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Alvin Lim
Alvin Lim

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HTTPS Domain Forwarding for Free via GitHub Pages

This week I decided to move my homepage from alvinlim.me to alvinlim.dev.

I remembered that my domain name registrar offered a free URL redirect service, and I decided to use that forward alvinlim.me to alvinlim.dev. While that worked for http://alvinlim.me, clicking https://alvinlim.me instead threw an SSL error.

Basically, for the URL redirect of https://alvinlim.me to work, https://alvinlim.me first had to be recognized by the browser as a valid website, and this meant it had to have a valid SSL certificate attached to it.

This meant I had to set up a website for https://alvinlim.me, attach a SSL certificate to it, and configure the HTML to redirect the browser to https://alvinlim.dev. 😅

This raised the question -- wouldn't setting up the website and SSL certificate be expensive? That's when I remembered that I could quickly set up a free website on GitHub Pages, connect it to my alvinlim.me domain, and GitHub Pages would even provision and attach an SSL certificate to it for free! Since I already had the alvinlim.me domain, I decided to go with this option.

So I created a new repo on GitHub which hosts an index.html file which is empty except for the important meta refresh tag which redirects the browser to the new URL:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; URL=https://alvinlim.dev">
  </head>
  <body></body>
</html>
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I next created a GitHub Pages site from that repo and attached my domain to it. In the GitHub Pages settings I then selected the "Enforce HTTPS" option.

With all this in place, clicking https://alvinlim.me no longer throws an SSL error but instead correctly redirects the browser to https://alvinlim.dev.

Discussion (2)

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sunnysingh profile image
Sunny Singh

Nice! You could also set up Cloudflare in front of your old domain which provides free SSL, and you could then have a real server redirect.

I do like the simplicity of GitHub Pages though with the meta redirect.

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levirs565 profile image
Levi Rizki Saputra

Great