Saturday, May 1, 2010

Webpage Mirage

Imagine that you have a domain ( and want another domain ( to point to the same files. While there are a number of ways to do this if you are running your own servers, but if you are using a hosting provider, most options are not available to you - or only at an extra cost.

A few months back I came across a rather unusual solution. I asked my hosting provider to implement this for me, and what they did is the following.

<frameset border="'0'">
<frame src="''">

The result of this is when you go to, you will get the above html file, which contains a full screen frame that is actually In most cases, the important thing here is the address bar. The address bar will reflect

Essentially there is a mirage that you are on one domain, when the content is really coming from another domain.

I recently came across another use for this workaround. I have several files and links that are helpful in pursuing a CCNA. Directory Browsing works great for the files. If I delete a file or add a new file, the change will be reflected to the user when they next browse the directory. The problem is then links. A windows shortcut will not work directly from directory browsing, the user would have to download it to their computer and then open it as a windows shortcut - which is also limiting it to the windows platform. So I came up with what I thought was a clever little solution.

I created a very simple html file that simply redirected you to the desired destination - the user would never even realize it happened.

<html xmlns="">

Redirecting to <a href=""></a>
<script type="text/javascript">
window.location = '';

This worked great until one of my peers told me that the back button didn't work. Moments later it clicked - of course back doesn't work, back brings you back to this page - which then redirects you to the originally-desired page. Ever had to fight with the back button! This is usually why!

While I know I could write some javascript that would solve this problem. I decided to use the mirage approach. So the above is now:

<FRAMESET border='0'>

There is a drawback here though - now it appears that my domain is hosting the above page when it really isn't (by just looking at the address bar). But given that I am just looking for a simple solution for a link; this does it as well as solves the back button problem and even has fewer lines of html.