When you register a domain name, several domain registrars give you an option of domain name forwarding and domain name masking. If used correctly, they are powerful tools to control your domain names.
Domain name forwarding
Domain name forwarding simply redirects you to a site you define i.e. if you have a previously hosted site, it redirects users who typed your domain name (www.yourname.com) to your hosted site (let’s say www.geocities.com/yourname).
So you just pay for the domain. But it shows clearly that the URL redirected from www.yourname.com to www.geocities.com/yourname.
Domain name masking
Here comes in domain masking. Once you are redirected to your already hosted site, the domain name still keeps on showing www.yourname.com in the URL bar in spite of whichever URL you are on.
So you can show your professional-looking domain name while free web hosting elsewhere. So domain masking is really useful. So when buying domain names, look for a registrar who provides free domain masking along with your domain name.
How to Domain masking works
Now tell you how it is done. A look at the source code of the domain name page will show –
<html> <head> <title>yourname</title> <meta name="description" content="your description"> <meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2"> </head> <frameset rows="100%,0" border="0"> <frame src="http://yourforwardingurl" frameborder="0"> <frame frameborder="0"> </frameset> </html>
When you register for domain masking, you will be asked to fill in data for 3 tags that show in the source code i.e. title of the site, description of the site, and relevant keywords.
<title>yourname</title> <meta name="description" content="your description"> <meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2">
This shows as the details of your site when indexed by search engines, when someone bookmarks it, and of course in the browser’s title.
The basic principle here is frames!
A quick look at the source code will reveal
<frameset rows="100%,0" border="0"> <frame src="http://yourforwardingurl" frameborder="0"> <frame frameborder="0"> </frameset>
This means that the domain name registrar creates a HTML page with 2 frames. The top frame is 100% of the window i.e. it will fill the whole screen with your site. Since the frameborder is 0 – you see no border between these frames. Noresize means even if you try, you cannot try to expand the lower frame. So you can mask any page in this way!
NOTE: Misuse of domain masking is a bad SEO practice and can get your site penalized in search engine results. So use it only when genuinely needed.