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Domain Registration Headache RRS feed

  • Question

  • Can someone help explain the domain registration options a little bit better for me? I've now gone through two of them and I'm not sure which one is best.

    The "TZO.COM custom Domain Name" option is pretty self explainatory. I know this is essentially the "do whatever the heck you want" option. This is by far the simplest way to go since you can get everything you need, so long as you are willing to pay for it. I however am cheap and want to do this as cheaply as possible.

    I bought the HP MediaSmart server, so I have the option to register using "HP Personal Domain Name by TZO.COM". I've read that this is just a handful of domain names that HP is footing the bill for (for the first year) since I purchased their product. This was the first option I tried. Everything worked great, except for the fact that my SSL certificate was self-generated. Therefore anyone who visits my webshare gets hit with that horrible error message. I considered purchasing my own certificate, but then I read that the "Windows Live Custom Domains" option will give me a free SSL certificate from GoDaddy. I like the TZO service, they take care of everything for me. They are tracking my IP address for my dynamic DNS, and they are also relaying my email messages for me.

    The SSL cert is the only problem I have with TZO option and shopping for an SSL certificate is a major pain. I'm not looking for some sort of super-secure, Extended Validation certificate. All I want is for people to be able to access my site with any browser they want without having to install an SSL certificate. I want it to be completely transparent to everyone. Now I know the surefire way to guarantee that it will work 100% of the time on any browser is to buy the Verisign cert, but that's way out of my price range. I'm not too familiar with the other certificate authorities out there, so I'm not sure which one is second best, but I figured the free GoDaddy cert offered from the "Windows Live Custom Domains" is a good place to start.  

    So I switched to the "Windows Live Custom Domains" to get my free GoDaddy cert. It seems to work ok, the few people I asked can get to my webshare without that SSL error. However, since I'm not registered through TZO anymore, I have lost my SMTP server settings.  There is also no mention of any kind of dynamic DNS with "Windows Live Custom Domains" so I'm not sure exactly what is happening in that area either. I can find plenty of info about TZO and how that works, but I have not found any information as to what the heck this "Windows Live Custom Domains" option is and how it works.

    Does anyone know what the story is behind "Windows Live Custom Domains" and if they are going to take care of my email forwarding and dynamic DNS for me? Am I better off just sticking with the HP funded TZO account and buying my own SSL certificate? I would prefer to make the "Windows Live Custom Domains" option work since it is free.

    I'm not concerned about my domain name, I'll find something that works whichever service I use. I am just trying to find the complete solution without having to spend much money if any at all. I'm looking for that key combination of domain registration, dynamic DNS, SMTP, and SSL. Any suggestions?


    I only pretend like I know what I'm doing
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:17 AM

Answers

  • THe windows live domain does dynamic DNS and SSL is handled on your server.  But what is this about SMTP?  I don't think it does email at all.  Could you go into a little more detail?
    athlon 3400, 2gb ram, 9 drives totaling about 3.5 tbs.
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:22 AM
  • I Think I Swallowed A Bug said:

    I'm not trying to receive any email on my server, I just want to be able to send out the little email notifications from my photo webshare. So I really don't need any MX records to point to me. All I really need is an SMTP relay I can use to send email out.

    Use your ISP. More and more ISPs are blocking SMTP that's not relayed through their servers; mine started about 6 months ago, they say to cut down on bot network spam.

    And Live Domains/homeserver.com, as implemented for WHS, are DDNS. They don't allow you to point to any domain but yourserver.homeserver.com, and they don't allow you to control anything about your vanity URL.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:53 PM
    Moderator
  • As far as I know, Live Domains can't be set to autoforward from HTTP to HTTPS.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 7:45 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • THe windows live domain does dynamic DNS and SSL is handled on your server.  But what is this about SMTP?  I don't think it does email at all.  Could you go into a little more detail?
    athlon 3400, 2gb ram, 9 drives totaling about 3.5 tbs.
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:22 AM
  • Windows Live Custom Domains won't deal with MX records, no, or at least the free version you get with WHS won't. As for SSL and using the certificate you get for free with WHS, Windows Live is the only way to do that. The cert is configured for yourserver.homeserver.com. I would say the easiest thing to do is stick with your homeserver.com address, and use some other custom domain to deal with the MX record.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:58 AM
    Moderator
  • It does do Dynamic DNS? That's helpful, where did you find that information?

    I need to have a SMTP relay in order to send outgoing email from the webshare. Goto the Photo Webshare settings and click "Modify" under the Webshare notifications. If you're using the TZO service it'll say "Use TZO service to send Webshare announcements on my behalf." Since I changed my registration to the "Windows Live Custom Domains" service, this option is unavailable. It is however more than happy to allow me to specify my own SMTP server settings, if only I knew what they were. Again, I haven't found any info about the "Windows Live Custom Domains" service let alone any SMTP settings I should be using.

    I tried logging into http://domains.live.com/ with the Windows Live ID I used in the WHS console. It recognized my registered xxx.homeserver.com address I used during the WHS registration process, but it wouldn't let me do anything in there. I was hoping to find an SMTP server I could use to relay my email messages, but all it really said was that I needed to set up DNS records for things to work properly. I was expecting to be able to control that information like I can with any other domain registrar. Is this actually a domain registrar like GoDaddy or TZO? Shouldn't I be able to add/change/modify records within my registered domain? What am I missing?


    I only pretend like I know what I'm doing
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:00 AM
  • I'm not trying to receive any email on my server, I just want to be able to send out the little email notifications from my photo webshare. So I really don't need any MX records to point to me. All I really need is an SMTP relay I can use to send email out.


    I only pretend like I know what I'm doing
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:03 AM
  • Live domains do not support smtp email I believe.  Could you create an account with your ISP and use that?  They tend to give you quite a few.
    athlon 3400, 2gb ram, 9 drives totaling about 3.5 tbs.
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 6:14 AM
  • I Think I Swallowed A Bug said:

    I'm not trying to receive any email on my server, I just want to be able to send out the little email notifications from my photo webshare. So I really don't need any MX records to point to me. All I really need is an SMTP relay I can use to send email out.

    Use your ISP. More and more ISPs are blocking SMTP that's not relayed through their servers; mine started about 6 months ago, they say to cut down on bot network spam.

    And Live Domains/homeserver.com, as implemented for WHS, are DDNS. They don't allow you to point to any domain but yourserver.homeserver.com, and they don't allow you to control anything about your vanity URL.


    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 2:53 PM
    Moderator
  • This is great information. Thanks guys! I created an email account with my ISP, and used their SMTP server. Now everything is emailing fine now. I am using the xxx.homserver.com domain, so I also have an SSL certificate that seems to be working ok. You say that Live Domains does dynamic DNS, so I guess that's taken care of too.

    There's just one little irritation left, it's not that big of a deal. But now that I have gone through all this domain name switching, I realized another thing that TZO was doing for me that Live Domains does not. TZO apparently was doing automatic HTTP to HTTPS switching. So when I went to http://myserver it automatically redirected my to https://myserver . My ISP is blocking port 80, but not 443. So I can get to my server ok so long as I type in https, but it blocks me if I don't. Also, I noticed that in the Home Server console, when looking at the details for my domain name, it still fails when "Verifying your Web site is accessible from the Internet". I assume it fails because it is trying to access my server using http not https. It does work, so this isn't that big of a deal, but it does add an additional notation I have to tell everyone who is accessing my server. Does anyone know if Live Domains can be setup to automatically redirect http requests to https?


    I only pretend like I know what I'm doing
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 7:22 PM
  • As far as I know, Live Domains can't be set to autoforward from HTTP to HTTPS.
    I'm not on the WHS team, I just post a lot. :)
    Thursday, October 30, 2008 7:45 PM
    Moderator
  • Oh well, I asked for free, not perfect. Maybe one of these days I'll actually pay for my domain/Dynamic DNS/SSL. Then it'll work just the way I want.


    I only pretend like I know what I'm doing
    Friday, October 31, 2008 12:05 AM