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EDU Domain Change

Good afternoon...

I work at a college that uses a string of letters for its domain. We would like to switch to a domain that is more meaningful. For Example let's say we use www.ttc.edu as the domain but want to go to something like tinkertoycollege.edu or tinkercollege.edu. To make it more difficult we need to maintain the www.ttc.edu as to not lose any traffic to the original domain. I realize that as a college we can only have one .edu domain with the original only being active for the six month domain transfer.

We host our own email services and some web sites based on the orginal domain and would want to switch the email and everything we could to the new domain.

The question...

Would it be recommended to maybe use a .net or some other top level domain for our new domain while we redirect the traffic from the old domain to the new? Or is there a better solution?

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1 Solution
Good question ... you or your developers would be the best ones to answer that question.

The things to consider are how extensively is the current domain name embedded into your application and how dependent are the applications on that specific domain name.  This is going to help you determine the risk vs level of effort this is going to take and which is the best solution for you.

If there is not a lot of dependence on the domain within the applications then a single switch to the new .edu is the fastest change and the least effort (assuming everything goes smoothly).  You do it once and you are done.  The problem here is the risk factor ... if anything is missed, once the original domain is removed/becomes inactive then things could break and would remain broken until you fix them.

The alternative that you mentioned, getting another domain that is not in the .edu domain increases the work load but lets you transition and change the code to remove the dependencies and test it (you could re-route the original domain to another IP to "deactivate it" and test the changes .... if anything breaks you can change the DNS entry back while you fix the problem.  Then once all the dependencies have been removed you will have to change the .EDU domain and test everything again to make sure that you have not missed anything.  This is safer but will require more time with a higher level of effort.

As a simple test you could always rebuild the site on an internal server and control the domain yourself in a test environment (should be done anyway).  Then you could probably safely mod and test your code under a new domain name and then bring up (replace) the existing site while under the original domain name.  Once this is done then you can cut over the domain with a much higher level of confidence that you have mitigated all of the problems and that there will be little or no impact of the domain change.

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