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The inter­face of sub­do­main admin­is­tra­tion has been deeply over­hauled. So far, once a domain had been added to your always­da­ta account, you were able to cre­ate sub­do­mains point­ing to a pre­cise direc­to­ry. This mech­a­nism entailed var­i­ous limitations:

  • it was nec­es­sary to add the man­age­ment domain before­hand, which was not par­tic­u­lar­ly intuitive
  • when a site can be accessed through var­i­ous sub­do­mains (www.example.org and example.org), you have to type the des­ti­na­tion direc­to­ry for each of them
  • the set­ting-up of a sub­do­main is lim­it­ed to its des­ti­na­tion direc­to­ry. For a few months, it has been pos­si­ble, how­ev­er, to ask us to acti­vate Passenger or mod-wsgi by con­tact­ing us
  • it is tedious to host sev­er­al sites in one sub­do­main, in dis­tinct directories

Let’s give way to “Sites”

Forget about that sys­tem, and dis­cov­er the new always­da­ta admin­is­tra­tion sec­tion: Sites. Instead of han­dling sub­do­mains like before, from now on what you will cre­ate will be “sites”. A site is made up of:

  • one or sev­er­al address­es. An “address” is a sub­do­main, and in addi­tion to it at times, a path. Here are a few exam­ples : www.example.net, example.com, forum.example.org, www.example.com/forum/
  • its type. We are offer­ing at the moment 5 types, which will be detailed below
  • con­fig­u­ra­tion options depend­ing on the type

This new sys­tem offers numer­ous advantages:

  • it is no longer nec­es­sary to add your domain before­hand. Adding a man­age­ment domain is now only required when you wish to use our DNS servers
  • what­ev­er the num­ber of address­es your site has, there is no more con­fig­u­ra­tion to duplicate
  • you can indi­cate a path in your address­es. Thus, you can have a Django appli­ca­tion on www.example.net and a PHP appli­ca­tion on www.example.net/blog with­out tampering
  • you do not have to con­tact us any more to acti­vate Passenger or mod_wsgi
  • you can cre­ate an HTTP redi­rec­tion with­out hav­ing to toil to cre­ate an .htac­cess file
  • you can share a domain with sev­er­al accounts belong­ing to the same customer

The one-click appli­ca­tion installing process has been inte­grat­ed to this Site sec­tion: you have an Install an appli­ca­tion but­ton allow­ing you to install, like before, a WordPress, phpBB, DokuWiki… auto­mat­i­cal­ly. The option of delet­ing appli­ca­tions, how­ev­er, has been with­drawn: as it was not intu­itive enough and con­fus­ing, you will now have to delete an appli­ca­tion you no longer need manually.

The types of sites

  • Standard Apache, which cor­re­sponds to the type used so far in all sub­do­mains. It is adapt­ed to sta­t­ic files, PHP or any appli­ca­tion using FastCGI. In case of doubt, it is the type that you should use
  • Customized Apache: it will allow you to indi­cate your own Apache guide­lines, with­out any lim­its. Be care­ful enough not to break anything :)
  • Redirection: as its name shows, it will allow you to set up HTTP redi­rec­tions. It is avail­able in 3 modes: 301 (per­ma­nent), 302 (tem­po­rary) and trans­par­ent (reverse proxy)
  • Ruby on Rails: you sim­ply have to indi­cate your appli­ca­tion direc­to­ry and it will be deployed via Passenger. In the future, you will be able to opt for anoth­er deploy­ing mech­a­nism oth­er than Passenger, for those of you who pre­fer oth­er tech­nolo­gies (Unicorn, for instance)
  • WSGI: your WSGI appli­ca­tion will be rede­ployed with mod_wsgi. And the same applies in that the tech­nol­o­gy may be changed lat­er on (hel­lo guni­corn)

Migrating existing accounts

Subdomains have been con­vert­ed auto­mat­i­cal­ly into sites. If you had sev­er­al sub­do­mains point­ing to the same direc­to­ry, we have cre­at­ed only one site. The names of the sites gen­er­at­ed are not very orig­i­nal (Site 01, Site 02, etc.) and it is up to you to change them as you wish. Should you detect the slight­est bug, in spite of all of our cau­tion, please do con­tact us.

And what next?

This new inter­face, on which we start­ed work­ing a long time ago, will allow us to add new fea­tures such as HTTP caching, ded­i­cat­ed IPs (already avail­able on request), SSL cer­tifi­cates (dit­to). The sta­tis­tics inter­face (Piwik) will also be mod­i­fied for each site to have its own sta­tis­tics. And above all, we will add new site types: Django (which is already run­ning smooth­ly with FastCGI), Node.js, Java, Erlang…

Follow us on Twitter to take part in our next beta tests :)