RapidWeaver FAQ - Personal Domains on MobileMe


How do personal domains of the type of yourdomain.com work? How do I register them? Do I get personal e-mails too?

Chapter 1: About Personal Domains
1.1 What is a personal domain?
1.2 What does it do?
1.3 Where can I get one and much does it cost?
1.4 How do I set it up? (CNAME)
Chapter 2: Normal set up for MobileMe
Chapter 3: When your domain registrar asks you to provide ns server names or you can’t edit CNAME or WebForward
Chapter 4: Multiple websites and multiple domains on MobileMe
Chapter 5: Personal Domains yourname.com and personal e-mails whatever@yourdomain.com

Chapter 1: About Personal Domains

1.1 What is a personal domain?

A personal domain name is a url of the type of yourdomain.com to access to your website. There are three ways to use a personal domain, so let me introduce you to the difference between WebForward, WebForward with cloaking and CNAME:

1.2 What does it do?

-WebForward (or Redirect): after you typed yourdomain.com in the browser you get forwarded to web.me.com/username/ and web.me.com/username/ will display in the browser.
Result: yourdomain.com => web.me.com/username/sitename/pagename.html
Pros: People don't have to learn a long and complicated address to get on your pages
Cons: As soon as people get to your page the "easier to remember url" disappears and the less good looking complicated url displays

- WebForward with Cloaking (or masking): after you typed yourdomain.com in the browser yourdomain.com will display in the browser and will not change while people browse through your website
Result: yourdomain.com => yourdomain.com
Pros: Easier to remember, looks better (clean) and your complicated url doesn't show up at any point
Cons: When people want to provide a link to a particular page of your website to friends or bookmark a particular page of your site they can't. When they provide or bookmark it they will be directed to your first page and not to the particular page they wanted to go to. Thus the friend will have to navigate and search the page or ask himself "now, what?"
Search engines will not be able to index the content as it presents an iFrame in which different pages are loaded (it's like one page and a lot of pages in it but search engines can't see those pages, they only see the one 'empty' page). Not search engines friendly at all!

- CNAME (most used): yourdomain.com will display instead of web.me.com/username/ and while browsing through your website it will look like yourdomain.com/sitename/pagename.html
To use CNAME you need to have DNS control or read Chapter 3 of this page if you don’t.
Result: yourdomain.com => yourdomain.com/sitename/pagename.html
Pros: Easier to remember, looks better (more professional), people can bookmark particular pages, provide particular pages to friends, search engines might index your site using the better looking url
Cons: ? I can’t find any cons... Some people think it looks better if yourdomain.com displays always without any additions (thus not yourdomain.com/sitename/pagename.html) but I think the cons of WebForward with cloaking are much heavier than this purely aesthetic thing.

Bottom line of the pros and cons: To me CNAME is the only way to go...

If you have a personal domain like yourdomain.com it will enable you to access your site also by typing yourdomain.com in the browser and not only by typing web.me.com/username. However the MobileMe address will still exist and they can be used both. That’s because on personal domains there's no content, it's only an alias hiding/substituting the web.me.com/username/ name with yourdomain.com. But the web.me.com/username/ address is still there behind the personal domain and as previously told can be used to visit your site too.

Everything else is business as usual. The only thing changing is how you can access your website from browser.

Note 1: If using MobileMe hosting and other hostings as well you can have multiple domains pointed to different sites so that each site will have yourdomain.com. However on MobileMe you can have only one CNAME, the other personal domains should be WebForward or WebForward with cloaking.

Note 2: If you have a CNAME and multiple websites all your websites will be accessible using yourdomain.com and web.me.com/username/sitename/ (there’s no way to avoid that unless not using CNAME or having multiple MobileMe accounts)

1.3 Where can I get one and much does it cost?

To have a personal domain you need to buy it from a Domain Registrar. If you’re using MobileMe you need to buy it from another service as MobileMe doesn’t provide personal domain registration (it only allows you to use them).
There are different DomainRegistrar with different prices. I think the most used (by MobileMe customers) are GoDaddy (recommended) and 1&1.

To register a domain with GoDaddy use this (9.99$/yr):

Find a domain name now!
.com .us .biz .info .net .org .ws .name .tv .cc .de .jp .be .at .uk .nz .cn .tw

To register with 1&1 click here (Only $6.99 yr with 1&1)

Registrars you should avoid (not use): Networksolutions because it doesn’t let you use the domain without www and it’s hard to set it up; Misterdomain.eu because it doesn’t work at all.

1.4 How do I set it up? (CNAME)

For instructions on changing the CNAME please contact your domain registrar as every single registrar handles it a bit differently.

However you might find a field called
“Alias” there you type: yourdomain.com
And another field called
“Actual name” or “Host name” you type: web.me.com

If your registrar doesn’t allow you to change the CNAME (you don’t have DNS control) look at Chapter 3. Here are the links to the instructions for the most popular registrars (you may have a look at them even if you don’t use those registrars as they might work in a similar way as yours does):

- GoDaddy
How to set up CNAME for MobileMe with GoDaddy
WebForward with GoDaddy; masking

- 1&1
How to set up CNAME with 1&1
WebForward with 1&1

- NetworkSolutions
How to set up CNAME with Network Solutions

Depending on the registrar to use CNAME you need disable MailServers (E-Mail services). If you want to keep them read Chapter 5 on this page.

Note that www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com are treated as two completely different things, so you need to set up the CNAME for both of them (or follow Chapter 5).

If you use MobileMe also read Chapter 2.

Chapter 2: Normal set up for MobileMe

1) If you haven't already registered a domain name, visit an accredited domain name registrar on the Internet and register the personal domain name you want to use.
For information about registering a domain name, search the Internet for "domain name registrars” or have a look at Chapter 1.3 of this page
2) If you're not already logged in to MobileMe, go to
www.me.com, and log in.
3) Click Account in the left column on the MobileMe homepage, and confirm your login.
4) On the Account Settings page, click the Personal Domain button, and then follow the instructions that appear.
When asked to enter your domain name, be sure to type the entire domain name (including the extension, such as .com, .net) that you've registered without www (as it’s already written). Example: yourdomain.com and not www.yourdomain.com
5) When you see a screen confirming that MobileMe is configured to host your domain, go to your domain name registrar's web hosting area, and point your domain (by adding or changing a "cname record") to web.me.com
For instructions on changing the CNAME read “1.4 How do I set it up?” in Chapter 1 on this page.

Chapter 3: When your domain registrar asks you to provide ns server names or you can’t edit CNAME or WebForward

Some domain registrar don’t allow you to change CNAME, they only allow you to point the domains to servers.

Usually names of DNS servers are something like

So the solution would be going through a third party service (it's free):

1. Signup for an account at
2. In your account in zoneedit click on "Add Zone" and enter your Personal Domain
3. Click on "Edit Zone" => "What zone do you wish to edit?" click on your domain
4. Now you get to a panel and there you will see "Nameservers" in the format nsX.zoneedit.com and nsXX.zoneedit.com
5. Provide these to your Domain Name Registrar (usually you don’t have to contact your registrar’s support, simply type them in the appropriate field in your account)
6. In zoneedit click on "Aliases (CNAME)"
7. In "Alias" you type your personal domain
8. In "Actual Name" you type web.me.com
9. Go to MailForward and be sure to turn it off if it isn’t yet, a message will display saying “MailForwarding is currently turned off for this zone” (also look at Chapter 5 of this page about E-Mails)
10. Register the personal domain in your MobileMe account (look at Chapter 2 to see how)
11. It works! That's it....

You could also use "WebForward" in ZoneEdit instead of "Aliases (CNAME)"
- New Domain Name (your domain will show up) redirects to http://web.me.com/username/ => add and repeat for www. domain name

Chapter 4: Multiple websites and multiple domains on MobileMe

Having multiple websites using multiple domains with only one single-MobileMe account (without a Family pack) is a mess.

MobileMe wasn’t built for that. The idea behind MobileMe is to have personal websites to show to your friends grandparents and so on but not the kind of websites to be seen by everybody, the commercial sites and so on, ... Not last because it lacks of PHP compatibility, MySQL, and other stuff that is needed for a “real” website.

MobileMe is pretty limited especially for what concerns having multiple websites with multiple domains, whereas iWeb and RapidWeaver are much less limited than it seems. That’s why I would recommend you to get a real hosting. For informations about hosting your website on a server other than MobileMe see the
Publishing and Hosting FAQ.

As stated in Note 1 in Chapter 1 of this page each MobileMe account can only have one personal domain using CNAME linked to it. The others have to be WebForwards.

If you want to have multiple CNAME personal domains and want to keep using MobileMe you need to have multiple MobileMe accounts or Sub-accounts in case you have a Family Account (which I would recommend you).

Otherwise if you don’t want to have multiple MobileMe accounts and don’t want to publish to another hosting and don’t want to have multiple CNAME using personal domains to have multiple personal domains you can use simple WebForward with or without Cloaking/Masking (have a look at the definitions in Chapter 1) and point them directly to the site you want to point them to in your domain registrar account.
You find the links with instructions about how to set up WebForward with 1&1 and GoDaddy in Chapter 1, you may have a look at them even if you don’t use those registrars as they might work in a similar way as yours does.
If your domain registrar doesn’t provide WebForward services have a look at Chapter 3.

Note 1: Read Note 2 of Chapter 1

Chapter 5: Personal Domains yourname.com and personal e-mails whatever@yourdomain.com

Whether you get e-mails from the type of whatever@yourdomain.com or not depends on your domain registrar.

I think mostly at domain registrars you get MailForwards which means that I send e-mails at you@yourdomain.com which forwards e-mails to another address like whatever@yahoo.com and you can set you2@yourdomain.com to be forwarded to another e-mail (if you want). So basically MailForwards aren't real e-mails themselves. You can also set *@yourdomain.com so all e-mails sent to no matter which e-mail @yourdomain.com gets sent to you@yahoo.com (no matter what people put in front of the @yourdomain.com).

The problem is that if you set up CNAME for your domain usually E-Mail gets broken (MX). But there’s a trick to avoid that (pointed out to me by Earl and originally posted by Seanomich on the Apple Discussion Forums). Mainly that’s it:

1. www.yourdomain.com is different from yourdomain.com
2. Domain registrars handle them as completely different
3. The trick is to set up CNAME for www.yourdomain.com (as of Chapter 2 of this page)
4. For yourdomain.com set up a WebForward instead (as of Chapter 1 of this page) pointing it to www.yourdomain.com
5. Now yourdomain.com is free to be used for e-mails

If your domain registrar doesn't provide this feature you could manage your domain using ZoneEdit explained in Chapter 3 and you will get MailForward e-mails.
If MailForward isn’t enough for you, you probably need a hosting package (other than MobileMe) along with your domain.

This FAQ is also discussed in my RapidWeaverFAQ.org E-Book (sample)

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