Introducing Publish Targets and Domain Redirects

Publishing super powers for freelancers and teams

Vlad Magdalin
February 4, 2015
Announcements

We’re proud to announce Publish Targets and Domain Redirection -- two clever features that combine the power of dynamic DNS control, custom domains, and Webflow's ease-of-use.

We’re proud to announce Publish Targets and Domain Redirection -- two clever features that combine the power of dynamic DNS control, custom domains, and Webflow's ease-of-use.

Publish Targets

With Publish Targets, you can control where your site is published on the web. You get to choose which domains or subdomains your sites are published to.

Example of subdomain and custom domain publish target options.

How it works

Beginning today, when you go to publish a website with an assigned custom domain, you’re presented with options for selecting where to publish your site. By default, your Webflow subdomain (e.g. yoursite.webflow.com) will be selected. Any attached custom domains will also appear here. You can selectively check/uncheck these (sub)domains prior to pressing Publish.

After publishing your site, you’re able to selectively unpublish domains or subdomains one at a time. That means you can unpublish your websites as easily as you published to them.

New workflows

The Publish Targets feature opens up several new workflow possibilities for Webflow users:

You can publish and test your work-in-progress changes to a private subdomain without modifying your primary domain. In other words you can use your Webflow subdomain as a staging environment. Not only does this allow you to take care of bugs in an isolated environment, it also allows you to start developing entirely new sections of your site that can be privately shared with others.

If you run an agency or design websites professionally, you can use Publish Targets to test work-in-progress client changes on your own, branded domain. For example, you can add a domain super-big-client.agency.com and publish selectively to it to provide your clients with a streamlined experience.

Domain Redirection

In addition to Publish Targets, we’ve released a new way for you to designate a “default” domain for your site. Setting a default domain will make all other custom domains 301 redirect to it.

How it works

Once a default domain is set, all traffic coming to other custom domains will be redirected to the default domain. For example, if have acme.com, www.acme.com, and acme.net as custom domains, and you set acme.com as the default domain, all domains will now redirect to acme.com. If you have other domains, they will also redirect to acme.com.

These are server-side 301 redirects which means that search engines will only consider your default domain as the one to crawl and rank. It’s best to choose your default domain the first time you setup your custom domains. Duplicate content, which is bad for SEO, is best solved through 301 redirects. Note - subdomains are not affected by default domains. To remove duplicate content on your subdomain, simply unpublish it.

As always, we encourage you to provide feedback on our new features. Got something to say? Make your voice heard on the Webflow Forum or email us at support@webflow.com.

P.S. Expect many more powerful features in 2015. Follow us on Twitter for live updates.

What else should I consider?

While speed, reliability, scalability, and security should be your chief concerns, Webflow offers a host (pun sheepishly intended) of other features that have a significant impact on SEO and performance, and may not be offered by most hosting services.

HTTP/2

2015 saw the release of the first new Hypertext Transfer Protocol since 1999: HTTP/2.

This new standard promises faster websites across the web — but not all hosting platforms support it yet. Because Google has always cared about page speed, there’s a good chance that HTTP/2 will become a component of their ranking algorithm soon.

Here are some benefits of HTTP/2 support/compatibility:

  • Multiplexing: Your browser can receive requests over multiple connections, not just one. Think of it like switching from a one-lane road to an interstate.
  • Header compression: Your browser loads the top of your pages first, before the rest of the page, which means your site visitors see content faster. On mobile especially, this is a big improvement.

Webflow’s hosting has been HTTP/2 compliant for a couple years now, unlike services out there. (And even hosts who do offer it typically only do so on higher-tier packages.)

Today, all assets published to a Webflow site are served via HTTP/2 — increasing page load performance when a large number of assets need to be downloaded.

Other powerful features of Webflow hosting

Everything above is more or less essential, but there are many other features that can make managing your website a lot easier and more convenient. These include:

  • Automatic backups and version control (you can also save and name a site version whenever you’d like with the key combo Command + Shift + S on Mac or Control + Shift + S on Windows)
  • Site-wide and per-page password protection
  • Simple publishing workflows
  • Responsive images
  • Protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks

On top of these features, Webflow hosting includes:

  • Form submissions (manage lead gen and let us store your data for you). It’s like Wufoo, but built into Webflow!
  • SEO and social tools: manage OpenGraph and SEO meta tags in one convenient interface. Easily combine it with the CMS to automate your metadata optimization.
  • Dynamic embeds: integrate Webflow CMS with Shopify for ecommerce, SoundCloud for music, Eventbrite for events, and anything else that uses custom code embeds.

Webflow combines all these elements in a first-class global hosting infrastructure that’s available at the click of a button. This means that when you publish with Webflow, your site’s files and assets are published across the globe and immediately ready for any amount of traffic, from any location.

Want to know how much we believe in Webflow hosting?

We put a lot of thought and effort into making Webflow hosting one the the best hosting services out there. We’ve seen Webflow-using businesses like Kisi grow their organic traffic by over 300%, while also supporting thousands of requests per second for businesses like Eventbrite.

In fact, when Eventbrite launched their Amstel Live festival page with Webflow, they received over 10,000 requests a second — resulting in over 3,000,000 page views in just one hour. Webflow hosting was able to handle it without a hitch.

But above all, we believe in our hosting platform so much so that we use it for our own websites, which see hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe every day, and have seen nearly perfect performance over the last year.

Vlad Magdalin

Vlad is the founder and CEO of Webflow.

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