What’s URL Masking – KnownHost


Area masking – as its title suggests – refers back to the hiding of an internet site’s actual URL from a person’s browser. Whereas it may be a useful gizmo for web sites, it might probably additionally negatively influence the person expertise if designed to be deceptive.

So, why would an internet site use URL masking?

On this article, KnownHost explains the potential benefits and downsides of URL masking, in addition to the way it’s totally different from redirecting URLs and the important thing moral concerns across the method.


What’s URL Masking?

Earlier than understanding the results of URL masking, it’s vital to grasp what precisely it means.

URL masking refers back to the show of 1 URL within the internet browser, whereas content material is loaded from a unique URL. It offers the looks that the person is viewing content material from one web site, whereas technically accessing a unique web site. Nonetheless, it’s not to be confused with redirected URLs.

Think about an internet site with the area ‘www.instance.com’, however its web site proprietor desires to show content material from one other web site, with the area ‘www.example321.com’. Nonetheless, they wish to maintain the URL as ‘www.instance.com’.

With URL masking, when somebody visits ‘www.instance.com’, the content material displayed is definitely loaded from ‘www.example321.com’ – main the person to consider they’re viewing content material from the displayed URL, when this isn’t the case.

When Ought to You Masks a URL?

Whereas there isn’t a single state of affairs that definitively requires URL masking, it may be used for advertising functions. An internet site could have an outdated area title that requires masking to take care of unified branding. It might additionally assist with making a seamless person expertise.

The principle conditions by which URL masking could also be used embody:

  • Safety & Privateness
  • Advertising
  • Unified Branding
  • Shortened Or Memorable URLs

If you personal your dream area title, you don’t want to make use of URL masking – saving effort and time in manipulating the displayed area.

Selecting a memorable, concise, and Search engine marketing-optimized area title must be performed by a trusted registrar. KnownHost offers an efficient hassle-free area registration service with free WHOIS privateness.


What Are the Benefits of Masking a URL?

URL masking can show useful in sure conditions – principally the place branding and person expertise are involved. Right here, we check out a number of the frequent conditions by which an internet site proprietor could select to undertake URL masking:

  • Branding: URL masking permits an internet site proprietor to show the web site’s customized handle within the browser for a unified, memorable type of branding. This encourages person recognition.
  • Affiliate Advertising: Masking affiliate hyperlinks could make them seem extra constant, skilled, and reliable, which in flip improves the person expertise and will increase the chance of clicks and conversions.
  • Hyperlink Monitoring: URL masking could be mixed with hyperlink monitoring instruments to observe click-through charges, engagement, and different analytics information. This offers priceless insights for advertising campaigns.
  • Safety: Masking a URL can even assist defend delicate info resembling session IDs and inner server particulars by stopping them from being uncovered within the handle bar.
  • Consumer Expertise: Masking a URL can present a constant and cohesive looking expertise, maintaining customers inside a selected area or web site whereas displaying content material from totally different sources.

The potential advantages of area masking shall be ineffective and not using a safe and secure hosting server.

KnownHost offers totally managed internet hosting companies, from VPN internet hosting to shared and devoted internet hosting. With reasonably priced charges and 24-hour buyer assist, KnownHost is the best choice for hosting.


Are There Any Disadvantages to Masking a URL?

Regardless of these benefits, there are additionally potential disadvantages of area masking that should be thought of earlier than utilizing the technique:

  • SSL Certificates: Safe Socket Layer (SSL) certificates can solely be assigned to the web site’s unique URL and won’t work with any new URL that comes from area masking, doubtlessly growing safety dangers.
  • Lack of Transparency: URL masking hidesthe true vacation spot of a hyperlink.This might increase issues in perceptive customers who want to know the place a hyperlink will take them earlier than clicking on it and will discover the technique misleading. Due to this fact, it might end in a dip in visitors from these customers.
  • Decreased Search engine marketing Worth: Masking URLs can even influence SEO efforts. Serps could have problem indexing and rating content material when utilizing a masked URL. This can doubtlessly end in diminished visibility for a webpage in search engine rankings.

Find out how to Masks a URL

Masking a URL is a comparatively easy course of and may present potential advantages for many who have totally thought of the professionals and cons.

Under is a step-by-step information on the way to masks a URL:

  • Step 1 – Use cPanel: Login to cPanel with the account related to the specified web site. Choose file supervisor, then find the .htaccess file. If there isn’t a file by the title, you will have to make cPanel present hidden recordsdata.
  • Step 2 – Implement the Code: Copy and paste the code under into the .htaccess file. The save adjustments.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^exampledomain.com$ [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.exampledomain.com$
RewriteRule ^/?(.*) http://www.exampledomain2.com/$1 [R=301,L]

  • Step 3 – Take a look at: Take a look at the masks by revisiting the web site’s unique area, after which the brand new area masks.

There are numerous strategies to do that, however utilizing .htaccess is perhaps the cleanest.What Is the Distinction Between Masking and Redirecting URLs?

Area masking and URL redirecting are related ideas with just a few notable variations. They’re each designed to supply the person with optimum content material, whatever the URL they enter.

URL masking – also referred to as URL cloaking – is a method used to show content material from one other URL, whereas showcasing a unique URL within the handle bar.

Redirecting a URL, nonetheless, is a course of that includes mechanically forwarding one URL to a different. So, when a person visits one URL, they’re instantly taken to a brand new URL.

URL redirecting is often used when an internet site strikes domains however makes use of the outdated URL to direct visitors to the brand new web site. As a substitute of preserving the unique URL within the handle bar, the browser as a substitute shows the redirected URL.

The principle distinction between the 2 methods is that URL redirecting makes no effort to obscure the area that’s internet hosting the content material. When a person is redirected, the brand new URL seems within the handle bar – whereas URL masking shows content material from one web site whereas displaying the handle of one other.

Redirecting URLs is the really useful technique for retaining web site visitors and is ideal for web sites intending to maneuver domains. Nonetheless, URL masking could be preferable for unifying branded content material and providing a user-friendly expertise. Masking may also be used to advertise a selected area or to simplify navigation.

What Are the Options to Masking a URL?

Regardless of the potential advantages of URL masking, there are various strategies of reaching unified branding without having to masks an internet site’s URL:

  • URL Shorteners: As a substitute of URL masking, URLs could be simplified by URL shorteners, resembling Bitly, TinyURL, or Ow.ly. These companies are extra just like redirects than URL masking however create shorter URLs for web sites making them simpler to share and hyperlink. Shortened URLs are additionally helpful for emails, social media posts, or another state of affairs the place concise URLs are obligatory.
  • Customized Domains: One other various to URL masking is registering a customized area that redirects to the specified URL. This permits a person to create branded, memorable domains that may redirect visitors to the supposed content material.
  • URL Rewrite: URL rewriting is a server-side method that permits a URL proprietor to switch or rewrite a URL for better readability or Search engine marketing functions. It’s a extra technical various that intercepts incoming requests and transforms them into totally different URLs. This may be helpful for creating user-friendly URLs or optimizing URLs for engines like google.

Are There Any Moral Concerns Round Masking a URL?

With regards to URL masking, some important moral issues should be thought of earlier than enterprise the change:

  • Transparency & Consumer Belief: Emphasising person belief is vital, particularly for web sites the place delicate info could be entered (e.g., debit card particulars or private information). Masking a URL could make customers cautious of clicking on a hyperlink to an internet site as a result of they gained’t concentrate on the place the actual vacation spot of that hyperlink shall be. This might doubtlessly result in a drop in visitors from perceptive customers.
  • Misleading Practises: Whereas URL masking can be utilized to supply a bunch of advantages for any moral web site, it may also be utilized by unethical websites to masks misleading practices, together with hiding malicious hyperlinks, phishing, or participating in different fraudulent actions.
  • Compliance With Laws: Earlier than masking a URL, it’s vital to make sure that the web site is compliant with information safety insurance policies, online marketing laws, and internet advertising requirements. Sure jurisdictions have totally different legal guidelines concerning URL masking or privateness so it’s vital to do due analysis.

How Will Masking a URL Have an effect on Search engine marketing?

Whereas URL masking could be helpful for unified branding, it is probably not the best choice for web sites trying to enhance their Search engine marketing and reap the rewards of optimistic search engine efficiency.

URL masking can lead to inconsistent indexing, which may negatively influence a search engine’s means to rank an internet site, inflicting these web sites to seem decrease down the rating listing than they might in any other case be.

If a number of masked URLs level to the identical content material URL, then search engine algorithms could flag that web site as having duplicate content material, which might additionally dilute search rankings and negatively influence Search engine marketing.

Backlinks additionally play a vital position in Search engine marketing, serving to sign an internet site’s authority and topic relevance. Nonetheless, when masking a URL, backlinks to the unique URL could not move their full worth. This can lead to a dilution of backlink authority, which may negatively influence search rankings in contrast with getting the total worth of the hyperlink profile.

Regularly Requested Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I masks my URL?

A: Anybody can masks their URL to assist present short-term advertising advantages to their enterprise. Masking URLs may help create memorable domains or cover affiliate hyperlinks. Nonetheless, the drawbacks of URL masking are important disadvantages to each UX and Search engine marketing.

Q: How do I masks a URL in Chrome?

A: Masking a URL in Google Chrome is a comparatively easy course of. The best solution to masks a URL in Chrome is to make use of a browser extension downloaded from the Google Retailer. Merely discover the specified extension and click on ‘add to Chrome’. An icon ought to seem on the Chrome toolbar. Merely choose this icon every time a URL must be masked.

Q: Ought to I ahead my area with masking?

A: Whereas it’s attainable to ahead a website with masking, it might even have a major unfavorable influence on the web site’s Search engine marketing. Likewise, area masking might doubtlessly end in duplicate content material on the web site. This may occasionally negatively influence the search rating of the web site and, due to this fact, web site visitors.

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