2018-12-04 Really ending a domain name and the web presence 5 days ago
On 25 december 2004 there was a special deal giving me the .info names camp-wireless.info and campwireless.info for free for the first year. Since that moment I kept the names registered and redirected all web traffic to the right version: https://www.camp-wireless.org/. Traffic to the .info versions is very minimal. With the cost of the domain registration I decided to stop doing that and devised an exit strategy which would result in a domain name that attracts no traffic and is not linked to my other webprojects. On the next renewal date the domain will expire. I have done this before in a different context: when we ended the students personal webspace at www.students.cs.uu.nl. The solution is to start returing HTTP state 410 Gone for search engines while at the same time returning a somewhat user-friendly error page. Relevant bit of apache 2.4 configuration:<VirtualHost *:80> ServerName www.camp-wireless.info ServerAlias www.campwireless.info ServerAlias camp-wireless.info ServerAlias campwireless.info DocumentRoot /home/httpd/campwireless-expire/html <Directory "/home/httpd/campwireless-expire/html"> Require all granted </Directory> RewriteEngine On RedirectMatch 410 ^/(?!gone.html|robots.txt) ErrorDocument 410 /gone.html </VirtualHost>The gone page is simple: It has an explanation for human visitors and a meta refresh tag to redirect the browser eventually. But to a search engine the status 410 on almost any url will give a clear flag the page is gone and should be flushed from the cache.