are plenty of reputable hosts that would be happy to have you as a client.

  6. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Thanks for the advice. If you could convince them to add the code that would be fantastic for me.

    I guess other users will fall into this trap sooner or later with their hosts so the info that is posted here could help them convince their hosts too.

    If you're interested try http://www.hostmonster.com - live chat or email support.

    Thanks for your help.

  7. drmike
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    You do see where the tech says that they don't allow wildcards, right? It's a policy issue. The tech says a couple of times that they will not allow you to install wpmu.

    I'd find a new host as your current one will not allow you to run the software.

    synhosting.com where I host my offserver sites gives you three months free when you jump from another host and Pat is wonderful to work with. I'd give them a try.

  8. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I tried my host again and they returned flatly - "we don't support wild cards".

    Ah well. I wonder how many other hosts would not support wild cards? Maybe I've just been unlucky.

  9. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Thanks everyone.

  10. tene
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    The question of whether the Ideaflood patent applies to WPMU subdomains is a good one. DrMike, you suggest it doesn't apply here because a redirect into a subdirectory isn't involved.

    When Alice setups up alice.mywpmusite.com (say blog_id=54) and she uploads her first image, WPMU responds by setting up:
    - blogs.dir/54/files/myfirstimage.jpg
    - a mapping in WPMU between 'alice' and blog_id 54 (so 54 is just a pointer to the subdomain name)

    So without getting into the semantics of whether wp_54_posts is a kind of 'directory' in its own right (patent lawyers would love that I am sure), once files are involved, WPMU seems to be using a wildcard subdomain method to direct traffic to a user subdirectory (blogs.dir/54 is pretty much the same as blogs.dir/alice)? Could WPMU operate solely using a database and no directory? If not, then maybe the patent is relevant. But blogs without uploads aren't that attractive.

    Maybe it's a bit different when you use WPMU to map alice's subdomain to an external domain. Now you have alice-external-domain.com mapping into blogs.dir/54, but without the original subdomain (alice.mywpmusite.com) being involved anymore. WPMU is using the wildcard and vhosts to serve multiple, independent domains. And without the subdomain, it seems the patent isn't relevant.

    LIke many, I don't think the patent is a good one. But maybe the question of whether or not it applies to WPMU is more complicated.

  11. jaredbangs
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    If you really like your current host (don't know why you would after that exchange, but...) you could always run your DNS elsewhere and still use them for your web host.

    AFAIK, you'd still need to handle the subdomains in Apache as well, so it might not matter either way, but there's nothing that says you have to use their DNS services if you own the domain.

  12. peiqinglong
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

  13. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Thanks, but that's what we are discussing and it's where this topic began. The problem being that many web hosts do not support wild card subdomains and, as has proven to be the case with my host, are intimidated by the very nature of it.

    I've searched around and asked many of the top ten hosting companies if they support wild cards. It took a few enquiries but it appears that I have now found an acceptably priced 200GB web host (my min req. for multi educational blogs) which does support wild cards. Phew!

    Interestingly, out of 10 providers only one claims to support it.

    For other users reading this topic, I recommend asking your web hosts if they support wild card DNS and are willing to update their http.conf file before installing and testing Wordpress Mu.

    I'll let you all know how it goes with my new web host.

  14. lunabyte
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    /me asks myself...

    Yep, I support wildcards. lol

    su -

  15. drmike
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    The patent says that a visitor to a website is being redirected into a physical subdirectory, not having uploaded files pulled out of a subdirectory. There is a difference. :)

  16. lunabyte
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    And um, not to mention that it isn't too far from being overturned.

  17. drmike
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    You wanna pay for the legal fees.

    Well the Linux one was upheld where all those hosts had to pay for it and we all know that that was BS.

    Look at this way. I have no legal schooling although I have had some legal training and experience and I can see where the patent doesn't hold to what we do.
    And I don't play one on TV either. :)

  18. lunabyte
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Ah, but you slept at a holiday inn express, right? ;)

  19. peiqinglong
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    jmanders-jones, are you using a VPS or dedicated server? I would think if you went VPS or dedicated route, you could make your own entries. I have a VPS and that's what I did.

  20. ulyssesr
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I went to the same growing pain installing WordPress Mu for the first time. I wrote a little writeup about using wildcard sub-domains with WordPress Mu. Hope this helps others.

    http://ulyssesonline.com/2007/04/20/wordpress-mu-dns-wildcards/

  21. lunabyte
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    They OP knows what needs to be done.

    The fact is, their host doesn't know what they're doing, so they are saying it's not supported.

  22. thierryyyyyyy
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I have the same problem and want to use a "new" solution.
    I bought my domain to a different registrar, so I can set the DNS on a different server.
    BUT apache configuration remains on the shared server...
    If I don't have directly access to the httpd.conf, there is a solution with Cpanel ?

  23. thierryyyyyyy
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Sorry, the answer is given in "WPMU on Lunarpages" topic.
    and the answer is "NO"

  24. andrea_r
    Moderator
    Posted 14 years ago #

    I'm thinking some of us on our own deidcated or virtual boxes could host a few extra accounts for a little extra cash. ;)

  25. peiqinglong
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Agreed. I have a VPS. :)

  26. drmike
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Just for reference, jumpline doesn't support wildcard dns. Can't use wpmu over there.

  27. jmanders-jones
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    Shared hosting is affordable for students whereas dedicated hosting packages are way too expensive to be a viable option. Reseller packages and/or dedicated hosting packages would be an option only if they offered large disk space (200GB) at 'affordable' rates.

  28. andrea_r
    Moderator
    Posted 14 years ago #

    But in our vast and varied experiences, you're going to be hard pressed to find a host that a) will allow you to set it up in the first place, either because they don't do wildcards or it violates their TOS, or b) lets you on, but as soon as you get a few blogs, boots you off the system for being a resource hog. Or worse - lets you stay, but throttles you down so your users are not happy with performance.

    Yes, I *know* it's affordable and tempting. I learned the hard way when my former host even went and changed their TOS to boot me off. And of course they can do so without notice.

    They may offer tons of bandwidth and space, but you will never ever use it before you throttle down the server with db requests, and go over whatever max_user they have set for MySQL. Which for some hosts is frighteningly low.

  29. lunabyte
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    To add to what Andrea said, they offer it while knowing full well 99% of accounts won't come close to even using a couple % of what they offer.

    If someone "actually" does, they find a reason to boot you off. It's a common, deceptive practice in the hosting industry.

  30. drmike
    Member
    Posted 14 years ago #

    200 gigs is an entire harddrive. Any host offering 200gigs of webspace (and for probably the cost of a fast food lunch) is not to be a trusted host.

About this Topic

  • Started 14 years ago by jmanders-jones
  • Latest reply from andrea_r